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Gary Lee Shaffer Award for Academic Contributions to the Field of School Social Work
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Dr. Gary Lee Shaffer contributed years of service and scholarship to the field. SSWAA will again commemorate his contributions through an annual recognition of university faculty that has made significant contributions to the field.  

*Shaffer, who dedicated more than half of his life to the social work field and to preparing students for social work practice, joined UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Social Work in 1986 as director of the field education program.  Shaffer, who served as a member of the N.C. Professional School Social Work Standards Committee, also supervised more than 300 MSW students within North Carolina school districts. He was responsible for licensing school social work practitioners through the N.C. Department of Public Instruction; more than 500 practitioners earned state licensure under Shaffer’s leadership.  Among other efforts, Shaffer was praised for pressing “for increased salaries and credentialing for school social workers, statewide job standards and job descriptions, recognition of higher level functions for school social workers, and confidentiality statutes for school social workers.”

“Gary put his heart and soul into his work and into achieving his goals,” said School Dean Jack M. Richman. “I have heard from former students and faculty colleagues from across the country, all of whom have noted what a great loss is being felt at Gary's passing. He was a real gentleman who cared deeply for his students, family, friends, colleagues and profession.”  Shaffer’s work throughout North Carolina earned him the title of “Dr. School Social Work,” added Anna Scheyett, associate dean for academic affairs at UNC’s School of Social Work. “He was just an incredible advocate for students.”  Joelle Powers, a UNC School of Social Work assistant clinical professor, added “He was relentless in his advocacy for under-served students in schools and was never afraid to write a Senator or sign a petition voicing his opinion on policies that could be improved for schools.”  

NOMINATIONS OPEN: Deadline January 15, 2016

To nominate a faculty member for this award, please review the Nomination Criteria and Nomination Form   and attach one letter of recommendation written by a colleague, chair and/or dean as well as the  Nominee’s Curriculum Vitae


An outstanding School Social Work faculty member:

 1.  Has earned Master of Social Work or PhD degree;
 2.  Holds an adjunct, assistant, associate or full professor position with a university;
 3.  Teaches school social work courses and/or has a recognizable research interest in school social work;
 4.  Has published a minimum of 4 articles related to school social work in peer reviewed journals;
 5.  Demonstrates a commitment to the field of school social work that extends beyond the expected duties of a faculty position;
 6.  And, is a current member of a state school social work organization and/or the School Social Work Association of America.

A committee will review all nominees based on the criteria noted above and make a recommendation to SSWAA for the award. The committee is comprised of at least 2 faculty members that teach school social work, 2 school social workers, and one SSWAA board member.  Following receipt of the committee's recommendation, the Executive Director of SSWAA will notify the awardee.  The award will be presented at the SSWAA National School Social Work Conferencesm  between Wednesday, March 9  - Saturday, March 12, 2016 in Baltimore, MD.    SSWAA will request an electronic photograph of the award winner to be posted on the SSWAA website following the presentation of the award.  

*Excerpts taken from UNC's Website "Faculty member and children's advocate Gary Shaffer dies".  See complete article. 


Gary's wife, Denise Shaffer, on right with Dr. Michelle Alvarez, 2013 Award Recipient, stand in front of one of the displays of historic "School Social Work" posters from the early 1800's discovered by Gary Shaffer in his research regarding the history of School Social Workers that was made available by the California Association of School Social Workers. 





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