Social Work Programs

August 22, 2011

Famous Social Workers And Change

Filed under: famous social workers — Tags: — admin @ 12:10 am

Social work is a very important profession full of dedicated, self-sacrificing individuals who want to help the vulnerable and improve the quality of life in society. Over the years there have been a number of famous social workers. Below we will discuss a number of these individuals, including information as to how they have helped shape and improve our society.

People we’ll discuss in this article include Richard Cloward, Harriet Barlett, Wilma Walker and Grace Coyle. There are many individuals that are noteworthy which we’ll highlight in future articles. Every local community also has some social work heroes that may not be visible but help lighten the spirit of many people.


Richard A Cloward (1926 – 2005)

Professor Richard A Cloward is perhaps one of the best known social workers and social activists of all. Professor Cloward studied social work at Columbia University, where he obtained a degree in social work in addition to a PhD in Sociology. Professor Cloward is perhaps most famed for his work in relation to voting. In 1982 he set up the Human Service Employees Registration And Voter Education (SERVE), with his wife. The aim of SERVE was to ensure that all eligible voters where registered to do so.

Harriett Bartlett (1897 – 1987)

Harriet Bartlett dedicated her life to understanding social work as a profession in full. Harriet specialized in medical social work, but used her skills and experience to form an understanding of how all the different strands of social work worked together. Her research into this allowed her to write ‘The Common Base Of Social Work Practice.’ This book, written in 1970, shows how each aspect of social work is intertwined. The book is still referenced by social workers today and used in many social work programs around the country.

Wilma Walker (1896 – 1981)

Wilma Walker is considered one of the early pioneers in the field of family and child welfare. In 1937 Wilma whilst working at the University of Chicago, produced a text called ‘Child Welfare Case Records’. This book is regarded by many to be a seminal piece in terms of child welfare, changing the way social workers thought about this aspect of their role. This piece led Wilma to be elevated to a full professor from research assistant.

Grace Coyle (1892 – 1962)

Grace Coyle was one of the pioneers in terms of introducing group work as an effective method of social work. She believed that understanding group dynamics was an important aspect of understanding how the family worked. She also felt that group therapy was an effective treatment method as people would be able to share and learn from their experiences with other in a similar situation. She was a prolific writer and important works include; Studies in Group Behavior (1937), Group Work with American Youth (1948) and Group Experiences and Democratic Values (1947).

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