Dean Shank Expands Her International Service

December 6, 2016
St. Catherine University - University of St. Thomas School of Social Work Dean Barbara Shank
Dean Barbara Shank

In July, Dean Barbara Shank was elected Secretary and Executive Board member [2016-2020] of the International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW), the worldwide association of schools of social work. The IASSW promotes the development of social work education throughout the world, develops standards to enhance quality of social work education, encourages international exchange, provides forums for sharing social work research and scholarship, and promotes human rights and social development through policy and advocacy activities ( 

This fall, Dean Shank was fortunate to participate in two worldwide conversations concerning international social work. She was one of four Americans invited to attend the Global Social Work Leadership for the 21st Century conference in Prato, Italy. The September 12-13 conference was organized by the Australian Council of Heads of Schools of Social Work (ACHSSW) to provide an opportunity for social work leaders to come together for a two-day colloquium to consider solutions to contemporary challenges and to advance social work education across global contexts. Following her trip to Italy, Dean Shank gave a keynote address at the International Conference on Social Work - Social Development and Sustainable Development Goals, September 29-30, in Kandy, Sri Lanka, in her role as President of the International Consortium on Social Development (ICSD). The conference focused on deliberating crucial questions such as: how to end poverty in its all forms across the world; pragmatic ways to fight injustice and inequality; how to achieve and experience peace; and, the best approaches to ensuring environmental protection and economic development in an integrated and balanced manner. 

ICSD will be holding its 20th Biennial International Symposium July 7-11, 2017, in Zagreb, Croatia. The focus on the symposium is multidisciplinary education and practice for social development and social good. The University of St. Thomas is an international partner and Dr. Gordana Berc is serving as symposium chair. The call is out for abstracts due by February 15th, 2017, so please check the symposium website at for more information.

Dean Shank continues her national leadership as Board Chair for the Council on Social Work Education, starting her 2nd term [2016-2019] in June.