College of Health

School of Social Work

Shank receives NASW-MN Lifetime Achievement Award

June 11, 2019 / By: NASW-MN conference program
Dean and professor emerita, Barbara W. Shank, received the 2019 NASW-MN Lifetime Achievement Award

For nearly 50 years, Dr. Shank has shown an intense dedication to excellence in the social work profession, and to making a difference in the lives of students, faculty, the clients we serve, and the profession itself. After seven years in Ramsey County Community Corrections, Dr. Shank moved into academia and emerged as an early leader in developing the defining principles of BSW generalist practice. In addition to teaching at the undergraduate, graduate and doctoral levels, for the next 40 years, Dr. Shank held numerous academic leadership positions including founding Dean of the St. Catherine University - University of St. Thomas School of Social Work. Under her leadership, the School of Social Work grew from 4 full-time to over 60 full and part-time faculty, one to five programs, 50 to over 600 students, developed two undergraduate minor programs, three graduate areas of emphasis, five practice institutes, and opened an Interprofessional Center for Counseling and Legal Services.

Her contributions have also reached far beyond the perimeter of her academic institutions, holding leadership positions with numerous National and International associations, including many roles within the Council on Social Work Education, the International Association of Schools of Social Work, and the Association of Baccalaureate Program Directors, in terms as President of the International Consortium for Social Development, the National Association of Social Work Deans and Direcotrs, MN conference on Social Work Education, Macalester College Alumni Association, and the MN Chapter of NASW. Dr. Shank has received accolades for her contributions, including the Distinguished Citizen Citation, Macalester College; the Distinguished Service Award, the University of St. Thomas; and the NASW Social Work Pioneer Award.