Frank R. Baskind
Pioneer and Change Agent in Social Work Education Program
Frank R. Baskind, PhD, MSW ’71
Frank R. Baskind is the University Ombudsman at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), and a Professor and Former Dean of the VCU School of Social Work. In his role as University Ombudsman, he provides confidential, neutral, and informal dispute resolution services independent of the university’s normal reporting and managerial processes to VCU faculty, staff and postdoctoral trainees.
What other leadership positions do you currently hold or have you held in the past?
Dean, School of Social Work, Virginia Commonwealth University, 1992-2008
Founding Dean, School of Social Work and Human Services, Southern Connecticut State University, 1988-1992
Dean School of Social Work, Southern Connecticut State University, 1985-1988
Founding Director, Undergraduate Social Work Program, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, 1980-1985
President, Board of Directors, Council on Social Work Education, 2001-2004
Chair, Commission on Accreditation, Council on Social Work Education, 1999-2001
What inspired you to become a social worker?
I valued working with people and my religious beliefs about the dignity and worth of others, especially the poor and underrepresented, inspired me to consider teaching or social work. While serving a tour of duty in Vietnam with the US Army, I applied to UConn and was accepted for admissions. With the ongoing support and inspiration of my wife, my career unfolded with moves from Connecticut to Tennessee, back to Connecticut and ultimately, Richmond, Virginia.
How has your education at the UConn SSW prepared you for your career? Was there one person or learning experience that had an impact on you?
I had excellent instructors in every class! Field instruction at the New Britain Child Guidance Clinic and the School of Social Work field instruction unit at the Urban Counseling Center in New Britain were instrumental in my preparation for practice. Peggy Quick, field instructor, and Paul Simone, student peer, were instrumental in shaping my generalist practice perspective. A part-time position during my second year, brokered by the School, to develop and coordinate HELP-LINE of Central Connecticut introduced me to staff development training and program development. These opportunities contributed to my career in social work education. They also prepared me to develop the disposition for further education that resulted in earning the Ph.D. in Education from UConn.
I am proud to say that I am a UConn graduate!!
What has been your most rewarding accomplishment as a leader?
There are many rewarding accomplishments, especially serving as President of CSWE, Chair of the Commission on Accreditation, Dean of the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Social Work, and contributing to the development of the gerontology and leadership initiatives in social work education, sponsored by the John A. Hartford Foundation and the New York Academy of Medicine. The accomplishment associated with each was working with others to contribute to change and growth in social work education.