Meet the NAHIPSW Director

Dr. Nancy A. Humphreys

Nancy A. Humphreys, Director of the Nancy A. Humphreys Institute for Political Social Work (NAHIPSW)

Dr. Humphreys is the current Director of the Nancy A. Humphreys Institute for Political Social Work (NAHIPSW), founded by her at the University of Connecticut School of Social Work in 1995. NAHIPSW is the latest in a long series of Dr. Humphreys’ efforts and leadership in the growing role of social workers in politics. Dr. Humphreys believes that social workers should seek elected partisan political office and that political social work practice is a legitimate specialization in the profession. Currently, she teaches and directs the Policy Practice concentration at the School as well as courses on political social work practice, macro foundation practice, the social environment and women’s issues.

Former NASW President

Dr. Nancy A. Humphreys is a past president of NASW. As President, she traveled extensively, visiting fifty-one of the fifty-five chapters in the United States. Throughout her career, she has spoken in each of the United States chapters at least once. Dr. Humphreys has also traveled internationally as a Board Member and Treasurer of the International Federation of Social Workers. She has served in many other leadership positions in NASW, such as chairing the Political Action Committee (PACE), providing leadership to the Human Services National Initiative to register millions of low income voters, and chairing the NASW National Committee on Legislation and Government Relations.

Leadership in Education

Dr. Humphreys has also held several leadership positions in education. She is a former Dean of the University of Connecticut School of Social Work. As Dean, she gave leadership and support to the many international activities of the School, including her own consultation to the Republic of Armenia in the creation of social work training and social service programs. Previously, she served as Director of the Michigan State University School of Social Work. While in Michigan, Dr. Humphreys was appointed by Governor James Blanchard as a member of the Blue Ribbon Committee on Welfare Reform and served as a governor appointee and elected Chair of the Michigan Department of Social Services Advisory Council. For one year, she also served as Associate Dean of Rutgers University Graduate School of Social Work in New Brunswick, NJ, where she was a member of the faculty for some time. While in New Jersey, Dr. Humphreys was appointed by the Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court as one of the three public members to court’s committee on Professional Legal Ethics. For many years she taught women’s issues courses at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University and the University of Iowa School of Social Work .

Advocate for Women’s Issues

Long a leader in a women’s issues, Dr. Humphreys was appointed by President Jimmy Carter to serve on his National Advisory Committee on Women’s Issues. She co-authored the Human Service chapter of the Committee’s final report Voices for Women. Dr. Humphreys is active in many women’s organizations and has presented content and written about a number of social service issues from a feminist perspective.

Active in the State of Connecticut

Since moving to Connecticut, Dr. Humphreys has become active in the State, serving as a Board member of the Connecticut Association of Human Services, the United Way of the Capital Area, the statewide United Way Strategic Planning Committee, and the Simsbury Human Rights Committee. Dr. Humphreys also was a “Next Friend” of one of the children in the Juan F. vs. O’Neill lawsuit which resulted in the Department of Children and Families (DCF) Consent Decree. Dr. Humphreys served as chair of the Advisory Committee to the DCF Training Academy. For many years she served as the Spokesperson and Co-chair for the Connecticut Coalition for Children. She was appointed by the Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court, and elected as the founding Chair of the Parenting Education Advisory Committee which is charged with the implementation of a State Law that requires parents to participate in parenting education at the time of divorce. In 2001 she accepted an appointment by then-Governor John Rowland to the newly formed Governor’s Commission on Divorce and Custody.


Dr. Humphreys is the recipient of numerous awards and citations from such bodies as the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and the New Jersey and Michigan legislatures. She is particularly proud of her selection as New Jersey’s Social Worker of the Year in 1981, and as the “Distinguished Alumnus” from the University of Southern California Graduate School of Social Work in 1982. In 1992, she was selected Distinguished Social Worker by the Connecticut Chapter of NASW. In 2002, she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in recognition of her “Outstanding Scientific Achievement and Contribution to the University Development” from Yerevan State University, Republic of Armenia. In 2003, she received the NASW “Lifetime Achievement Award.”


Dr. Humphreys began her professional career in California, where she was raised and educated. She received her MSW from the University of Southern California in 1963. Her DSW was awarded by the University of California, Los Angeles in 1975.