Professor Alex Gitterman named the 2008 Recipient of the Significant Lifetime Achievement in Social Work Award

Professor Alex Gitterman, Ed.D., was named the 2008 Recipient of the Significant Lifetime Achievement in Social Work Award from the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). This award recognizes a social work educator’s achievements over his or her entire career.

Professor Gitterman received this award for his advancement of resiliency theory, group work, the Life Model Approach to practice, his transformative teaching, and his long time leadership in social work education. The award was received at the CSWE Annual Program Meeting in Philadelphia.

“I am very humbled by the Life Time Achievement Award.” Professor Gitterman says. “Many people in my life journey walked by my side: some even walked in front to protect me from harsh environments; while others walked behind me and pushed me to take on challenges and to view them as professional opportunities rather than as threats. When I accept this award, I will be standing on the shoulders of my parents, and senior mentors. I carry their wise counsel and support with me every day. I look forward to expressing my deep abiding appreciation to them as well as to my immediate family.”

Professor Gitterman, Director of the Ph.D. Program and Zachs Professor, joined the University of Connecticut School of Social Work as a Professor in 1999 teaching in both the M.S.W. and Ph.D. programs. Prior to his academic appointment at our School, he was a Professor and former Associate Dean at the Columbia University School of Social Work.

“When I accepted Kay Davidson’s invitation to become a visiting professor in the fall of 1999,” Professor Gitterman says, “I found an administration and faculty totally committed to providing students with a quality education in a supportive environment. I found a faculty totally committed to balancing teaching, scholarship and service. On a personal level,I found colleagues who extended themselves to make me feel welcomed. I also found superior students who appreciated being challenged and who I was proud to have become social workers.” He continues, “The UConn community has provided the stimulation and support for me to continue my efforts to contribute to teaching, scholarship and service. I have been and continue to be most appreciative.”

“We are delighted,” says Dean Salome Raheim, “that Professor Gitterman has been named the 2008 Recipient of the Significant Lifetime Achievement in Social Work Award.” “The University of Connecticut School of Social Work is so very fortunate to have Dr. Gitterman on our faculty. As we commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the School this year, it is with great pleasure,” Dean Raheim says, “that we also celebrate Dr. Gitterman’s “lifetime” achievements and contributions to social work and social work education.”

Professor Gitterman’s specializations and research interests include health and mental health, social work practice, and group work. He teaches courses in casework, micro foundation method, and comparative social work practice.

His publications include: Mutual Aid Groups, Vulnerable and Resilient Populations, and the Life Cycle (co-editor 2005); The Handbook of Social Work Practice with Vulnerable Populations and Resilient Populations (2001) which has won the Robert Wood Johnson Award for excellence; The Life Model of Social Work Practice: Advances in Theory and Practice (co-author, 1996); Mutual Aid Groups, Vulnerable Populations, and the Life Cycle (co-editor 1994); The Handbook of Social Work Practice with Vulnerable Populations (editor, 1991); Mutual Aid Groups and the Life Cycle (co-editor, 1986); Public Health Social Work in Maternal and Child Health: A Forward Plan (co-editor 1986); and The Life Model of Social Work Practice (co-author, 1980) which is on the Columbia University Press all-time best-seller list in social work. He has published articles on social work practice, social work with groups, field instruction, supervision, organizational behavior and teaching.

Professor Gitterman is the Editor of a series for Columbia University Press on the subject of Helping Empower the Powerless. He is on the editorial board of the following journals: Clinical Journal of Supervision; Families in Society; Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment; Social Work with Groups; Social Work in Health Care; Reflections: Narratives of Professional Helping, and Teaching in Social Work. He recently served for two terms as the President of the Association for the Advancement of Social Work with Groups, an international professional organization and currently serves on its Board of Directors.