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Fortune Elected to National Council on Social Work Education

July 13, 2009

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Anne E. (Ricky) Fortune of UAlbany's School of Social Welfare

Newly elected to the Council on Social Work Education, Anne E. (Ricky) Fortune of UAlbany will seek to unify social workers nationally around major issues.

Anne E. (Ricky) Fortune was recently elected to represent graduate faculty on the Council on Social Work Education, the national accrediting body for B.A. and M.S.W. programs in the field.

"Such an election is an incredible honor for both UAlbany's School of Social Welfare and me," said Fortune, an associate dean and chair of the M.S.W. program who teaches research methodology to graduate students.

With her election, Fortune will try to rally social workers nationally around major issues with the goal of unifying the profession.

"Social workers have great ideas and skills for improving society and people's lives, but they are not heard on a national scale in part because they are not unified," she said. "There are many small organizations often outshouting each other instead of expressing a unified voice."

Her efforts continue the work she started as president of the Society for Social Work Research from 2006-2008, another leading organization. In addition, School of Social Welfare Dean Katharine Briar-Lawson was chosen to lead the National Association of Deans and Directors (of social work programs). The two were among national leaders who worked to unify social workers.

"Ricky's election to the Council gives our School even greater visibility in social work policy and in educational excellence at the national level," said Briar-Lawson.

Looking at the big picture in social work comes easily to Fortune, whose father started working abroad when she was in high school. A city planner, he eventually specialized in mountainous jungles, where minerals had been discovered.

"My parents lived in all sorts of interesting places: Turkey, Netherlands, Salvador, Korea, and Malaysia," said Fortune, who lived in or visited most of these places. "That's why I've always been interested in other cultures, how people cope with poverty under different circumstances, and what kinds of services or plans can help people improve their lives."

Fortune joined UAlbany in 1988 to work with her husband, the late Distinguished Professor of Social Welfare William J. Reid.

UAlbany's School of Social Welfare is one of the top schools of social work in the U.S. It's ranked 5th in faculty scholarly productivity and was just ranked 12th in the nation by U.S. News and World Report, moving up seven spots.

"That means that our students get to study with faculty who are doing the cutting-edge research, not just read about it in textbooks. We have experts in aging, child welfare, homelessness, substance abuse, school social work, immigration, disasters, crises, HIV/AIDS, and spirituality, among other areas," Fortune said.

UAlbany's strategic location in the Capital District also means there are superb sites for field education. The School and its students are involved in school-based family service centers, the Cease Fire campaign to reduce gang violence, and health promotion for older persons.

"We've also got burgeoning international connections and students have opportunities for study tours to Africa, Europe, Asia, and South America," Fortune said.

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Best-selling author and alumnus Gregory Maguire, '76
UAlbany Alumni

"What I found at UAlbany was the capacity for teachers to think a little bit beyond what the catalog said and to extend themselves in such a way as to make an education tailored for an individual."

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