UAlbany's School of  Social Welfare

School of Social Welfare

Strategically located in New York's capital city, UAlbany's School of Social Welfare (SSW) offers its students a wealth of opportunities to practice in leading social welfare agencies. Just minutes away from policy leaders in state government, the School plays a pivotal role in global policy-shaping research and practice. It develops blueprints to advance innovative human services for New York State, the nation and the world.

National Rankings

  • Top five among schools of social work in faculty research and scholarship, Chronicle of Higher Education
  • No. 12 in the nation, U.S. News & World Report

Major Highlights

The School awarded 40 scholarships to graduate and undergraduate students through public and private support, as it made progress toward its fundraising goal of $3 million for endowments.

Seven students visited Liberia, Senegal, Ethiopia, and South Africa as part of the U.S.-Africa Partnership for Building Stronger Communities Project's 9th Summer Tour to Africa. The project is directed by UAlbany Distinguished Service Professor Shirley J. Jones.

Reflecting the School's global perspective, faculty conducted research and development projects on aging in Russia and China, disadvantaged youth in Holland and China, dementia in Ireland, and disasters in Indonesia.

The Web site, which offers choices in services for seniors and persons with disabilities in the Capital Region, received 10,000 new users per month. The online resource was developed by the School's Center for Excellence in Aging Services.

A group of SSW graduate students engaged in a dramatic service-learning project to help with the rebuilding of New Orleans.

Awards and Recognition

Ronald Toseland received the Association for Gerontology Education in Social Work Career Achievement Award; the Outstanding Researcher/Scholar Award from the SUNY Research Foundation for contributions and excellence in gerontological research; and a Fulbright Senior Specialist award. He also was appointed to the Governor's Family Caregiver Council.

Carolyn Smith, a leading authority on delinquency, received UAlbany's Excellence in Research Award; along with Laura Elwyn, PhD candidate, received a National Institute on Drug Abuse dissertation award for "Perception of Childhood Maltreatment: Implications for Early Adult Substance Abuse."

Hal Lawson was named an Honorary Professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences, Queensland University, Brisbane, Australia.

Dean Katharine Briar-Lawson was named a "Woman of Excellence" by the Albany-Colonie Chamber of Commerce, and was honored by Hallym University in South Korea, with whom SSW has enjoyed a "sister university" relationship since 1998. She was also appointed to the NYS Advisory Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services.

Briar-Lawson and Associate Dean Ricky Fortune were named National Transition Team members, working to integrate all national social work organizations. Both are recent past presidents of national social work organizations.

Philip McCallion was appointed by the director of the NYS Office for the Aging to the Director's Roundtable on Advocacy.


Center for Excellence in Aging Services, $2.9 million, for Evidence Based Health Promotion in NYS, Citizens Bank Foundation Financial Literacy Initiative for the Elderly, redesign of a telephone support health promotion program, Reinventing Retirement Program, and Medicaid demonstration project.

Center for Human Services Research, $3.5 million, for studies of coordinated mental health services for youth, the New York State collocation program, NYS Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention and Services Program, NYS Family Resource Centers, AmeriCorps Data System and Evaluation, Child Psychiatry Needs Assessment, and Healthy Families New York.

New York State Social Work Education Consortium, $3.2 million, for promoting research and stabilization of the public sector child welfare workforce.

Center for Innovation in Mental Health Research, $155,000, for replication of enhanced supported housing model for homeless with psychiatric disabilities; evaluation of consumer-delivered mental health services in Maine.

Addictions Center, $50,000, collaborating with the NYS Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services on an agency-based research agenda and shared faculty model.