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United Way Honors School of Social Welfare Dean as "Community Builder"

Contact: Catherine Herman (518) 437-4980

ALBANY, N.Y. (November 4, 2005) -- Katharine Briar-Lawson, dean of the School of Social Welfare at the University at Albany, received the annual "Community Builder Award" from the United Way of Northeastern New York. Briar-Lawson was recognized for her expertise and dedicated leadership in support of United Way's Family Support Network, a collaboration of more than 50 non-profit agencies working together to build strong, stable families in the Capital Region.

"Dr. Katharine Briar-Lawson's service to the people of the Capital Region exemplifies United Way's mission of caring," said Katherine Pelham, president of the United Way of Northeastern New York. "She continues to help us achieve our strategic priorities around collaborations and systems change, and create and implement solutions for many of the most vulnerable people in our region, through her knowledge of a wide range of resources - both private and governmental."

Briar-Lawson has spearheaded university-community partnerships and family and interprofessional collaboration in more than 40 states. In addition, she has developed award winning demonstration projects involving parent empowerment, school-based services, and school reform. Briar-Lawson has written or co-written a number of books, book chapters, monographs, conference proceedings, and papers, including Charting the Impacts of University-Child Welfare Collaboration; Evaluation Research in Child Welfare; Expanding Partnerships for Vulnerable Children, Youth and Families; Social Work and the Unemployed; and Family Centered Policies and Practices: International Implications.

In addition to her distinguished academic career at the University at Albany, the University of Utah, Miami University, the University of Washington, Pacific Lutheran University, and Florida International University, Briar-Lawson served as assistant secretary for children, youth, and families within the Department of Social and Health Services in the state of Washington. Briar-Lawson also serves on the board of directors for the United Way of Northeastern New York.

Recipients of the Community Builder Award are chosen for their ability to successfully engage a variety of people in collaborative efforts to strengthen and improve communities, and to build on the strengths of local individuals, associations and/or institutions. Recipients have typically led social development initiatives and have successfully used collaboration and consensus decision-making to improve the quality of life and economic stability for children, youth, and their families in the Capital Region.

UAlbany's School of Social Welfare is ranked second in per capita scholarly productivity among social work programs in the nation. The school's mission is to further social and economic justice and to serve people who are vulnerable, marginalized or oppressed. The mission is implemented through education, knowledge development, and service that promote leadership for evidence-based social work with a global perspective. As a recognized national and international leader in developing innovative and creative programs, along with facilitating public-private partnerships, the school has been able to attract premier students, providing them with an unsurpassed educational experience at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral level.


The University at Albany's broad mission of excellence in undergraduate and graduate education, research and public service engages more than 16,000 diverse students in nine degree-granting schools and colleges. For more information about this internationally ranked institution, visit For UAlbany's extensive roster of faculty experts, visit

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