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Dr. Robert Vernon

The Service and Leadership in Social Work Education Award is presented to Dr. Robert Vernon. Dr. Vernon developed three social work programs from start-up. He joined CSWE in 1978 and brought the BSW program at Keuka College through its first accreditation. Later, Dr. Vernon brought the BSW program at the University of Indianapolis through successful accreditation. CSWE asked him to disseminate his development work as a model for other programs. Recently, he and colleagues developed the completely online MSW Direct at Indiana University. Dr. Vernon has uniquely contributed to social work education by continually sharing information that helps other programs develop accreditable degrees.

One of Dr. Vernon’s strengths is technology. Elected to the CSWE Board of Directors in 1999, he started and organized its Committee on Technology. This was at the crucial time when programs were first exploring online degrees. Then elected to the CSWE Commission on Accreditation, he started and organized its Committee on Research and Information Technology. This was substantial leadership at a major turning point in social work education.

Dr. Vernon has always been passionate about telling people of the magic of social work. He produced two posters highlighting our profession. “The Power of Social Work,” created by Dr. Vernon and his students in 1995, was nationally distributed by the National Association of Social Workers. The 2000 “You’ll need a social worker…” poster has been downloaded and used by more than 300 programs. Committed to supporting communication between colleagues, Dr. Vernon is the owner of the BPD, MSW, and Distance Education list servers. He co-organized two national conferences on distance education and was actively involved in setting U.S. national standards for using technology in practice.

Award: Service and Leadership in Social Work Education Award