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Community Partnership Action Award

The CSWE Commission for Diversity and Social & Economic Justice is proud to announce the Community Partnership Action (CPA) Award to honor the contributions of schools and departments of social work and social work students (BSW, MSW, PhD) in advancing community partnership action. The CPA Award will be presented at the Carl A. Scott Memorial Lecture given annually at the CSWE Annual Program Meeting.  "Community" is broadly defined as a self-organized network of people with a common agenda, cause, or interest and is not limited by physical locality.
Community partnership actions are central to the advancement of social and economic justice, which is intrinsic to social work education. Historically, dating back to the settlement houses, our profession is rooted in working with the community to solve social problems and issues.  Community partnerships enhance social justice work by promoting meaningful reciprocal collaboration. These activities also develop connections between theory and practice in real-life contexts toward promoting social, economic, and environmental justice competencies.

Two awards will be given annually, one for each of the following categories.

  1. Social Work Program Award. Recognizes a CSWE-accredited social work program that encourages its faculty, students, and staff members to engage in community-based social, economic, or environmental justice activities. Some examples might be particular classes, advocacy activities, field assignments or projects, interprofessional collaboration, and culturally based interventions.
  2. Student Project Award. Recognizes a student (BSW, MSW, or PhD) who has engaged in a community partnership activity that successfully promoted social, economic, or environmental justice.

Selection Criteria

All submissions will be blind peer-reviewed by the CPA Award subcommittee of the Commission for Diversity and Social & Economic Justice using the following criteria:

  • The extent to which the educational efforts or the community partnership action project effectively address social, economic, or environmental social justice issues
  • The extent to which the educational efforts or the community partnership action project empowers the community or the community leaders
  • The extent to which the educational efforts or community partnership action project are evaluated and disseminated

2020 Winners

The 2020 Program Award goes to Center for Innovation in Behavioral Health Education & Research (CIBER) at Simmons University School of Social Work.

Community-Action-Partnership-Program-Simmons-CIBER-2020-jpg.jpgCIBER at Simmons University was established to serve as a focus of innovation, education, training, and research in behavioral health. The educational efforts of CIBER are defined by community partnerships, transforming communities in the greater Boston area and beyond by addressing social justice issues through a focus on disparities in health, mental health, and well-being.  CIBER's core projects are the Simmons Opioid Workforce Expansion Program, Shared Decision-Making & Colorectal Cancer Screening Behaviors Among Older Adults With Low Health Literacy Project, and the Simmons Trauma Education Project. These projects at Simmons exemplifiy a dedication to social justice-oriented community partnerships. Given the focus on innovation, CIBER projects have been adept at responding to COVID-19, with many projects using the virtual space for content and operations prior to the crisis. 

The 2020 Student Award goes to Sujeeta Elizabeth Menon.

Community-Action-Partnership-Award-Student-2020-picture-sujeeta_gcsw-(2).pngSujeeta Elizabeth Menon, LMSW, RSW (Singapore) is a fourth-year doctoral candidate at the University of Houston, Graduate College of Social Work (UHGCSW). Sujeeta's research focuses on the desistance of justice-involved young women through evidence-based juvenile correctional programming. She plans to study the pathways to offending and desistance that will inform correctional programming and support for better long-term outcomes. Sujeeta’s research uses an intersectionality approach to investigate how multiple systems of social control influence the desistance of justice-involved girls. Sujeeta is interested to bridge research and social work practice within the juvenile justice settings.

Sujeeta's scholarly agenda is informed by her prior work as a social worker in Singapore between 2006 and 2016, where her passion for youth work was fueled and the exposure to the challenges to reentry for justice-involved youths became apparent. Sujeeta is employed part-time as a risk assessment specialist at Change Happens, a community nonprofit in the Houston, TX, Third Ward community that has served the residents for the last two decades at the rate of 20,000 people annually. Her work involves the follow-up of students with high adverse childhood experiences scores in school settings. Sujeeta recognized the need to advocate for girls of color who are disproportionately expelled and suspended from school, which led to a large-scale joint community screening of Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools (a film by Monique Morris) and an expert panel discussion by Change Happens, UHGCSW, and the Association of Black Social Workers. Sujeeta is also a teaching fellow for the online MSW program at UHGCSW.

Previous Winners


  • Program Award went to Age-Friendly/Ohio State University.
  • Student Project Award recipient was Suk-hee Kim, PhD, COI, MSW.