2015 CSWE Election Candidate Statements

The 2015 CSWE election is scheduled to open on Tuesday, April 28, 2015 and the candidate statements are now available for review. There have been some changes within the Chair-elect category since the slate was announced in late February. Darlyne Bailey withdrew her name from the ballot and the CSWE National Nominating Committee replaced her with Alejandro Garcia. Also, a petition was submitted to add Barbara Shank to the slate, so there will be three names on the ballot in the Chair-elect category. Ballots to vote in the election will be sent by e-mail to CSWE members full membership status. Any questions about the election can be sent to election@cswe.org.

Board of Directors


Alejandro Garcia, PhD, MSW
Syracuse University (NY)

I have a strong belief in the capacity of CSWE to provide direction for social work education and our profession. Our commitment to social and economic justice and human rights must continue to prevail. CSWE needs to recognize the changing nature of our diverse society and the need for social work to be responsive and creative in how our professionals address those needs. We must also continuously maintain a close relationship between social work education and practice to insure that future generations of professional social workers are able to respond effectively to these societal changes. High standards of practice in clinical, community, and macro practice must continue to be maintained.

My many years in the social work profession as practitioner, educator and Director of the School of Social Work at Syracuse University have provided me with a wealth of understanding of the complexities of our chosen profession, and this experience should serve me well in this position. I have served on the CSWE and NASW national boards, as well as on the Commission on Accreditation and on a variety of editorial boards. I have also served in leadership positions, including Chair of AARP’s National Policy Council and Chairman of the Board of the National Hispanic Council on Aging. I have published extensively, including three co-edited books on older Latinos and vulnerable youth and HIV/AIDS. Accreditation visits across the nation have provided me with excellent understanding of the breadth and depth of social work education.

NASW has honored me as a Social Work Pioneer in recognition of my contributions to the profession. I have also received the Andrus Award for Community Service from AARP, and election as a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America and member of the National Academy of Social Insurance.

I welcome your support.

Patrick Leung, PhD, MSW, MPA
University of Houston (TX)

I am honored to be nominated to serve as chair-elect of the CSWE Board of Directors. As a dynamic social work educator, my vision for advancing the social work mission through CSWE includes assuring quality of social work education across BSW, MSW, and doctoral programs, supporting teaching innovations and interprofessional relationships, increasing minority and culturally diverse engagement, expanding international collaborations, and raising the profile of social work as a profession uniquely qualified to meet societal challenges.

Serving as a social work researcher, evaluator, and professor for 28 years, my leadership experience has led to long-term social work development on state, national, and global levels. Since being the inaugural director of the doctoral program at the University of Houston Graduate College Of Social Work from 1992–1995, I continue to teach, research, and lead within the college and community. Recently, I have served as board member of CSWE and member of the Commission for Diversity and Social and Economic Justice. This experience gave me a good understanding of the role of CSWE in the landscape of social work and higher education.

If I am elected as the chair-elect, I will work with BPD, NADD, NASW, and ASWB to develop collaborative relationships to jointly address the educational changes facing the profession and to enhance the development of the undergraduate and graduate curriculum. As a relational and dedicated individual, I offer a diverse skillset to this position, strengthened by my interdisciplinary background combining social work, public administration, and economics. My goal is to use my expertise in these areas to work with CSWE constituencies in program management, facilitation of community engagement, and leadership development and empowerment for students and colleagues. This position will provide me with an excellent platform to promote the status of social work educators as we confront social justice issues.

Barbara Shank, PhD, MSW
St. Catherine University and University of St. Thomas Collaborative (MN)

I am honored to be nominated to serve a second term as chair of the Board of CSWE. Transitioning from an executive director to president and president to Board chair structure has presented challenges. Although we have encountered bumps, we have successfully worked through the issues. We have focused both internally and externally to professionalize our processes and strengthen our collaborations. We have more to do, but we are making significant progress.

Social work education and CSWE face external challenges. We need to practice inclusiveness, affirm our diversity, respectfully challenge our detractors, and work for our common good. I believe all social workers, educators and practitioners, must collaborate and partner if our profession is to remain viable and thrive.

I have been actively engaged in social work education for 36 years, serving several roles such as BSW field coordinator, BSW and MSW program director, and founding dean of our school of social work. In addition, I have been privileged to serve the Association of Baccalaureate Social Work Program Directors, the International Association of Schools of Social Work, the National Association of Deans and Directors of Schools of Social Work, the National Association of Social Workers, and the International Consortium on Social Development in various leadership roles. My service in CSWE has included membership on several commissions (global, research, educational policy and accreditation), board member, treasurer, and chair. I believe in active engagement, service, and the importance of strong professional organizations for social work education and practice. I attribute my success to my colleagues, who have provided these opportunities for me to serve our profession.

I bring to this position my experience across the continuum of social work education; understanding of the role of Board chair; willingness to listen; passion for work, excellence, and global issues; ability to find opportunities in problems, manage conflict, and empower colleagues; and commitment to collaboration, partnership, and social justice.


Sara Sanders, PhD, MSW
University of Iowa

CSWE plays an important function for social work education by providing the necessary program accreditation and setting the consistent standards for programs to follow. I am running for a position on the Board of Directors because I support the mission of CSWE and the important role that they play in promoting and ensuring high quality social work education. This is one critical step in ensuring a strong social work labor force in meeting the needs of clients across all levels of the system. As an active member of CSWE since my doctoral program, I have been involved in several CSWE initiatives, particularly through the John A. Hartford Foundation and curricular infusion efforts in gerontology. Additionally, I have other national leadership experience, particularly serving as a board member and vice-president for AGE-SW for approximately 10 years and serving as an advisory board member for the Gero-Ed Center. I have a strong commitment to social work education, particularly the importance of undergraduate social work education, because bachelor level social workers serve many rural and oppressed communities throughout the country. I also bring to this position a strong commitment to both teaching and scholarship and have been affiliated with both small, primarily teaching institutions and those with a strong research and scholarship focus. Recognizing the unique programmatic needs of both types of institutions is a critical perspective for the Board of CSWE. I look forward, if asked, to serving on the board of CSWE and working collaboratively to continue to strengthen social work education nationally.

Saundra H. Starks, Ed.D.
Western Kentucky University

I am honored to be considered for the position of secretary/vice chair for the CSWE Board. Serving in such a capacity would truly be a privilege and allow me to participate in shaping and maintaining the future integrity and stability of social work education. My 30 years of research and scholarship extends to areas of clinical practice, international study abroad, cultural competency, issues of women of color and mentorship of young women into the profession.

I have demonstrated a track record of collaboration, innovation, advocacy and leadership in the profession and in social work education. I am currently serving on the CSWE Committee on Racial, Ethnic & Cultural Diversity, and have served on both the CSWE Nominating committee and the CSWE Council on the Role and Status of Women in Social Work Education. I was a former board secretary for two terms on the National Association for Social Work Boards (ASWB) and also served on the National board for NASW. While on the NASW Board I chaired the National Committee on Race and Ethnic Diversity, and I am currently completing a term on the NASW National Committee on Women’s Issues. Not only would I bring a diversity of leadership experiences, but an energy for working with the complex issues that currently face social work education.

My vision is for CSWE to continue promoting the development of academic programs of excellence that produce outstanding future social work practitioners, researchers and scholars. In collaboration with other professional associations, a stronger voice for the integrity of the profession and the promotion of social justice can be achieved. In addition, I want to see CSWE continue to be responsive to the changing needs in social work education by strengthening competencies and applying progressive strategies for the agendas necessary for a viable future.

Graduate Faculty Representative

Sandra L. Momper, PhD, MSW
University of Michigan
Graduate Faculty Representative

I am excited to be nominated for the graduate faculty representative position. This position will allow me to influence the future direction of CSWE to meet the educational needs of diverse students. I am an enrolled member of the Bad River Band of Chippewa Indians. I have an MSW and PhD from the University of Pittsburgh and more than 25 years of direct practice experience working with children, youth, and families. I am an associate professor at the University of Michigan, School of Social Work. I have taught interpersonal practice courses since 2002. I work with the American Indian community in Detroit focusing on suicide prevention and culturally competent wraparound services. I assisted in setting up American Indian Health and Family Services, Inc., as an MSW field placement site. I envision social work education as a place where future social workers can get an education that focuses on the acquisition of both micro and macro skills. As a practitioner I witnessed the impact of policies that impeded the access to much-needed services and opportunities for families. If policies, for example, are not socially and economically just, then the people we serve are not getting the services they need in a culturally competent/humble way. As a practicing social worker I was involved in advocacy at both the micro and macro levels to make system-wide changes. As educators we have a responsibility to incorporate issues of social and economic justice into our curriculum by ensuring that interpersonal practice courses highlight these connections so students are effective. Additionally, my personal passion related to the historical relationships that exist between social workers and indigenous peoples, and in particular American Indians and Alaska Natives, is to influence curriculum changes that educate students on this history and assist them in working with indigenous peoples.

Scott R. Sorensen, LCSW
University of Utah
Graduate Faculty Representative

I am truly honored to have been nominated as a candidate for the Board of Directors, Graduate Faculty position. This is a critical time for social work education. Our profession continues to experience public institutional demands of providing the highest quality of education with fewer resources. Concurrently, advances in technology demand that we use whatever scarce resources are available to meet the needs of our increasingly technologically literate student population. These challenges are occurring while we also seek to implement more effective ways to meet the educational needs of a global society. As a member of the Board of Directors I would provide a voice regarding these pressing needs as they impact accreditation and other relevant issues.

As a result of my educational and professional experiences, I have had the opportunity to be involved with public and private organizations and institutions. Those settings have helped to strengthen a variety of skills in management, advocacy, strategic planning, fiscal integrity, and diplomacy. In addition to program responsibilities in distance education regionally and with some international locations, I currently serve as president of the National Rural Social Work Caucus and as the chair of the advisory board of a county child advocacy organization. I believe that the use of each of these skills and experiences will be crucial in dealing with the issues facing the CSWE Board of Directors.

I have always been a strong advocate for social work policy and practice. I have been a member of NASW for 30 years and a CSWE member for 20 years. I look forward to the opportunity to use a lifetime of experiences and passion about social work to assist the Board of Directors in guiding our organization to meet the issues of the present and the goals for the future.

Undergraduate Faculty Representative

D. Lynne Jackson, PhD, MSW
Texas Christian University
Undergraduate Faculty Representative

It is my honor to be considered for the CSWE Board of Directors. I am a proud social worker with a BSW degree from the University of South Florida and an MSW and PhD from Florida State University. I am running for the Board of Directors because I bring a passion for social work education that started 20 years ago when I began working in academia as a field instructor and exists today in my current role as director of field education. I want to be part of the leadership of an organization that will guide the education of the next generation of social workers and help to shape future leaders in our profession.

I bring leadership skills from my time in social work agencies and NASW and a commitment to work with others to see that social work education remains on the cutting edge of what communities and clients need. I also bring a work ethic that ensures that I will follow through on all commitments and does not shy away from the hard work that has to be done. I have worked with state and national boards and understand the importance of seeing the bigger picture. I also have the support of my university and department chair, which is invaluable in allowing me to meet my commitment to CSWE.

My vision for CSWE and social work education is that we prepare social work students for the challenges that are ahead of them such as the growing diversity of clients and the seriousness of problems that those clients face. For instance, issues that don’t just involve race, class, or gender bias individually, but instead involve the intersection of all of those things and which then require critical thinking by our students as they look for long-term solutions and not just a quick fix. Further, I see the importance of helping students grow and develop as leaders to shape the future of the profession as well as to challenge social and community issues dealing with issues as mentioned before and are still yet to be defined.

William B. Pederson, MSW
Northern Arizona University, Yuma Branch Campus
Undergraduate Faculty Representative

I am running to serve as the undergraduate faculty representative on the CSWE Board of Directors to provide a unique perspective on diversity and social and economic justice. Specifically, I am an openly gay, Caucasian man living on the U.S.-Mexico border, teaching social work to a primarily Hispanic population who speak English as a second language. My students cross through several border checkpoints to come to class; fear family members will be deported, subject to the unintended consequences of state and federal policies that are not discussed on a national level; and struggle daily trying to assimilate to American culture, yet embedded in the predominant Mexican culture. These challenges are underscored further when they begin field placement and are working primarily with poor, oppressed, and Spanish-speaking only client systems.

The skills I bring to this position are a balanced blend of professional practice skills coupled with my knowledge as an academic, grounded in a win-win philosophy. The greatest strength I bring to this position is my organizational skills, as evidenced by my creation of the very first BASW program in the United States that focuses on U.S.-Mexico border issues and populations. Advocating for oppressed and disenfranchised border populations has been my passion since joining the faculty at the NAU Yuma Branch Campus in 2000.

My current vision for CSWE and the future of social work education is quite simple. First, provide continued support to social work programs for CSWE EPAS compliance, particularly in the areas of diversity and human rights. Second, educate CSWE and our BSW programs about U.S.-Mexico border issues and populations. Social work practice on the border has unique challenges not found in other areas of the United States, yet translates to other areas because of current migration patterns.

Practice Representative

Jim Akin, MSW
NASW-Florida Chapter
Practice Representative

The opportunity to serve as a board member of CSWE is both an honor and a duty. I want to see CSWE broaden its influence and leadership in the social work profession. I bring to CSWE a working knowledge of the challenges and successes in current social work practice. One challenge we continue to face is strengthening the linkage between practice and research. I would like to work with CSWE to bring the excellent research being conducted in the schools of social work to our practitioners in a way they can incorporate the results and findings to improve the lives of the clients they serve. I would also like to continue the success CSWE has brought to our educators and practitioners in developing evidence-based practice as a trademark of professional social work.

I have a good understanding of the role and services of CSWE. I served two terms on the National Nominating Committee. I currently serve on the Council on Conferences and Faculty Development.

My vision for CSWE is to champion social work education through advocacy, publicity, and marketing. My hope is that CSWE will continue its leadership role with NASW and other sister organizations in developing a strong united voice for the social work profession.

Carol Trust, MSW
NASW-Massachusetts Chapter
Practice Representative

I am running for the Board of Directors to assure that the practice world has a direct influence on the academic world of the social work profession. In my 30+ years as an NASW chapter staff person and administrator I have worked directly with thousands of NASW members and nonmembers representing every segment of social work practice and have a deep and comprehensive sense of the learning needs of our diverse profession. They are multiple, rich, and ever changing. I will bring an appreciation and firsthand knowledge of the diversity of social work’s educational requirements.

My vision for CSWE and social work education is that we stay in close touch with the changing needs of our practitioners.

National Nominating Committee

Graduate Program Representative

Sheila Grant Bunch, PhD, MSW
East Carolina University (NC)
Graduate Program Representative

I am privileged to have been nominated to represent graduate social work education on the National Nominating Committee. This is a wonderful opportunity to identify social work educators who possess the skill sets (innovation, energy, and excitement) to provide leadership to the Council on Social Work Education Board. I received my BSW from East Carolina University, where I currently serve as the director of the School of Social Work. I matriculated at UNC Chapel Hill for my MSW and North Carolina State University for a PhD in sociology. During my 29 years as a social work educator, I have teaching experience with BSW and MSW students, served as major professor for MSW professional papers and thesis committees, and served as BSW coordinator. I served a 3-year term (2006–2009) on the CSWE Board of Directors, and I am a site visitor for the Commission on Accreditation. My vision and hope for CSWE include promoting unity and diversity within the profession, advocating for social justice, and providing guidance and resources to assist accredited programs with educating the next generation of social workers for practice in a complex and global society.

Lirio K. Negroni, PhD, MSW
University of Connecticut
Graduate Program Representative

Thank you for considering me for the National Nominating Committee. I am currently an associate professor at the University of Connecticut, with past experience at Universidad Interamericana in Puerto Rico and Springfield College in Massachusetts. I have been an active member of CSWE since 1990 and have served in numerous capacities in the Association of Latino and Latina Social Work Educators, the CSWE Board of Directors, the Task Force on Latinos/as in Social Work Education, the Leadership Council, the APM Spanish Presentations Track, the Commission on Diversity and Social and Economic Justice, the Carl Scott Lecture Committee, the Search Committee for the Director of the Diversity Center, and the Ad Hoc Group on Religious and Spiritual Diversity in Social Work Education.

My work within CSWE has contributed to my development as an educator, scholar, and leader. This is why I want to encourage other educators to take on the opportunity to serve in the organization. I am committed to maintaining and enhancing diversity and group representation within CSWE’s governance. I will advocate for a balanced leadership consisting of the nomination of prominent and distinguished leaders with that of emerging leaders who have much to offer but have yet to consider a role in CSWE.

I am ready to serve in a committee that has the important charge of identifying and recruiting CSWE’s future leadership. I will reassure potential nominees that elected officials serving on the board, commissions, councils, and committees make significant contributions to the advancement of social work education. They enrich the organization with their wisdom and expertise. Likewise, they benefit from the opportunity of knowing and working with creative, inspiring, and committed colleagues and from developing relationships that can lead to partnerships, collaborations, mentoring, and professional friendships.

Graduate Faculty Representative

Elise M. Fullmer, PhD, MSW
West Virginia University
Graduate Faculty Representative

I have a contribution to make. The 27 years working in social work education and 12 as an academic administrator in both teaching and research institutions has prepared me well. The profession is at a pivotal point in history. We are growing, and there are many choices to grapple with. For social work educators and social workers generally to have an influential voice in important social institutions such as health care, education, and social service provisions we must be able to demonstrate both our efficacy in practice and policy and our ability to work in a fiscally responsible manner. Supporting and strengthening outcome research, in particular, is paramount to the profession’s well-being.

The value base and ethical codes of social work define it. Educators must demonstrate, both in word and deed, professional values and ethics. Values and ethics should not be stagnant but evolve with the profession. In this time, an African American president was elected and lesbian gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people are gaining civil rights. There is also significant backlash as incidents resembling the killing of Michael Brown and continued efforts to pass legislation that allows discrimination against LGBT people persist. We are a long way from the egalitarian society that many of us envisioned when we became social workers.

My vision is multifaceted. CSWE should continue to promote the building of the knowledge base of social work with increased emphasis on outcome research. Social work educators need to be personally and intimately involved with the evolution of the ethical standards and value base of social work. We need to be mindful rather than reactionary as we consider the future of social work. We should not be defined only by current circumstances. Finally, social work needs to increase its influence in institutions of higher education through strong research and good citizenship.

Tonya E. Perry, PhD, MSW
Alabama A&M University
Graduate Faculty Representative

It is my distinct honor to be considered for a position on the National Nominating Committee. Serving in this capacity would allow me to support CSWE in extending leadership opportunities to a diversity of persons woven into the rich tapestry of the social work academy. As it ventures into the future, it is my hope that CSWE will continue to drive the accreditation of stellar social work programs that produce highly competent social workers who possess the compassion and courage to actively engage in the struggle to achieve social justice for all people. I am a professor of social work at Alabama A & M University. Having formerly taught at Fordham University and Howard University, I have more than 16 years of graduate teaching experience. My principle research, publications, and service efforts concern sociocultural correlates of HIV/AIDS and other health conditions among women of African ancestry. From 2011 to 2014, I served as a member of CSWE’s Council on the Role and Status of Women. Extending from my tenure on the Council is a co-edited book released in fall of 2013, Globalization and Gender Oppression: A Challenge for Social Work, published by CSWE Press; this work exemplifies the power of intersectional collaboration. I currently serve as a consulting editor of Social Work and as a reviewer for Affilia, the Journal of HIV/AIDS & Social Services, and the Journal of Social Work Education. Through my experiences, I have developed skills in participatory leadership, consensus building, diplomacy, and intersectional collaboration. It would be my privilege to serve on the National Nominating Committee; in so doing, I would draw on my relevant skills, experiences, and longstanding commitment to social justice and the delivery of quality social work programs in recruiting an inclusive pool of servant-leaders who are committed to realizing transformative social work education.

Undergraduate Program Representative

Maura B. Nsonwu, PhD, MSW
North Carolina A&T State University
Undergraduate Program Representative

I am humbled and delighted to receive the nomination for election to the CSWE National Nominating Committee representing the undergraduate program position. If elected I would hope to contribute enthusiasm and appreciation of the social work profession, a diligent work ethic, a steadfast commitment to social justice, a collaborative and collective nature, and a generous spirit to reflect and share what I have learned in my professional experience with others.

I have been a social work practitioner, educator, and researcher for almost 30 years. I received my BSW and my PhD in education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and my MSW at the University of South Carolina. My practice and research experience have dovetailed in that I have served communities/populations at risk (e.g., immigrants and refugees, violence against women and children, human trafficking, and child welfare) and have transferred this knowledge into the classroom. I have taught field and practice courses at both the BSW and MSW levels for 19 years; I feel grounded in my understanding of the changing dynamics of the social work professional as well as the university expectations in preparing future social workers for the field and/or graduate school.

I have been fortunate to teach, advise, mentor, and learn from many students in the various academic positions that I have held throughout my tenure. My current positions as the interim BSW program director and associate chair for the Department of Sociology & Social Work at North Carolina A&T State University has given me a unique perspective allowing me to develop innovative ideas and creative solutions in meeting the needs of our students and profession.

My vision for CSWE/social work education is to support a collective process that fosters growth and change while remaining resolute to our core value of social justice.

Cecilia Thomas, PhD, MSW, MA
University of North Texas
Undergraduate Program Representative

It is a great honor to be on the ballot for this position. While most of my professional career has been in the role as practitioner, I have enjoyed my transition to academia some 16 years ago. I am currently an Associate Professor and have the privilege of serving as undergraduate Program Director for my institution during these past 6 years.

I am interested in further service to CSWE by running for this position on the National Nominating Committee. My aim is to provide voice on the importance of enhanced inclusion and representation in leadership positions.

My skills derive from a broad practice background and commitment to the profession as evidenced through experiences at both the local and national level. This has ranged from educational and professional entities in program development, administration, committee work, advising, and as a site visitor for CSWE. Through these opportunities, I have developed first-hand, invaluable knowledge on meeting the often conflicting demands of students, institutions, and accrediting bodies.

At this juncture in my career, I have a strong interest in supporting CSWE and giving input into its future leaders. The increasing complexity of higher education suggests we are challenged to preserve the vitality of our association on the one hand, with a complementary charge toward needed growth and change on the other. The identification of strong, innovative leaders who are representative of multiple levels of diversity enhances this effort. Further, my vision for CSWE is to fulfill our mission with a well-defined focus on our professional roots. Effective collaboration provides a means to meet our collective need for the development of quality education. This will serve us well in the provision of well-prepared social workers who stand at the forefront of service and societal change across the many important dimensions of social work practice.