CSWE Appoints Dr. Halaevalu F. O. Vakalahi as Next President and CEO

Published on : November 12, 2022

ALEXANDRIA, VA – On Friday, November 11, 2022, the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) announced the appointment of Halaevalu F. O. Vakalahi PhD, MSW, MEd, as its next President and Chief Executive Officer. Dr. Vakalahi was introduced by Board Chair Hilary Weaver during the Membership Meeting as part of CSWE’s Annual Program Meeting in Anaheim, CA. Vakalahi’s priorities for her presidency include increasing visibility of CSWE as an organization and its membership in the critical role of educating professionals and leaders for healthier communities, and advancing its brand which speaks to diversity, equity, inclusion, and sense of belonging, in alignment with the vision, mission, and strategic plan of the Council.

“Dr. Vakalahi’s engagement with CSWE over her professional career makes her an excellent choice to lead the organization. Her knowledge of and dedication to social work education is precisely what is needed at this time,” remarked outgoing president and CEO, Darla Spence Coffey. 

Board Chair, Hilary Weaver noted that, “Dr. Vakalahi brings a strong leadership background in social work education as well as a proven track record with CSWE as both a staff member and in voluntary roles. As CSWE moves forward with its next chapter, Dr. Vakalahi’s calm and decisive leadership style leaves her poised to move CSWE forward with its mission to advance excellence and innovation in social work education.”

Born in Tonga and raised in Hawai’i, Vakalahi received her PhD in Social Work from the University of Utah. Currently she serves as Dean and Professor of the College of Health and Society at Hawai’i Pacific University over disciplines of social work, public health, physical therapy, occupational therapy, physician assistant, and previously nursing. For over two decades in academia, she has been blessed to have served in various capacities in a number of universities, professional organizations, and communities. Her scholarly contributions are in the areas of Pacific Islander families and communities and Women of Color in academia. With clarity of purpose in the academy, Dr. Vakalahi is firm in her belief that representation matters, systems responsiveness matters, and investment in leadership matters. “I am deeply honored and blessed to join a team of extraordinary talents at the Council. I am excited for the opportunity to engage with the staff, board, and membership in collectively forwarding justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion through relevant, responsive, and innovative social work education. Indeed, our world could benefit from the leadership gifts of social work, so I look forward to our journey,” said Vakalahi.

Dr. Vakalahi will begin her term on Tuesday, January 17, 2023.

About the Council on Social Work Education
Founded in 1952, the Council on Social Work Education is the national association representing social work education in the United States. Its members include more than 850 accredited baccalaureate and master's degree social work programs, as well as individual social work educators, practitioners, and agencies dedicated to advancing quality social work education.