Published in the Winter 2012 issue of SSA Magazine
I am deeply honored to serve the School of Social Service Administration as the new chair of the Visiting Committee and have long admired the work of former chairs Valerie Jarrett and David Vitale. Their dedication to SSA, along with the leadership of former dean Jeanne Marsh, guided and helped enable the School to thrive and grow into its second century.
Dean Neil Guterman and I both share a vision for the Visiting Committee to become more national in terms of its membership and scope. It is important that SSA extend its reach beyond the civic environment in Chicago so as to tap into the diverse talent and expertise of civic leadership that exists throughout the country. Part of my work will be devising methods with Neil to build a national committee and keep it focused and engaged.
I have many reasons to be honored to serve as chair, including personal ones: My daughter is a doctoral student at SSA, and my father, William, was a member of the Visiting Committee from 1955 to 1995. My father, who was also an attorney, became interested in working with SSA while serving as president of the Board of the Juvenile Protective Association in Chicago.
When I attended the University of Chicago Law School, I had many friends at SSA and was impressed by their work and dedication towards making a difference in the world. I was concerned that there was not, at that time, a focus at the Law School on the ability of the law to make a difference in the lives of the most vulnerable. This fueled my desire to help in any way that I could to advance the efforts of those who work for social justice—in social work, social policy and the law.
SSA is a synthesis of an academic institution and a hands-on learning environment. This mixture of the practical and theoretical provides students with a rigorously developed analytic framework while preparing them for hands-on work with individuals, families and communities. All schools of social work integrate classroom instruction and fieldwork, but none combine the two with an interdisciplinary focus the way SSA and the University of Chicago do. That’s why I volunteer for this great institution.
Chair, SSA Visiting Committee