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A century of field-shaping research

It is a great privilege to serve as dean as we celebrate the Centennial of the School of Social Service Administration.

Throughout this Centennial site, you will find many examples of what makes SSA a unique institution. Our faculty’s influence on the profession of social work and the field of social welfare has been historically, and continues to be, far-reaching and enduring. SSA students are extraordinarily talented and deeply committed to social welfare issues. And SSA graduates are exactly the leaders and innovators we need working in the public and non-profit sectors.

The Centennial site includes the series “Profiles of Distinction”. These are stories about distinguished SSA faculty, researchers, staff, and alumni. To begin to recognize the large number of remarkable individuals who have been affiliated with SSA over the years, we will constantly add and rotate stories over the course of the Centennial year.

In celebration of the Centennial, we will feature a range of topics organized by SSA faculty and joined by many of our nation’s top social work scholars. Framed by an overview of the School’s work and accomplishments over its first 100 years, we will spotlight exemplary SSA and Chicago area school improvement efforts, as well as innovative approaches to teaching practice competencies in the classroom and in the field. Two separate symposiums on welfare states in transition are planned, as well as a symposium that will explore issues facing low-income workers at the turn of the 21st century. We will explore contemporary issues concerning community, community action, and community change, and links between vulnerability and health, and the importance of community-level safety net organizations to improve well-being.

We will also hold symposiums honoring the work and legacies of some of SSA’s pioneers, including Helen Harris Perlman, William Reid, Laura Epstein, Edward Mullen, Elsie Pinkston, Bernece Simon, and Sharon Berlin – and offer contemporary perspectives about their work and practices.

From September 2008 though June 2009, we will highlight not only SSA’s first hundred years of scholarship and service, but we will look ahead to the next hundred. I invite you to participate and celebrate with us – by attending our symposiums, by submitting reflections of your time and interactions with the SSA, by submitting photos and historical anecdotes, and by giving to the School. Exciting times are ahead of us, as this Centennial year will kick off the campaign for a new SSA research pavilion. Please visit the “Participate!” section to view our campaign video, as well as to read about ways that you can give and become involved with the life of the School.

I hope that celebrating the Centennial will allow us to build a greater sense of community in support of SSA, as this celebration extends not only to our faculty, students, alumni, and friends, but also to our University, our city, and our field. I encourage all to visit the site often and to join us for the upcoming special events.

We have much to celebrate!

Jeanne C. Marsh
Dean and the George Herbert Jones Distinguished Service Professor
School of Social Service Administration

Dean Marsh

Dean Jeanne C. Marsh