Biographical Statement for Barbara W. Shank


I have been actively engaged in social work education for over forty years, starting as an undergraduate educator, establishing a masters and doctoral program and currently as dean and professor emerita of social work.

I have had the privilege to serve in leadership capacities over the years such as co-chair, women’s interest group, IASSW; president, National Association of Dean and Directors of Schools of Social Work; chair, practice research network, National Association of Social Workers; president, National Association of Social Workers, Minnesota Chapter; president, International Consortium for Social Development and treasurer and board chair, Council on Social Work Education.

It has been an honor and privilege to serve IASSW as its secretary for the past two years.  I have been personally and professionally enriched by working with colleagues from all over the world.  Together we have worked diligently to support and promote global social work education, continue our tripartite collaboration and strengthening IASSW.

I ardently believe in collaboration, creating and sustaining partnerships, active engagement, service and the importance of strong professional associations for social work education and practice. I contribute my success to my colleagues, both national and international, who have provided these opportunities for me to serve our profession.

Vision Statement for Barbara W. Shank

I am honored to accept a nomination for a second term as secretary of IASSW, to continue my service. I value the opportunity to collaborate with colleagues from every region of the globe to further our mission and goals.

The mission of IASSW speaks to what keeps me engaged and passionate about my work. I believe all social work educators must develop and promote excellence in social work education, research and scholarship globally in order to enhance human well-being. We must collaborate and partner with our social work practice and social development colleagues if our profession and our professional organizations are to remain strong and vibrant. We cannot fulfill our mission or meet our goals acting alone. As social workers, we are facing challenges from many directions and we need to practice inclusiveness, affirm our diversity, respectfully challenge our detractors, and work for the common good. It is our responsibility as social work educators to develop and sustain standards both in the classroom and field that will enhance social work education and professional social work practice worldwide. We must serve our profession through excellence in teaching, research, scholarship and service.

I believe it’s IASSW’s role to promote the development of social work education throughout the world, to encourage international partnerships, collaborations and exchanges of expertise and information, to provide support and a forum for sharing research and scholarship. I am in a position to work toward greater collaboration between IASSW and its sister organizations worldwide.

In the past few years, IASSW has met some significant challenges and is making critical changes. We have determined our strategic priorities and are compliant with the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) of the European Union.  We are sustaining and increasing membership, revamping our website, developing marketing, communication and fund development strategies, reducing our operational expenses and strengthening our partnerships.

I bring to this position of secretary a thorough understanding of the operations of the organization.  I also bring an attention to detail; willingness to listen; passion for social work education, excellence and global issues; respect for diversity and affirmation of difference; ability to find opportunities in problems, manage conflict and empower colleagues; and commitment to collaboration, partnership and social justice.