NASW Pioneers Biography Index


The National Association of Social Workers Foundation is pleased to present the NASW Social Work Pioneers®. NASW Pioneers are social workers who have explored new territories and built outposts for human services on many frontiers. Some are well known, while others are less famous outside their immediate colleagues, and the region where they live and work. But each one has made an important contribution to the social work profession, and to social policies through service, teaching, writing, research, program development, administration, or legislation.

All of these social workers are honored in the NASW Pioneer Room at the National Office in Washington, D.C. The NASW Pioneers have paved the way for thousands of other social workers to contribute to the betterment of the human condition; and they are are role models for future generations of social workers. The NASW Foundation has made every effort to provide accurate Pioneer biographies.  Please contact us at naswfoundation@socialworkers.org to provide missing information, or to correct inaccurate information. It is very important to us to correctly tell these important stories and preserve our history.  Please note, an asterisk attached to a name reflects Pioneers who have passed away. All NASW Social Work Pioneers® Bios are Copyright © 2018 National Association of Social Workers Foundation. All Rights Reserved.
    
Skip Navigation Links
William Meezan Photo
William Meezan* (1947-2016)

Pioneering Contributions

William Meezan's contributions to child welfare and social work education improved the lives of children nationwide through his involvement with social agencies, foundations, schools of social work, national organizations, and the Federal Government. From 2010-2012 he left academia to become the Director of Policy and Research at Children's Rights in New York City, where he assisted this public law firm in its advocacy efforts to reform the child welfare systems in a number of states. His commitment to scholarship and research was complimented by his leadership in the social work community, especially in advocating for childrens rights and in the exploration of issues faced by LGBT families.

Dr. Meezan co-authored four books on child welfare, and co-edited six other volumes including the only book dedicated to research methodology with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people.From 2010-2012 he left academia to become the Director of Policy and Research at Children’s Rights in New York City, where he assisted this public law firm in its advocacy efforts to reform the child welfare systems in a number of states. His commitment to scholarship and research is complimented by his leadership in the social work community, especially in advocating for children’s rights and in the exploration of issues faced by LGBT families. 

Professional Career

Dr. Meezan began his career in social work in a residential facility for emotionally disturbed boys and their families located in Dobbs Ferry, New York. Within a few years, he took an interest in child welfare research, and in 1974 began teaching at the undergraduate and graduate levels while conducting studies at the New School for Social Research and the Child Welfare League of America, where he directed a national study of independent adoptions. By 1978, his expertise had been acknowledged by the Federal Government and other agencies, and he was hired as a consultant, and was soon invited to join the faculty at the Jane Addams College of Social Work, University of Illinois at Chicago.

Dr. Meezan held positions as Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, Professor, and Director of the PhD Program during his time in Chicago. After 10 years, he moved to the School of Social Work at the University of Southern California (USC), where he was the John Milner Professor of Child Welfare. While working at USC, he also worked in the Baltic States, helping to create the first social work programs in Lithuania and Latvia. In 1999, he joined the faculty at University of Michigan's School of Social Work in Ann Arbor, as the inaugural holder of the Marion Elizabeth Blue Chair in Children and Family Services. In 2005, he became Dean of Ohio State University School of Social Work.  

In addition to his books and edited volumes, Dr. Meezan has written more than 50 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters related to child welfare. He has served on the Boards of various groups including the Institute for the Advancement of Social Work Research (President), the Society for Social Work Research (Secretary and Treasurer), the Group for the Advancement of Doctoral Education (Secretary), the ANSWER Coalition, and the National Publications Committee of the National Association of Social Workers (Chair). He served in editorial roles for 11 journals including Social Work, Social Work Research, Children and Youth Services Review, and Journal of Gay and Lesbian Social Services. He is the inaugural Mary Ann Quaranta Professor of Social Justice for Children at the Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service in New York, New York.

Background 

Dr. Meezan grew up in the University Heights area of the Bronx, New York. His parents, both socialists during the 1930s, were instrumental to his developing a sense of how the world can become a better place if people are willing to be responsible for the wellbeing of one another. He earned his BA Degree at the University of Vermont, his MSW Degree at Florida State University, and his PhD at Columbia University, where his dissertation was concerned with child welfare decision-making. 

Significant Achievements and Awards

Dr. Meezan received numerous awards, fellowships, and grants for research throughout his dynamic career. In 1997, he received an honorary degree from the Higher School of Social Work and Social Pedagogics "Attistiba," Riga, Latvia. Five years later Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas, Lithuania recognized his contribution to its social work program. In 2000, Dr. Meezan received the Outstanding Research Award from the Society for Social Work and Research. In 2005, he was inducted in to the Columbia University School of Social Work Hall of Fame.

The National Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi inducted him in 2007. In 2009, he received a Leadership Recognition Award from the Institute for the Advancement of Social Work Research and the Pro Humanitate Literary Award/ 2009 Herbert A. Raskin Child Welfare Article Award from the Institute for Human Services/Center for Child Welfare Policy of the North American Resource Center for Child Welfare. In 2013 the University of Vermont granted him the honorary degree Doctor of Humane Letters, honaris causa.

Significant Publications

  • Meezan, W. & Martin, J.  (2009). Handbook of Research with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Populations. New York: Routledge. 
  • Meezan, W. & Martin, J. (2003).  Research Methods with Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Populations. Binghamton, New York: Harrington Park Press. (Published simultaneously as an extended double issue of the Journal of Gay and Lesbian Social Services, 15 (1/2)). 
  • McCroskey, J. & Meezan, W. (1997).  Family Preservation and Family Functioning. Washington, D.C.: CWLA Press.
  • Pecora, P., Fraser, M., Nelson, K., McCroskey, J. & Meezan, W. (1995).  Evaluating Family-Based Services. New York: Aldine de Gruyter.
  • Meezan, W. & Shireman, J. (1985). Care and Commitment: Foster Parent Adoption Decisions. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.
  • Meezan, W., Katz, S. & Russo, E. M. (1978). Adoptions Without Agencies: A Study of Independent Adoptions. New York: Child Welfare League of America.
  • McGowan, B. & Meezan, W. (1983). Child Welfare: Current Dilemmas-Future Directions. Itasca, IL: F.E. Peacock Publishers.

Sources

  • Stoelker, Tom.  (2013).  “New Quaranta Chair Seeks Justice for Society’s Most Vulnerable Children," located on the Fordham University website.

NASW Social Work Pioneer - 2013




Newly Inducted NASW Social Work Pioneer Hortense McClinton 2015

Nominate A New NASW Pioneer

Completed NASW Pioneer nominations can be submitted throughout the year and are reviewed at the December Pioneer Steering Committee Meeting. To be considered at the December meeting, submit your nomination package by November 1. To learn more, visit our Pioneer nomination guidelines.