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Herbert Bisno
(1922 – 2006)


Pioneering Contributions


Herbert Bisno was a nationally and internationally influential educator  in the fields of sociology and social work, and always a staunch defender of personal freedom and social justice.  He acted with principled courage in 1950, refusing to sign and support the ''Levering Act," a law enacted by California in 1950 and aimed particularly at employees of the University of California. It required state employees to subscribe to a loyalty oath that specifically disavowed radical beliefs, including support of or membership in the Communist Party (. Bisno’s stand at this point in U.S. history was remarkable given that the vast majority of professors and state employees signed the oath.  Bisno was one of a very few instructors who refused to sign and, as a result, lost his job at San Francisco State University.   He left to teach for many years at the University of Oregon.  The Levering Act was eventually declared unconstitutional in 1967.


Career Highlights


Bisno was chairman of the School of Community Service Programs at the Lila Acheson Wallace School of Community and Public Affairs and Professor of Sociology at the University of Oregon from 1952 to 1969. While there, Bisno addressed community organizations including the local League of Women Voters.  At that meeting, he spoke out about the need for social change in many countries “blazing with resentment” against western capitalism.  (Google Newspaper)


Bisno was Dean at the Kent School of Social Work at the University of Louisville, Kentucky from 1971 to 1975. and was appointed Professor and Chair of the Department of Social Work at La Trobe University in Australia in 1975.  The department was a new one at the university. 

 Bisno taught in New York and California as well. 


Biographic Data


Bisno received his MSW from the University of California at Berkeley in 1951, with a specialization in community organizing.  He received his BA in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin in 1946.


Significant Achievements and Awards


1969: Awarded a visiting professorship to Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey.

1960: Bisno presented a paper on the use of social science content in social work education to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) meeting in Paris.


Significant Publications


Bisno, H. (1960). A theoretical framework for teaching social work methods and skills, with particular reference to undergraduate social welfare education. Journal of Education for Social Work, 5(2), 5-17.   doi: 10.1080/00220612.1969.10671820


Bisno, H. (1956). How social will social work be?  Social Work, 1(2), 12-18. doi: 10.1093/sw/1.2.12


Bisno, H. (1952). The Philosophy of Social Work.   Washington: Public Affairs Press.



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