NASW Foundation National Programs
NASW Social Work Pioneers®
Frederick L. Ahearn, Jr.
For more than forty years, Dr. Frederick L. Ahearn, Jr. has been a social work educator and scholar who has clearly impacted the lives of countless students at all levels of social work education. His work has been of both national and international nature and has impacted many national and international social work practices, social policy, institutional building efforts and the structure of social work education throughout the world.
He developed academic linkages and partnerships with institutions from four continents; established social work graduate programs in countries undertaking socio-political changes; served communities affected by war and natural disasters; developed international social work curricula in several US universities; and published scholarship work on the area of migration, refugees and internally displaced people.
In the mid-eighties, Dr. Ahearn developed and taught a Master of Teaching in Social Work (MTSW) program in Chile of 16 schools of social work in the country. In early 2006, he joined the international efforts to design another Master’s program, this time in Mindano, Philippines. His joint, multi-disciplinary efforts led him to develop the Catholic University’s Center for International Social Development of which he is co-director. Dr. Ahearn also developed a range of international field placement programs at Catholic University, giving social work students an opportunity to work in Jerusalem, the Philippines, Tanzania, and El Salvador.
As a Professor of Social Work and also as a former Dean of the Catholic University of America National Catholic School of Social Science, he has taught numerous courses in Social Planning and International Social Work. His Social Planning course has been quite unique. Members of his class are formed into small working groups in response to specific requests from local agencies. The groups then engage each of these agencies in order to understand a specific need and then develop a grant application that addresses the need. This way, students learn a series of essential skills, and the agencies receive a valuable product.
Locally, Dr. Ahearn’s impact has been felt throughout the region based on his work with groups such as the Kingman Boys’ Club and the Spanish Catholic Center. However, the scope of his influence has truly been national in terms of service on Boards of Directors, such as NASW, Catholic Charities USA, The National Council on Aging, and the National Center for Social Policy and Practices. But once again, his work has also been acknowledged on an international level
Dr. Ahearn received an AB degree in philosophy from the Sacred Heart Seminary, his MSW from The Catholic University of America National Catholic School of Social Science and his doctorate from the Columbia University of Social Work.