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Phyllis Black (1936 - )


Pioneering Contributions

Phyllis N. Black has been a pioneer in the fields of group work, ethics, and research.  Her early days as a social worker in Harlem and Baltimore modeled the power of group work.  Black’s work with the Council on Social Work Education Commission’s on Curriculum and Educational Innovation led to further growth and collaborative efforts in the field.


Black is recognized as a leader in the area of social work values and ethics, having authored two books on the topic.  Additionally, she designed and implemented the first required course in social work ethics in the country.  Her presentations and publications have addressed practice, research, and education in the areas of hospice, rural populations, and genetics.


Black has chaired CSWE’s Commission on Social Work Practice and the Ad Hoc Centennial Committee.  She was also a member of the Ad Hoc Task Force to Develop Strategies to Increase the Number of Underrepresented Faculty and Underrepresented Students in Social Work Education.  Her most well-known contribution to the field may have been her leadership in the development of CSWE’s 2008 Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards.  As Chair of the CSWE Commission on Curriculum and Educational Innovation, she oversaw the most significant shift in social work education policy since its inception, moving social work curricula from content-based to competency-based.  She was also one of the first advocates of student presenters at NASW conferences.


Career Highlights

Black is currently Full Professor and Director of the Lehigh Valley Program at Marywood University.  She has also taught at Chestnut Hill College in Pennsylvania and the Catholic University of American in Washington, DC.


Her affiliations include the Hastings Center for Biomedical Ethics, the Association for the Advancement of Social Group Work, the CSWE, and the Society for Social Work and Research.  She served on the editorial board of the journal Social Thought and the Journal of Education for Social Work.


Black has served as a consultant on ethics  to NASW; the Wissahickon Hospice at the University of Pennsylvania; John Hartford Foundation Geriatric Social Work Faculty Scholars Program; and the CSWE Commission on Accreditation.


Biographic Data

Black received her PhD in 1978 from the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC and her MSW in 1960 from McGill University in Montreal, Canada.  She received her BA from McGill University in 1958 in Psychology/Sociology. 


Significant Achievements and Awards

2009 Pennsylvania NASW PA Lifetime Achievement Award

2005 Outstanding Teacher of the Year, Marywood University

1994 NASW Pennsylvania Social Worker of the Year

1986 Outstanding Teacher of the Year, Chestnut Hill College

1976 Outstanding Teacher of the Year, Catholic University of America


Significant Publications

Phyllis N. Black has published hundreds of articles and made dozens of presentations.  They include:


Black, P.N., Kennedy-Hartley, E., Whelley, J., & Kirk-Sharp, C. (2010). Ethics curricula: A national survey of graduate schools of social work, published on line December 7, 2010. doi:10.1080/15426432.1989.10383680.


Congress, E. P., Black, P. N., & Strom-Gottfried, K. (2009). Teaching Social Work Values and Ethics: A Curriculum Resource (2nd edition).  Alexandria, VA: CSWE.

Gumpert, J., & Black, P.N. (2006).  Ethical issues in group work: What are they? How are they managed?, Social Work with Groups (29/4), 61-74.


Black, P.N, Jeffreys, D., & Kennedy Hartley, E. (1993). Personal history of psychosocial trauma in the early life of social work and business students, Journal of Social Work Education, Vol. 29, No. 2 (Spring/Summer 1993), pp. 171-180



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