NASW Foundation National Programs
NASW Social Work Pioneers®
Arthur J. Katz
Dr. Arthur Katz made outstanding contributions to social work as a practitioner, advocate, educator, author, consultant, administrator, teacher and Dean. The variety and combination of roles he has held in social work leadership positions is unique, significant, and worthy of note.
During World War II while in the U.S. Army Air Corps, (1942- 1946) as a Civil Affairs officer he administered development in northern Luzon (the Philippines) to meet the needs of the population after the Japanese occupation ended. This work included the creation of a job corps and food distribution programs. Following military service, he was a social worker with groups of emotionally disturbed adolescents in a residential setting (Hawthorne Cedar Knolls School).
In 1956, Dr. Katz became Dean of Adelphi University School of Social Work. In addition to all the necessary administrative challenges of building a school, Dr. Katz increased student enrollment five- fold (40 to 200 students). He went on to become the Executive Vice President of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America serving as the chief administrative officer including supervision of the radio and TV programs (Eternal Light) and the Jewish Museum.
In 1964 he joined the NYU School of Social Work faculty as an Associate Professor, teaching courses in the Social Welfare Policy area. In 1968 he became the Founding Dean of the University of Kansas, School of Social Welfare. During the next twelve years at the university, he enhanced and enlarged social work professional training in the state of Kansas and surrounding mid-west states. Among his accomplishments at Kansas were the design and development of a Doctoral program and the design, development, and administration of a Head Start training program for social service aides serving the entire mid-west region. In this capacity, Dr. Katz was instrumental in upgrading salaries for female faculty members to achieve parity with male professors. He also successfully recruited African American faculty equal to 20% of the total faculty and successfully supported their promotion and tenure. He developed an upward mobility program for social service aides to rise on a continuum to BSW and MSW degrees and designed and developed a Ph.D. program with a mental health focus. While at Kansas University, in the face of a conservative legislature, he was the highest ranking member of the University administration to take a public stand protesting the Vietnam War. He participated as a speaker at many university and community meetings.
Dr. Katz served as president of the National Association of Social Workers from 1977 – 1979. During his presidency, he pushed for increased professional recognition of social workers; promoted programs recognizing and serving specialty practice areas; worked toward an increase in the number of states with licensure bills; advocated for political issues of importance for social workers; and ushered in new structures and programs offered to members.
Dr. Katz served as the Chief Executive Officer of the Council on Social Work Education from 1980 – 1985. He gave leadership to strategic planning, program development, community relations, resource development and other administrative and leadership tasks. During his term as CEO, there was a major expansion of accredited BSW and MSW programs. He strongly supported the diversity focus of minority social work professional groups such as Association of Black Social Workers, La Raza, and Asian Americans in the efforts to strengthen their representation on governance bodies.
Later in his career, Dr. Katz served as director of Adelphi's Special and Off Campus programs and directed the New York City BSW program. Ninety percent of the students in that program were recruited from African American and Latino populations. His last full-time assignment was providing leadership in designing and implementing the doctoral program at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, thus making social work doctoral education accessible for Long Island's eastern counties. He retired from full time teaching in 1995.
Dr. Katz was graduated from City College of New York with a bachelor of science degree in sociology in 1947, from Columbia University with a master of science in social work in 1952 and a PhD from Columbia University in 1956.
In addition to his many teaching roles, Dr. Katz served as NASW representative to the National Institute of Mental Health, Chairperson of the Editorial Committee of the National Conference of Social Welfare, President of the Inter University Consortium on International Social Development, Senior Fulbright Lecturer at the University of Bologna in Italy. He was Chairperson of the Advisory Committee on the Council for International Exchange of Scholars (Fulbright); member of the Board of Directors, International Association of Schools of Social Work; U.S. Representative to the Permanent Council of the International Federation of Social Workers, and Senior Consultant on Resources Development for People with AIDS Coalition of Long Island., among many other consultancies.
Dr. Katz contributed to the professional literature through publications on peace and disarmament, social work curriculum and manpower issues, social indicators, community mental health, directions for social work practice, quality of service, and professionalism, the social work job market, direct practice, social work professional education and critical national social welfare policy issues. He is a member of Columbia University School of Social Work Alumni Hall of Fame.