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Julia "Judy" M. Norlin


Pioneering Contributions: Judy Norlin has provided innovative and far-sighted leadership to the major organizations in social work education, to the University of Oklahoma School of Social Work, and to the Norman, OK community. In her leadership capacity, she consistently found constructive and profession-enhancing ways forward through difficult and often contentious circumstances. While president of the Association of Baccalaureate Social Work Program Directors (BPD), she was a key player in the emergency Working Party responding to the financial crisis that threatened to submerge the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) at the time. She served as President of CSWE as the organization re-established its financial and organizational footing, finding bridging opportunities and re-establishing working relationships and trust to hold together the critical partnership among social work education groups. As a commissioner and then chair of the Commission on Accreditation for CSWE, she orchestrated the development and approval of a new standard on Human Diversity and Non-Discrimination.  When a component of that standard concerning non-discrimination in a school's admission of LGBT students was threatened with a legal challenge, Norlin led CSWE's response and eventual resolution of the law suit threat, preserving the integrity of the standard.

Career Highlights


From 1969-1972, Norlin served as a participant in the NASW-NIMH Leadership Training Program (LTP).  This experience shaped her entire career because of the colleagues and mentors with whom she developed life-long relationships as well as the leadership development and professional skills development resulting from her participation. 


Six hours following the April 19, 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, Norlin was asked by the Salvation Army to assist with immediate disaster relief services.  Under her leadership, the School of Social Work in conjunction with the NASW-Oklahoma Chapter provided a minimum of 30 disaster-trained, professional volunteers.  They provided assistance every day for five weeks.  She spearheaded the screening, training, scheduling and supervising of volunteers.  The team developed a resource manual and handbook specific for the disaster and debriefed volunteers and Army volunteers.  The school also provided faculty and student back-up teams to area hospitals, provided debriefing to students, assisted with special counseling and events and were available during the Timothy McVeigh trial.


Norlin is professor emerita and former director of the University of Oklahoma’s School of Social Work, where she also served as chair of the undergraduate Social Work Program for 13 years.  She was instrumental in achieving licensure in the state, founded the School's Board of Visitors, and consulted on the establishment of other state baccalaureate social work programs. 

She was a psychiatric social worker from 1960 until 1970.

Norlin has been an active member of NASW since 1960. She has also held the ACSW credential from 1969-present.  Among the committees on which she has served are: Women’s Issues Committee (NASW-OK); Chair of the Professional Standards Committee (NASW-OK); Vice President of Western Chapter of NASW, 1973 and NASW Board of Directors from 1976-1978.  Norlin also served on the International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW) in a number of capacities, including the board of directors from 1989 – 1992, the Nominating Committee from 1990-1992 and Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee from 1991-1992. She has held a variety of leadership roles in BPD and the National Association of Deans and Directors of Schools of Social Work (NADD). 

Norlin has served as a curriculum and accreditation consultant to more than 50 universities and colleges.

Biographic Data


Julia Norlin earned her PhD from the University of Oklahoma in 1979.  She received her MSW from the same university in 1963 and her BA in 1961.

Significant Achievements and Awards


2008: President’s Medal of Honor and Outstanding Leadership Medal of Honor, Association of Baccalaureate Social Work Program Directors

1997: CSWE, Commission on Accreditation Award of Appreciation

1992: CSWE, Board of Directors Award of Appreciation

1986 and 1980: Oklahoma Health and Welfare Association Distinguished Service Award

1968: Outstanding Young Woman for the state of Oklahoma

Significant Publications


Julia Norlin has published and presented extensively.  Some of her work includes:

Chess, Wayne A., & Norlin, Julia M. Human Behavior and the Social Environment: Social Systems Theory, 3rd edition.  Prentice Hall, 1996.  


Austin, M. & Norlin, J. (1995). Acquiring and distributing resources in schools of social work.  In F. Raymond, et al. (eds.), The Administration of Social Work Education Programs: The roles of Deans and Directors. 


Chess, W., Jayaratne, S. & Norlin, J. (1987). Social work administration 1981-1985: Alive, happy and prospering. Administration’s Social Work 11(2).


Jayaratne, S., Chess, W., Norlin, J. & Bryan J. (1980). Self esteem and locus of control among American Indian, black and white AFDC recipients.  Journal of Social Services Research 3(3).






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