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NASW Social Work Pioneers®

 

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Alex J. Norman, DSW, MSW

 

Specific Pioneer Qualifications
Known for his ground-breaking research on cross-cultural studies in family planning as well as inter-ethnic conflict resolution, UCLA professor Norman has created social work models with long-term, state, national and international impacts.

Among his pioneering contributions, Norman's research was ground-breaking: for example, researching a series of studies on family planning and use of contraceptives with regard to the sexual behaviors of young men of color. This study led to the publication of the first cross-cultural study in family planning (Health and Social Work, 1978) and to a seminal report of a cross-cultural experimental study of four family sites of the Los Angeles Regional Family Planning Council.

For ten years, Norman researched group work techniques in resolving inter-ethnic conflict. This began with an Arab-Jewish dialogue and later included Black-Korean and Latino-Black relations. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) asked him to conduct research on an empowerment model for organizing Asian and Pacific Island communities which was published by the Human Interaction Research Institute.

Norman is also known for his advanced research with the L.A. Police Department on new roles for police psychologists (1999), and for training law enforcement personnel in Community-Oriented Policing Services (2004, 2006).

Career Highlights
As a professor at UCLA's School of Social Welfare, Norman used his experience as a tool in the classroom. He taught theory and practice by using real-life examples of his work as a community organizer with diverse populations, often during periods of chaotic protest and unrest in inner city environments. The course he taught on race and human relations under the heading of "Social Change" led to follow-up studies on changes affecting the African American community published in the Black Scholar Journal of Black Studies and Social Research (1976-1977) and led to Trans-Atlantic policy work in establishing strong international links with members of Africa Diaspora (1990), an initiative to organize Europeans of Color into policy development for the European Commission.

Norman's expertise was requested outside of the United States as well, where he helped produce comparative case studies for police agencies in the U.K., especially in the Avon-Bristol Constabulary and the London Metropolitan Police (2006). Norman conducted inventive work there in Community-Economic Development (1993) where he combined lectures on history, social agency structure, governance, organizational behavior, strategic planning, team-building, and managing change for human resource development.

In Long Beach, California, Norman recently co-authored a State of Black Long Beach Report, which was used as a basis for funding by the California Endowment's Building Healthy Communities initiative in the African American Community. Another recent report, on Ethnic Disparities and Inequality in Long Beach, (2014), served as the foundation for the newly elected Mayor's planning for the first year of his administration. Norman co-founded Rethinking Greater Long Beach, the community-based think tank that conducted the study. A forthcoming publication on a Socio-economic Atlas for Long Beach, is scheduled for mass distribution in October 2015.

Biographical Data
Norman earned his bachelor's degree from Morris Brown College in Sociology and Business Administration; his MSW from Atlanta University; and his DSW from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in Social Welfare.

Signature Achievements and Awards
Inducted into the California Social Welfare Archives' Hall of Distinction, Norman was also given the Sylvia Leventhal Community Service Award by the Association of Community Organizers and the John Anson Ford Award by the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commissions. Other organizations have recognized his volunteer work with citations and awards.

Signature Publications
Norman's publications have been extensive, including eight chapters in books, journal articles, book reviews, research and evaluation studies, projects and public policy reports, such as: "The Use of the Group and Group Work Techniques in Resolving Inter-ethnic Conflict"; "Building Teams for Effectiveness in Public School Service Organizations"; "Multicultural Issues in Collaboration: Some Implications for Multi-rater Evaluation."

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