NASW Foundation National Programs
NASW Social Work Pioneers®
Mildred Sikkema (1908 - 2005)
Mildred Sikkema was a pioneer in reforming the education of Hawaii’s students. She was an organizer of the annual Civic Forum on Public Schools which brought parents and other concerned citizens, business leaders, and legislators together with teachers and state education administrators to improve public schools. A path-breaking educator in cross-cultural learning, she worked in Hawaii and Asian countries helping to develop curricula and methods for schools of social work that reflected local culture.
Mildred Sikkema first arrived in Hawaii in 1943 to organize a mental health clinic at Queen’s Hospital and later worked in the former Department of Public Instruction as assistant director of the Division of Pupil Guidance. She then worked in New York as executive secretary of the National Association of Schools of Social Work and the Council on Social Work Education in the 1950’s. In the 1960’s, she returned to Hawaii where she joined the University of Hawaii faculty, retiring from the school of social work in 1973.
Sikkema then spent ten years in seven Asian countries. Her research and teaching were secured by a grant from the Federal government and the International Association of Social Workers. This sojourn included a visiting professorship at the University of Hong Kong, where she directed a cross-cultural learning project with University of Hawaii graduate students in social work.
Mildred Sikkema was born in 1908 in Garden Plain, Illinois. She earned her PhD from the University of Chicago in 1964. She received her MSS from the Smith College School of Social Work in 1939 and her BS from the University of Chicago in 1937.
Significant Achievements and Awards
Recognized by the Hawaiian Democratic Party as "Citizen Extraordinaire"
NASW Hawaii Chapter Social Worker of the Year 2005
Sikkema was the executive secretary for the National Association of Social Workers, New York Chapter.
Dotts, C. K., & Sikkema, M. (1994). Challenging the Status Quo: Public Education in Hawaii, 1840-1980. Hawaii Education Association.
Sikkema, M., & Niyekawa, A. (1987). Design for Cross-Cultural Learning. Yarmouth, ME: Intercultural Press, Inc.
Sikkema, M., & Niyekawa-Howard, A. M. (1977). Cross-Cultural Learning and Self-Growth: Getting to Know Ourselves and Others.
Sikkema, M. (1947). Observations on Japanese early child training. Psychiatry, 10(4), 423-432.