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Barbara Wenstrom Shank, MSW, PhD

Pioneer Qualifications
Dr. Barbara Wenstrom Shank emerged as an early pioneer in developing the principles of BSW generalist practice, defining the nature of the BSW curriculum, and emphasizing the person in environment construct underpinning social work practice. She is an advocate for accreditation standards on all levels of social work education. As an educational leader, Dr. Shank has constantly explored innovations that will provide access to professional social work education, including out-reach programs in underserved rural areas and an innovative on-line doctoral program focused on teaching which has attracted students from many states.

Dr. Shank has made significant contributions to social work not only in her leadership as Dean of the School of Social Work at Saint Catherine University/University of Saint Thomas but thru her committee leadership in a wide range of social work organizations including NASW, the Council on Social Work Education, the International Association of Schools of Social Work, and the International Consortium of Social Development. Dr. Shank has supported excellence in the profession at the local, regional, national and international level.

For over four decades, Dr. Shank has successful negotiated the complex relationship between two affiliated institutions with distinct missions, cultures, academic structures and administrative systems. Although the School's social work faculty members are housed in both institutions, Dr. Shank has been able to ensure the students receive coherent and integrated undergraduate and graduate programs by offering them a rich experience, drawing on the facilities of both schools. The programs are well respected in the Upper Midwest and nationally. The programs offer access to social work programs through full, part-time, weekend and on-line formats.

Dr. Shank has continued to nurture the relationship between her university and the social work community, recognizing the importance of strong links with practitioners and agencies to the educational endeavor; a recognition exemplified by her commitment to NASW as a member and leader. She is the major institutional supporter of the annual NASW-Minnesota conference, expects her faculty to be NASW members and strongly encourages her faculty to participate actively in the organization. Her encouragement is exemplified by the number of SCU/UST faculty, current students and graduates who participate regularly at the annual conference as presenters. Dr. Shank encourages and supports her faculty and students to assume elected or appointed positions in NASW.

Career Highlights
Dr. Shank received her MSW from University of Minnesota in 1973 and her PhD from same in 1993. She began her career as a family court counselor and community corrections worker in St. Paul and eventually became chair and dean of the Social Work Department at the University of St. Thomas and the College of St Catherine in St. Paul. She has been a committee leader in NASW, CSWE, the International Association of Schools of Social Work, and the International Consortium of Social Development. Dr. Shank is the major institutional supporter of the annual NASW-Minnesota conference. She is well recognized as a skilled administrator, educational innovator, and social work advocate and has made multiple professional presentations and received prestigious awards for her work.

As an educational leader, Dr. Shank has explored innovations that will provide access to professional social work education, including pioneering efforts in defining and implementing generalist social work education and practice at the baccalaureate level. She has spearheaded weekend and part-time evening programs, established out-reach programs in underserved rural areas of the state, and demonstrated her willingness to institute an innovative hybrid on-line doctoral program focused on teaching. The doctoral program, now in its second year, has attracted students from Alaska to California to Kentucky to Minnesota.

Dr. Shank works closely with her faculty to develop and hone their skills in teaching and research and created a series of professional development institutes as a venue supporting faculty research interests and publications. The institutes provide low-cost access to professional development seminars in a variety of fields of study. She inspires by her own actions and her wide world view that recognizes social work's role in advocating for human rights and social development on the national and international stage.

Biographical Data
A Minnesota native, Dr. Shank received her bachelor's degree from Macalester College in St. Paul, her MSW from the University of Minnesota in 1973 and her PhD from the University of Minnesota in 1993. In addition to her academic work, Dr. Shank worked as a family court counselor with the Ramsey County Department of Community Corrections Domestic Relations Division and as a social worker with the mental health unit of the Community-University Health Care Center in Minnespolis.

Significant Achievements and Awards
Among her many commendations, Dr. Shank was recipient of: the Social Worker of the Year Award for the State of Minnesota by the National Association of Social Workers, Minnesota Chapter (1993); the Distinguished Citizen Citation, Macalester College (2000); the Presidential Award, Association of Baccalaureate Program Directors (2008). She was named as the 125 Most Interesting and Influential People in the 125 Years of the University of St. Thomas (2009). She was asked to give the commencement address at the Graduate College of St. Catherine University, Five Rules for Commencing a Professional Career, May 23, 2014

Significant Publications
Dr. Shank has published numerous articles and book chapters throughout her career. A few recent examples follow: M.A. Brenden and Barbara W. Shank. "Social Work for Social Justice: Strengthening Social Work Education through the Integration of Catholic Social Teaching." Social Work & Christianity, Vol. 39, No. 2, Summer 2012, North American Association of Christians in Social Work, Sandy Hook, CT.
M. A. Brenden and Barbara W. Shank. "Social Work for Social Justice: Extending Our Professional Commitment to Justice." Baccalaureate Program Directors Update Online, Spring 2008
Barbara W. Shank. "The Call to Justice: Social Work in Catholic Higher Education". Social Work & Christianity, Spring. 2007.

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