NASW Pioneers Biography Index

The National Association of Social Workers Foundation is pleased to present the NASW Social Work Pioneers®. NASW Pioneers are social workers who have explored new territories and built outposts for human services on many frontiers. Some are well known, while others are less famous outside their immediate colleagues, and the region where they live and work. But each one has made an important contribution to the social work profession, and to social policies through service, teaching, writing, research, program development, administration, or legislation.

The NASW Pioneers have paved the way for thousands of other social workers to contribute to the betterment of the human condition; and they are are role models for future generations of social workers. The NASW Foundation has made every effort to provide accurate Pioneer biographies.  Please contact us at to provide missing information, or to correct inaccurate information. It is very important to us to correctly tell these important stories and preserve our history.  

Please note, an asterisk attached to a name reflects Pioneers who have passed away. All NASW Social Work Pioneers® Bios are Copyright © 2021 National Association of Social Workers Foundation. All Rights Reserved.

Skip Navigation Links
Alfred Kadushin Photo
Alfred Kadushin* (1916-2014)

Alfred Kadushin, PhD, began in social work as a caseworker in New York City (1947-1950), and then moved to teach at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Social Work, where he established a career that spanned more than 60 years. The Julia C. Lathrop Distinguished Professor of Social Work, Professor Kadushin played significant pioneering roles in the development of the knowledge base for social work and child welfare practice, policy, education and research, and in its world-wide dissemination. 

Over his professional lifetime, Professor Alfred Kadushin made pioneering and lasting contributions on a broad scale as a social work educator, social work scholar, and invested participant with professional associations concerned with human services delivery. His exceptional work beginning in 1950 included these:  

  1. revered social work teaching at the UW-Madison School of Social Work and at other Universities in the U.S. and other nations;
  2. extensive and meticulous scholarship disseminated in professional journals, in major textbooks which have been regularly updated and often translated into other languages; in judicious entries in the NASW Encyclopedia of Social Work and NASW reviews of research; and in other educational materials;
  3. extensive presentation of speeches and workshops in the US and abroad for professional and scholarly programs; and,
  4. influential participation on national committees of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA), the US Health and Human Services Child Welfare Grants and Program Review Committee, and on the editorial boards of major professional journals.

Professor Kadushin was the recipient of prestigious awards and nominations in recognition of his contributions over the years. He was the second of only five social workers to be awarded a fellowship at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences, Palo Alto, California (1973-1974). He was the first faculty member of the School of Social Work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison to be awarded a Distinguished Professorship by the Regents of the University the Julia C. Lathrop Distinguished Professorship (1979). He was elected in 1983 as a Distinguished Scientist Associate in Social Work to the National Academies of Practice, the counterpart of the National Academy of Science established by Congress for the professions. He was the recipient of NASW's Lifetime Achievement Award in 1993. In 2003, he was one of 51 social workers selected nationally for inclusion by CSWE in its monograph, Celebrating Social Work. Faces and Voices of the Formative Years.

Professor Kadushin, made significant contributions as social work educator and social work scholar in multiple arenas, at multiple levels, and with multiple institutions, and was an influential participant within professional and scholarly associations. As a social work educator, Professor Kadushin taught social work courses at the Baccalaureate, Master's degree and PhD levels as Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, full Professor, and Emeritus Professor at the School of Social Work, University of Wisconsin from 1950 to 1990. He was legendary among his students at all levels for the two huge leather cases of scholarly texts he routinely carried to class, in order to pursue a question or support a point, and he inspired many to be compassionate and critically-thinking professionals. Alumni contacted by the School often mention Professor Kadushin in particular as an important influence. He was also instrumental in obtaining federal grants for social work training in child protective services and child welfare at the School and he chaired or was a member of some 20 doctoral committees for candidates pursuing social work research.

A gifted speaker with any audience, Professor Kadushin also taught a 32 hour videotaped course on child welfare services, for use as in-service education of public welfare staff throughout Wisconsin. His unpublished lectures and videotaped presentations have been collected and transcribed for access through the UW-Madison Virginia Franks Library as of 2008 -- Alfred Kadushin on Social Work: Selected Materials 1959-1997 and The Use of Humor in Social Work Practice (1988).

Around the US and Canada, Professor Kadushin taught social work classes in summer sessions and institutes at Columbia University School of Social Work (1964); at Tulane University School of Social Work (1965); at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration (1967); as a visiting professor at the School of Social Work, San Diego State College (1969-1970); and at McGill University School of Social Work (1972).

He taught at schools of social work abroad -- at the Groningeen School of Social Work, The Netherlands, as senior Fulbright Lecturer (1957-1958); at the Paul Baerwald School of Social Work, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel (1960-1961); at the Tel Aviv University School of Social Work, Tel Aviv, Israel (1981); and at Melbourne University and LaTrobe University, Melbourne, Australia. (1987). The School of Social Work's Virginia Franks Library has continued to receive visits over the years from international scholars, students and professionals interested in access to Professor Kadushin's work.

A highly-respected contributor to social work's knowledge base, Professor Kadushin authored some 66 articles published in journals of social work and allied professions: Social Work, Social Case Work, Smith College Studies in Social Work Social Service Review, Child Welfare, Journal of Jewish Communal Service, Journal of Clinical Supervision, American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, Children Today, Journal of Counseling Psychology, Personnel and Guidance Journal, Journal of Education for Social Work, Mental Hygiene, and others.

He was the author of six major books addressing in depth central concerns in the social work profession-- Child Welfare Services, The Social Work Interview, Supervision in Social Work, Social Work Consultation, Adopting Older Children (1970), and Child Abuse -- An Interactional Event (with J. Martin, 1981). Three of these texts have regularly and meticulously been updated, and several have been translated into other languages for use around the world. Child Welfare Services has four editions, 1967, 1974, 1980, and 1988 (with J. Martin). Professor Kadushin's conceptual framework for child welfare services in this text was used by the framers of Public Law 96-272, the federal Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980 as a basis for permanency planning legislation. The Social Work Interview --1972, 1983, 1990, and 1997 (with G. Kadushin)– was translated into Spanish, Dutch and Italian. Supervision in Social Work likewise has four editions, 1976,1985, 1992 and 2002 (with D. Harkness); it has been translated into Korean and Chinese and a South Asian reprint edition has been published in New Delhi, India. Social Work Consultation, 1973, was translated into Dutch. Child Abuse -- an Interactional Event, 1981 (with J. Martin), was translated into Spanish. Professor Kadushin also edited two readers, Examples in Social Work Research, 1970 (with Lester Jaffe), and Child Welfare Service -- A Source Book, 1970.

Professor Kadushin wrote the entries on Adoption and Foster Care for the 1971 and 1977 editions of the NASW Encyclopedia of Social Work and on Child Welfare for its 18th edition (1986). He wrote the research reviews on Foster Care and Adoption for the 1971 and 1978 editions of NASW's Reviews of Research: Five Fields of Social Work Practice.

Professor Kadushin served on national professional committees centrally important to social work – NASW, CSWE, CWLA, and the US child welfare research review committee. He was a member of the NASW Committee on Competence, which established the qualifying exam for admission to the Academy of Certified Social Workers (ACSW). He also served on NASW's national Commission on Practice. He served in several capacities on CSWE, as a member of its Board of Directors, a member of the Executive Committee, and Chair of the Curriculum Committee. As a member of the CWLA, he served on its Research Advisory Committee. Professor Kadushin also served for five years as a member of the US Human Services Child Welfare Research Grants and Demonstration Program Review Committee.

Newly Inducted NASW Social Work Pioneer Hortense McClinton 2015

Nominate A New NASW Pioneer

Please note, Pioneer nominations made between today’s date through March 31, 2023, will not be reviewed until spring 2023.

Completed NASW Pioneer nominations can be submitted throughout the year and are reviewed at the June Pioneer Steering Committee Meeting. To be considered at the June meeting, submit your nomination package by March 31. To learn more, visit our Pioneer nomination guidelines.

New Pioneers 

Congratulations newly elected Pioneers!  Pioneers will be inducted at the 2023  Annual Program and Luncheon. Full biographies and event details coming soon.