SSW News

Maryland's Carlton-LaNey Named NC Social Worker of the Year

February 14, 2018    |  

1982 PhD Alum Iris Carlton-Laney Named The National Association of Social Workers North Carolina Chapter's Social Worker of the Year

Iris Carlton Laney Fullsize

The National Association of Social Workers North Carolina Chapter (NASW-NC) has named Iris Carlton-LaNey the 2018 Social Worker of the Year.

The NASW-NC Social Worker of the Year Award is an annual award given to a social work professional who has demonstrated commendable social work practice and involvement with NASW and other professional, civic, and community organizations.

For over 40 years, Dr. Iris Carlton-LaNey has taught in social work programs in three North Carolina universities: The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, North Carolina A&T State University, and currently as the Berg-Beach Distinguished Professor of Community Social Work at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has made a career of educating and mentoring the next generation of social workers and challenging students to think critically about oppression, institutionalized racism, microaggressions, racism and privilege.

According to Gary Bowen, Dean and Kenan Distinguished Professor at UNC School of Social Work, “Dr. Carlton-LaNey is a nationally renowned scholar in working to promote social and racial justice in North Carolina and beyond. Over the course of her lengthy and luminous career, her scholarly and practice efforts have made an enormous impact on both professional and client communities—both directly and indirectly through the work of the thousands of students she has taught.”

Over the course of her career, Dr. Carlton-LaNey has published four books, in addition to chapters and articles relating to African-American aging, social work in the American South, African-American breast cancer survivors, and training African-American social workers, among many other topics of relevance. She is a nationally recognized scholar whose work has impacted professionals and communities as well as the students she has taught.

Dr. Carlton-LaNey was recently appointed by Governor Roy Cooper to serve on the North Carolina Social Services Commission.

Dr. Carlton-LaNey has received numerous accolades and awards for her professional contributions, including the Hortense K. McClinton Outstanding Faculty Staff Award presented by the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill Black Alumni Association, one of 50 Heroes for Justice selected by the University of Maryland School of Social Work, and Dr. Carlton-LaNey was selected as a NASW Social Work Pioneer in 2015, the profession’s highest honor.

Dr. Iris Carlton-LaNey will be honored as Social Worker of the Year at the NASW-NC Annual Ethics Conference and Awards Luncheon at the Durham Convention Center on March 23, 2018.

*Photo by Steve Jamroz, courtesy of the UNC General Alumni Association.

The National Association of Social Workers North Carolina Chapter (NASW-NC) is a membership organization that promotes, develops, and protects the practice of social work and social workers. NASW-NC also seeks to enhance the effective functioning and wellbeing of individuals, families and communities through its work and advocacy.

Contact: Valerie Arendt, Associate Executive Director, 919-828-9650,