The University of Maryland School of Social Work (UM SSW) has a rich history of graduating social workers and professionals in the field who embody the ethics and character that the National Association of Social Work requires. The UM SSW Alumni Association, together with Dean Judy Postmus, are proud to acknowledge its graduates who have demonstrated exemplary service to the field of social work. Please see the criteria below for these awards:
Alumni Award Criteria:
Alumni of the Year Award: This award acknowledges and honors a UM SSW graduate who is making an outstanding professional contribution to the field of social work in the present and is well-known for her/his contributions to the larger community. The honoree exemplifies the best professional values and practices, has made demonstrable achievements in the practice of social work, and has made a positive impact/ difference in such practice areas as client advocacy, social policy, social work practices, case management, program development, social administration, research, academic instruction, community organizing, etc. The honoree regularly demonstrates leadership, innovation, and positive outcomes in his/her social work practice area.
Emeritus Award: This award acknowledges and honors a UM SSW graduate who has devoted her/his entire life to the social work profession and is perhaps retired or nearing retirement. The award recipient is recognized for having demonstrated the best social work values and accomplishments throughout the social worker’s lifetime career. Ideally, the honoree has made professional contributions of lasting impact and has demonstrated ongoing innovation, creativity, and passion for a practice area or population of concern to the social work profession.
Field Instructor of the Year Award: This award acknowledges and honors a UM SSW alum for their exemplary performance as a Field Instructor. The award recipient is recognized for their significant contribution to the advancement of field education through outstanding leadership, supervision of interns, and mentoring the next cohort of social work professionals. The recipient must be a current Field Instructor and fulfilled expectations outlined in the Field Education Manual.
Innovation in Social Work Award: This award acknowledges and honors a UMSSW graduate who has demonstrated creativity in developing and implementing a program, service, or intervention that addresses an unmet societal need, an existing gap in service, or provides a promising intervention (clinical, administrative, policy, advocacy). Demonstrated use of "best practices" by the nominee should be considered and referenced in the nomination.
Recent Graduate Award: This award acknowledges and honors a UM SSW graduate who has demonstrated significant accomplishments in her/his first eight years of post-MSW practice. In their short post-graduate time period, the honoree has already made important contributions to the field and has achieved substantial and note-worthy results/ positive impacts in a practice area or with a population of concern to the social work profession.
Student of the Year Award: This award acknowledges and honors a currently enrolled UM SSW student who is making a positive and significant contribution to the field of social work while serving in their first or second year of graduate school/ field placement. Specifically, the award seeks to recognize and honor any student whose efforts and involvement in the school of social work are assessed as being exemplary, (above and beyond the work of others), and demonstrative of the positive impacts and accomplishments the student is expected to make in their future social work career. The assessment of this student’s performance can be based on the student’s: current practice/ field work, volunteer engagements, extracurricular participation (i.e. student government, LSO, etc.), research assistance, advocacy on behalf of a population/ issue of concern to social work and/or community organizing work.