School of Social Work

CADD History

Brief history of the California Association of Deans and Directors of Social Work (CADD)

February 2010

California has had an exceptional history of leadership from deans and directors of social work, beginning in the latter half of the 20th century.  California Association of Dean and Directors of Schools of Social Work (CADD) has been one important expression of an organized desire for mutual problem solving, support, and heightened visibility in education and government.

The CADD or some facsimile of it has been in existence for almost 50 years.  In the 1960’s, some of the strongest deans of social work in the country were located in California, and they often met informally to discuss matters of interest affecting social work at the state and national level.  Harry Specht at University of California, Berkeley was the most active in promoting these statewide relationships. Prior to 1960, there were only three schools of social work in California: the School of Social Welfare at Berkeley; the School of Social Welfare, UCLA; and the School of Social Work at the University of Southern California.  In the early 1960’s, special efforts on the part of the Governor, with legislative support, resulted in the creation of five additional schools of social work in the California State University system – Fresno, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, and San Jose.  With this increase in number of programs, the Deans began meeting on a regular basis.

At the onset of the 1980’s, there was increasing dissatisfaction among deans nationally with the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), and in 1986, the National Association of Deans and Directors (NADD)was formed.  It was expected that NADD would more effectively represent the interests of social work leadership in graduate programs and research universities and provide input to CSWE policies and perspectives.  The California delegation to NADD, led by Harry Specht, was perhaps one of the most vocal and influential, and relationships among the California deans and directors grew increasingly close-knit.  The “California deans,” as they were sometimes referred to in NADD meetings, often voted together on contentious questions and constituted a voice that few could ignore.

The most formative moments in the development of CADD occurred in the late 1980's, in conjunction with formation of the California Social Work Education Center (CalSWEC).  CalSWEC was founded in 1989 as a coalition of the county departments of the California Department of Social Services, the California Chapter of NASW, and all master's degree schools of social work/social welfare in the state.  Although early project included efforts in mental health, school social work, and aging, child welfare through Title IV-E funding captured the focus of CalSWEC's attention in its first decade.  When foundation support which had been instrumental in supporting the early infrastructure of CalSWEC disappeared in 1999-2000, the organization lacked resources for anything other than child welfare.  CADD was from the very beginning defined as a separate group with its own agenda, but in matter of fact, it too became absorbed with child welfare.  It has been important from time to time since its inception to pull back and reaffirm its broader focus and responsibility. 

By 1990, the growing number of issues relating to social work education in California necessitated further formalization of CADD processes for selection of leadership, ratification of decisions, and financial support. By-laws were adopted, and CADD became a dues-paying membership group representing schools of social work in the state.  Dr. Harry Specht was elected as the first President of the association.  He subsequently stepped down to become the first Chair of CALSWEC.  Dr. Anita Harbert, Director of the School of Social Work at San Diego State University was then chosen as the second President of CADD.  She was recognized as one of the most highly knowledgeable consultants in the country on CSWE educational policies and enjoyed strong, positive relationships with Deans and Directors throughout California.

During Dr. Harbert's tenure as President, CADD continued to expand in membership, with CalState Long Beach, CalState San Bernardino, and CalState LA the next additions.  The group remained comparatively small, however, with relatively long-serving deans and directors and a sense of continuity among members.  Some - like Dean Rino Patti from USC - were founding members of NADD, and brought a national perspective and national issues to the association.  Others, like the then new Dean at UC-Berkeley, Jim Midgley, had strong relationships with the California legislature.  James Kelly (now a university president as of 2011) had a strong understanding of higher education politics in California and was founder of two CalState programs. 

It was also clear by 1998 that California lagged New York and Illinois in the number of MSW and PhD's produced.  This was at a time of rapid expansion in the state's economy and demand for services.  A series of reports were produced by the University of California-Berkeley addressing the social worker shortage in California, concluding that the number of graduates in 2001 (1800) was insufficient to meet the needs of the State.  This led to an inquiry by the State Legislature about labor force demand, current enrollment, effectiveness of California's training and licensing system, the value of generalist education, emerging trends in social work, and recommendations for improvement of the California system.  These issues, along with a perceived need in CalSWEC for a better concept of workforce development, became primary topics of discussion and action for NADD over the next 5 years. At the same time, CADD began to promote California schools through receptions at national events, instituted a practice of dining together at least once at conferences, and engaged actively with the Board of Behavioral Sciences on behalf of social work education, among other matters.  The practice of voting as a bloc in NADD meetings gradually disappeared, however.

Dr. Marilyn Flynn, Dean at the University of Southern California, followed Dr. Harbert’s long and successful leadership of CADD.  By-laws were again revised to ensure regular transitions in leadership, with a general understanding that selection of officers would rotate between "north" and "south" in the state.  This decision was taken to ensure fuller representation and to distribute the burden of CADD administrative costs, which were slowly growing with the size of the group.  It was agreed that a work-study student or assistant would be supported by the organization if funds allowed.

In response to debates within the California State Assembly and the California Board of Behavioral Sciences regarding the requirements for clinical preparation of social workers, CADD convened a meeting at USC of all practice faculty teaching clinical content in the state.  Syllabi from were compared, discussed, and a report prepared demonstrating the range, consistency and depth of clinical preparation in MSW programs.

Within CADD itself, there were internal challenges.  As new schools of social work were created in the state and sought CSWE accreditation, CADD had to decide at what point prior to full accreditation a new program might be defined as a member.  Another long-standing issue was the relationship of CADD to accredited undergraduate programs in private institutions.  They were at that point unable to pay membership dues or incur the expenses associated with travel to CADD meetings.    

A major commitment was made by USC and California State – Long Beach to establish a website for CADD.  The goals were to aid in recruitment of faculty - a significant challenge for the newest schools; provide available information on student characteristics for the legislature or other policy bodies; open a means of recording events of interest to CADD membership; and to build community.  Enrollment data were collected from across the state, initially mounted at USC, and then transferred to CalState Long Beach, where the Director, John Oliver, agreed to allocate programming and database maintenance resources for an extended period.  While considerable effort was expended between 2002 and 2004 in creation of a website and database, in recent years the commitment of CADD members waned with turnover in membership and the website is currently inactive.

The practice of annual strategic planning retreats was begun in 2001, with the first in San Diego and in alternate parts of the state since that time.  Some of the retreats have been extremely productive, focusing on larger issues such as the "ladder of learning," originated by the Director of CalState Bernardino, Teresa Morris, and later adopted by CalSWEC.  The mission and goals of CADD have sometimes been reviewed with an eye toward organizational renewal; at other times, the agenda has been more limited.

CADD's relationship with field directors has occasionally been an important part of the agenda over the last decade.  In 2005, the field directors asked to have a permanent place on the CADD agenda, to which the association agreed.  From time to time thereafter, field directors would appear to present challenges they were facing in their effort to maintain the quality of field education.  While CADD was receptive and interested, it was not always clear what the organization as a whole might do to respond to these concerns.  The practice of regular presentations from field directors gradually declined and seems to have disappeared.

The presence of NASW since the origin of CADD has been crucial.  The Director, Janlee Wong, has offered information, suggestions, and organizational support, keeping CADD linked at important points with the Board of Behavioral Sciences, the legislature, and national policy trends.  The administration of the CADD budget was always problematic, because the group does not have 501(c)6 or 501(c)3 status.   Recently, in 2009, NASW agreed to maintain a caretaker account on the behalf of the association, performing a much-needed service.

Interest groups on behalf of the aging and mental health have approached CADD for support over the past decade.  An appeal for planning in geriatric social work education was made by June Simmons, Director of Partners in Care in Los Angeles, as early as 2003, for example.  However, the absence of funding streams such as that provided by Title IV-E has hampered CADD in making a substantive response.  With the expansion of CalSWEC to include aging and mental health in 2007-08, there is a broader platform from which to launch initiatives outside of CADD, and these kinds of requests have declined.

Since the 1990's, CADD has often been called to action regarding policy deliberations of the California Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS).  There was an ongoing problem of representation at BBS meetings by social work.  While NASW regularly attended these sessions, sometimes social workers were entirely absent, with only MFTs or others present.  As a consequence, CADD was not able to give leadership on conceptual or factual matters relating to our professional practices, values, and skills.  For a period of time, it was agreed that each of the schools would take responsibility for mounting a presence when BBS met in their region.  USC, Long Beach, and  San Diego State ensured that faculty - usually field faculty - were present in the South, and Berkeley often took responsibility in the North.  This gave CADD the capability of giving an organizational response to policy changes under consideration by BBS - often much to the benefit of social work education.  As membership in CADD has grown and turnover increased both with BBS leadership and in CADD, our presence at meetings has diminished.  In the past, CADD has had meaningful input to such issues as how the licensure examinations should be conducted, the question of whom should be licensed, whether a separate license should be offered to social workers in management and administration, and whether California should recognize licenses granted in other states.

Since 2005, the number of schools represented in CADD has continued its expansion.  Twenty-five organizations, including NASW, now regularly attend meetings.  The organization has faced a new obstacle - that of changing membership, new chairs and directors, leadership from acting directors, and lower tenure in leadership.  From a small group of deans and directors in settings that were somewhat comparable, the association has moved to a truly statewide association that incorporates rural areas, small faculties, and recently, considerable resource challenges.  Building a group that is distinct from CalSWEC, with ownership of the future of social work education in the State of California, is the next major task.

Edits by Marilyn Flynn

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