UW News

September 23, 2016

UW prof the first recipient of national social work award

University of Washington social work professor Paula Nurius is the inaugural recipient of a new national award for helping advance doctoral education in her field.

Paula Nurius

Paula Nurius

Nurius will receive the 2016 Educational Leadership in Doctoral Education award from the Group for the Advancement of Doctoral Education in Social Work (GADE) at a meeting in November. The award recognizes current or former faculty members who “display a strong commitment to doctoral education and a demonstrated record of advancing doctoral education at the national or international level,” according to a release.

“Recognizing leaders like you was exactly what we had in mind when we created this award,” GADE Board President Elizabeth Lightfoot wrote in an email to Nurius. “While many of us were aware how strongly committed you were to doctoral education, we were awestruck learning about all of your extraordinary contributions.”

Nurius, who joined the UW in 1984, is the Grace Beals-Ferguson Scholar and Professor, associate dean for transdisciplinary scholarship and fellow of the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare. She studies processes and effects of life course stress and trauma on disadvantaged populations, with implications for intervention and resilience. Her research incorporates physical, mental and behavioral health, examining ways that biology combines with the physical and social environment to impact health and functioning outcomes.

“The complexity of health, social, and environmental problems that social work encounters increasingly propels movement toward transdisciplinary, impact-oriented and community-engaged science. This requires us to reach for innovative and collaborative training capacity well-suited to these evolving needs, which has been an area of sustained priority for me,” Nurius said.

“I am deeply honored to be receiving this award. I am appreciative to GADE for seeking to illuminate contributions to doctoral training by creating it, and to my social work and UW colleagues who share this sense of mission, including our terrific students who nudge and inspire us onward.”

In a letter nominating Nurius for the award, Edwina (Eddie) Uehara, dean of the UW School of Social Work, lauded her “innovative, boundary-spanning” work. Nurius has fostered interdisciplinary partnerships across campus that benefit doctoral students and further the field of social work, Uehara said. And as the vice president of GADE and of the Society for Social Work and Research, Nurius helped doctoral students and early scholars prepare for rapidly changing research environments with “prodigious investments of intellectual, collegial and scholarly labor.”

UW social work professor Susan Kemp said Nurius is known for her work in mentoring students, fostering academic networks and developing training resources locally and nationally.

Nurius also served as director of the UW’s doctoral program in social welfare for seven years and spent 16 years directing a program funded by the National Institutes of Health that trains researchers focused on preventing mental health problems in vulnerable populations. She has worked at the national and international levels, speaking at numerous conferences and developing collaborations with European colleagues.

For more information, contact Nurius at nurius@uw.edu or 206-685-1682.