case western reserve university



March 31, 2008

Dear Friends and Alumni of the Mandel School:

Although we are geared toward the academic calendar at the Mandel School, a new year on the Roman calendar provides a natural opportunity for reflection and renewal, and I wanted to take a few moments to share with you some news and thoughts about where we’ve been and where we’re headed.

In the last 12 months, students and faculty have visited countries all over the world as part of MSASS International, our slew of international study opportunities offered to both graduate and undergraduate students. We have broadened the reach of MSASS—and broaden the horizons of many of our students. So many report that such trips have changed their lives, and whether they commit themselves to international social work, or simply have a greater understanding of the world and their place in it, we believe the program has been an invaluable part of their experience at MSASS. It turns out we’re not the only ones who believe that. MSASS International was the recipient of the Council for Social Work Education Commission on Global Social Work Education Partners in Advancing Education for International Social Work Award for degree-granting social work education programs. We look forward to upcoming trips to the Netherlands, Guatemala, Dominican Republic and Greece in the next few months.

At the half-way point in our fiscal year, we find that our financial discipline has allowed MSASS to continue its course on firm footing. Far from grounding our aspirations, this will mean that the new strategic planning that will take place over the next year or so will be built on a solid foundation.

I’m happy to announce the establishment of a substantial gift from the Frank and Nancy Porter Fund to create the Nancy Lyon Porter Scholarship, which will provide a full scholarship for a student in the Community Development concentration. Her daughter, Elizabeth Porter Daane, MSSA ’91, told us such work was very important to her mother. During Mrs. Porter’s lifetime, she served as a trustee of the Federation for Community Planning (now the Center for Community Solutions) and was a key player in the merger of struggling children’s agencies that today form the Center on Families and Children. Mrs. Porter was a wonderful friend of MSASS, having served on our Visiting Committee and the Capital Campaign committee for the building. The Porter family, by honoring their mother, has made an investment in the next generation of social workers. We count on special gifts and the Annual Fund to help our students, and we are grateful to the Porters for their generosity.

We’ve always been proud of the strength of both teaching and research at MSASS, and of the way we have integrated the two. One result, it was recently announced, is that we are number two in research productivity at Case Western Reserve University.
We’re also glad to announce the arrival of a new faculty member, Research Assistant Professor Cyleste Collins, who was visiting faculty at MSASS for the fall of 2005 following her displacement from Tulane University. Cyleste is working with the Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development on a study of homeless families.

MSASS is now offering alumni the chance to attend free lectures by faculty members, and we also have a special lecture series of lectures by faculty and visitors, many of which offer CEUs for MSASS alumni. Be sure to check our website for the latest schedule.

Speaking of the website,, we have hired a new webmaster to maintain the MSASS presence in cyberspace. While the site is partly a tool for recruitment of new students, it is also a way to showcase the research and teaching of our faculty members to allow policy-makers, researchers and community leaders access to the most up-to-date research in their fields. The MSASS website is also a way for alumni and friends to stay connected with the school and learn about what’s new here. Please check the site often.

Our admissions and recruitment staff, led by Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Sharon Milligan, have brought a renewed enthusiasm to the work of fostering relationships with prospective students, to not only find more applicants, but to find the right applicants.

Our best recruiters, we have found, are our alumni. Our alumni know MSASS and know the world of work that awaits a social work master’s graduate. Whether through one-on-one conversations with potential students at the workplace, or through small openhouses in towns across the country, we’d like for you to be part of our recruitment team. Please contact Sharon Milligan ( to let her know that you’d like to help. If you’re willing, your first task is to help us publicize an upcoming information session here at MSASS. I’ve taken the liberty of including a flier that we hope you’ll post or forward so potential students can find out more about our school (if you’d like an electronic copy sent, please let Sharon know).

Finally, please let Pam Carson ( know your news—awards, new positions, new children, new spouse, etc. We like to know what you’re up to, and we’re sure your classmates will like seeing your updates in upcoming issues of our newsletter, MSASS Action.


Grover C. Gilmore, Ph.D.
Dean and Professor