Criteria and Nomination Forms

Edith Abbott Award
Elizabeth Butler Award
Milestone Achievement Awards
Social Impact Award
Distinctive Innovation in Social Service Awards

Edith Abbott Award

Click on this link to fill out the nomination form and upload optional documentation. 

The SSA Alumni Association Nominations Committee will select the person to be recognized based on the following criteria:

• Extraordinary success in career and consistent, long-term, high-level achievement
• Stellar advances in the field of social work which have enhanced the profession overall
• Success of total enterprise, agency, division, or initiative which can be directly attributed to the direction or efforts of the individual nominee
• Clinical innovation, policy innovation, or research advances which can be directly attributed to the work/direction of the individual nominee
• Use of influence and effectiveness with public and in the social work profession (or a related profession) to support advances in the field of social work
• Recognition by colleagues, peers, public, and clients for outstanding contributions towards social welfare
• Use of influence and effectiveness in the SSA community to help support SSA and current students
• Always practicing, modeling, and espousing exemplary ethics


Elizabeth Butler Award 

Click on this link to fill out the nomination form and upload optional documentation.

The Elizabeth Butler Award honors one recent graduate who has shown exceptional promise in the field of social work. Nominees must have earned an AM or PhD from SSA not more than 10 years ago, and no less than five.

The SSA Alumni Association Nominations Committee will select the person to be recognized based on the following criteria:

• Extraordinary success in career relative to number of years since graduating from SSA
• Recognition by colleagues, peers, public, or clients for outstanding contributions towards social welfare
• Enlisting public support for improved social welfare at the clinical, policy, management, or administrative level
• Demonstrating leadership through example by bringing a host of critical and valuable skills to the profession or related field(s)
• Always practicing, modeling and espousing exemplary ethics
• Using influence and effectiveness in the SSA community to help support SSA and current students
• And, in the words of Elizabeth Butler, “it's not what they’ve done, it's what they bring to the profession”
• Successful candidates for the award will have met one or more of these criteria: a strong commitment to social change; exceptional leadership in an agency or within a community; creativity in non-traditional or innovative approaches to practice; contributions to the field through research and publications; demonstrated professional skills


Milestone Achievement Awards

The Milestone Achievement Award recognizes SSA alumni from milestone reunion classes for contributions to the field of Social Work. This award honors exemplary social work values, exceptional performance in clinical or administrative practice, and strong commitment to our profession.  This award provides an opportunity to honor some of our “unsung” colleagues who strive daily for (or whose past careers reflect) social justice, healthier communities, and the support of vulnerable individuals. 

To honor alumni of milestone classes, members of the Awards Committee will recognize the achievement of up to two graduates from each reunion class.

SSA invites you to submit a nomination of yourself or your classmate(s). 


Social Impact Award 

Click on this link to fill out the nomination form and upload optional documentation. 

The Social Impact Award honors one mid-career alum who has excelled beyond the norm early in their career. Nominees must have earned an AM or PhD from SSA at least 10 years ago and be no less than 10 years from retirement. 

The SSA Alumni Association Nominations Committee will select the person to be recognized based on the following criteria:

• Excelled beyond the norm early in his/her career
• Distinguished themselves as leaders (formal or informal), or catalysts for change in either the clinical or administrative setting
• Making a meaningful difference to individuals/ organizations/communities within the social service field
• Highly respected by their peers and clients
• Developed or promoted innovative solutions to social problems
• Committed to furthering the social work field through, volunteerism, teaching, or mentorship


The Distinctive Innovation in Social Services Award 

This award honors a social service organization, or its program, that represents distinctive innovations that allow practitioners to share approaches that enhance effectiveness of social service and social change efforts. Distinctive innovations will demonstrate sustainable and measurable value, and draw upon sustained processes and procedures influencing program and organizational effectiveness. Nominees will demonstrate the effective application of clinical and administrative techniques for addressing client and organizational goals. We are especially interested in sustained approaches that contribute to new dimensions of service and performance in social work and human services.

A distinctive innovation will demonstrate sustainability of the output or service produced by a program or enterprise, as well as the sustainability of the process or techniques of the program or enterprise itself. The innovation should produce long-term benefits and effectiveness rather than short-term payoff, and produce knowledge or technical expertise that is scalable and informs the discipline.

Nominees should also reflect the mission of SSA and show a relationship with the School either from its founding, establishment, or growth with programmatic contributions from SSA alumni, faculty, or students. 

The SSA Alumni Association Nominations Committee will select the agency or program to be recognized based on the following criteria:

  • Contributions to New Program Development
  • Management Systems
  • Reshaping Organizational Culture
  • Multi-Agency Collaboration
  • Resource Development
  • How  the innovative program linked is to SSA and the role of SSA alumni, faculty, or students in the program
  • The mission of the program
  • The needs the program addresses
  • The benefactors and beneficiaries of the program
  • How the program's success and sustainability are measured
  • Can this program be easily replicated by other institutions
  • Program reputation

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