Chavkin named 2002 Piper Professor

Date of release: 05/01/02

SAN MARCOS, TEXAS Southwest Texas State University faculty member Nancy Fehl Chavkin, professor of social work and co-director of the Center for Children and Families, has received a 2002 Piper Professor Award from the Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation.

Chavkin and nine other professors from around the state were named Piper Professors on May 1 in honor of their dedication and service to teaching at the collegiate level.

In addition to Chavkin’s demanding teaching schedule, she oversees the supervision of the SWT child welfare stipend program, which prepares students to work in the field of child welfare. Chavkin also leads the statewide Roundtable for Child Welfare, which brings social workers, educators and government leaders from around the state each year to discuss the condition of the child welfare system in Texas. As co-director of the Center for Children and Families, Chavkin seeks additional funding for student scholarships and curriculum development. She also acts as an advisor to both undergraduate and graduate students in the social work program.

As well as her administrative and teaching duties, Chavkin sponsors the Phi Alpha National Honor Society and serves in the SWT mentoring program. Her mentoring abilities have been noted and selected by both Prairie View A&M and the University of Texas-Austin to aid in broadening their mentoring programs for undergraduates in various fields.

According to Piper Foundation material, committee members choose professors who are well-rounded, outgoing teachers, devoted to their profession and have made a special impact on their students and the community.

Students consistently rate Chavkin’s teaching as outstanding. She is often praised for her innovative teaching style, commitment to learning and her rigor.

In Chavkin’s nomination letter, Karen Brown, chair of the School of Social Work, writes, “Freshmen in her introduction to social work class talk about her passion for learning and her contagious enthusiasm and how she has influenced their degree choice.”

Chavkin’s commitment to teaching is echoed by both her current and former students. She herself notes that teaching is her calling.

She writes, “I teach for three main reasons, one, I love learning. Two, I want to share my passion for learning with others, and three, I am strongly committed to work for the betterment of society.”

Chavkin said her love of learning is insatiable. She writes that teaching is her choice because it links together the realities of the world and learning about the world.

Chavkin’s list of accolades, accomplishments and community activities is lengthy. The National Association of Social Workers named her Social Work Educator of the Year in 2001. The American Association for Higher Education recognized her work for developing a partnership program between math and social work that encourages minority students to pursue higher education. She received the 2001-2002 SWT Faculty Senate Teaching Excellence Award.

As a scholar, She has written numerous articles, book chapters and books, including Families and Schools in a Pluralistic Society (1993), The Use of Research in Social Work Practice: Case Example from School Social Work (1993) and Conversations with Louise Erdrich and Michael Dorris (1994 and 2000).

Chavkin graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Dickinson College, a master’s degree from the University of Illinois and a Ph.D. from UT-Austin.

Chavkin is the 11th SWT professor to be named a Piper Professor. Other SWT Piper Professors have been Emmie Craddock, 1962, history; Robert Galvan, 1968, modern languages; Thomas Brasher, 1970, English; Dan Farlow, 1975, political science; Clarence Schultz, 1976, sociology; Henrietta Avent, 1979, health and physical education; Robert Walts, 1982, English; Beverly Chiodo, 1988, computer information systems and administrative sciences; Barbara Hatcher, 1993, curriculum and instruction; and Michael John Hennessy, 2001, English.