Ellen Russell Dunbar

An interview with Ellen Russell Dunbar, PhD she discusses her work as a NASW and CalSWEC leader who shaped practice, policy, and education to improve social work in rural communities.
Interviewed by Dr. Nancy Humphreys. Date of interview: 10-10-15. Length of interview: 39 minutes.

Interview Topics
(0:40) – Introductions. (1:10) – Group work in community center. (3:04) – Work in Watts and East Los Angeles with multi-cultural staff. (4:50) – Supervisor over program proposals. (6:05) – Grant writing for Sons of Watts Organization with Billy Tidwell, President Johnson’s changes in social work. (7:40) – SSG, teaching part-time, interdisciplinary degree program at USC for organizational change in correctional facilities in 1975. (9:45) – Her work as Graduate Director and Dean at Eastern Washington University, teaching rural social work, community organization, social policy, and field work with John O’Neil and faculty at Eastern Washington University. (11:15) – California Chapter of NASW, working on legislation. (13:13) – California Deans and Directors Program (CADP). (14:00) – Organizing social workers at NASW. (15:00) – Work on political social work with her student from CSU Stanislaus, Assemblywoman Susan Eggman. (17:00) – Creating an MSW program at CSU Stanislaus. (18:33) – Dealing with obstacles in her career: generalist vs. clinical programs. (20:10) – Advice for social workers: setting an example, setting goals. (21:30) – Most satisfying experiences at NASW. (23:00) – Difference between working at NASW and volunteering at NASW. (25:20) – Changes in political, social, and economic forces during her career: smaller profession has grown, wider horizon than there once was, community organization has fewer social workers, private agencies now do not have many social workers. (27:20) – Social work profession’s accommodation of increasingly conservative government; more public agency practice; Civil Rights and Women’s movement. (29:50) – More community development and more social worker involvement in politics. (32:40) – Suggestions for social workers. (34:12) – Civil Rights Committee in NASW, Civil Rights Movement in the nation and the profession. (35:10) – Work for the California Social Work Hall of Distinction.

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