UCLA Social Welfare scholars from around the country returned to campus this week to recognize milestones in teaching and research over the past 75 years, as well as the work still ahead to advance justice in both academia and the broader society. The gathering of Social Welfare PhD students, doctoral alumni, faculty and staff, held at the UCLA Luskin Conference Center on the evening of Nov. 14, kicked off a yearlong commemoration of the Social Welfare program’s diamond anniversary. Professor Emeritus Rosina Becerra shared insights from her three decades in leadership positions at the university, including as dean of the School of Social Welfare in the 1980s and ’90s and later as vice provost of faculty diversity and development. Guests also heard from Karina L. Walters PhD ’95 MSW ’90 BA ’87, a professor of social work at the University of Washington and member of the Choctaw Nation, and Darcey H. Merritt PhD ’06 MSW ’03, associate professor at New York University and co-editor-in-chief of the research journal Children and Youth Services Review. Merritt will soon join the University of Chicago faculty as a full professor. Becerra, Walters and Merritt are distinguished scholars and also women of color, and they spoke of progress yet to be made to achieve full equity in the academy. The celebration of UCLA Social Welfare’s 75th anniversary will continue throughout the academic year, culminating on Saturday, May 6, with an alumni reunion and the annual presentation of the Joseph A. Nunn Alumnus of the Year award.
Scholars Darcey Merritt, left, Rosina Becerra and Karina Walters share insights at a gathering of PhD students, alumni, faculty and staff. Photo by Mary Braswell