The SSWR Annual Conference offers a scientific program that reflects a broad range of research interests, from workshops on the latest quantitative and qualitative research methodologies to symposia featuring studies in child welfare, aging, mental health, welfare reform, substance abuse, and HIV/AIDS. Over 500 symposia, workshop, roundtable, paper and poster presentations. Research methods workshops designed to enhance methods expertise and grant-writing skills and special sessions on research priorities and capacity building that target cutting-edge topics vital to contemporary social work research. Pre-conference programs and a networking reception especially for doctoral students.
The Society for Social Work and Research was founded in 1994 as a free-standing organization dedicated to the advancement of social work research. SSWR works collaboratively with a number of other organizations that are committed to improving support for research among social workers. Our members include faculty in schools of social work and other professional schools, research staff in public and private agencies, and masters/doctoral students.
SSWR’s more than 1300 members come from 45 states in the United States as well as from Australia, Canada, Cyprus, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Trinidad and the United Kingdom.
SSWR’s members represent more than 200 universities and institutions.
Morris Dees was born in 1936 at Shorter, Alabama, the son of cotton farmers. As a young boy he worked the fields with blacks, witnessing first-hand social and economic depravation and Jim Crow treatment at its worse.
While at the University of Alabama Law School, he met Millard Fuller. The two formed a highly successful publishing company during their time in law school. After graduation, they moved the business to Montgomery, Alabama. Fuller left the company in 1965 and later founded Habitat for Humanity. Mr. Dees continued the business and also began taking controversial civil rights cases.
Mr. Dees sold his publishing company to a major national firm in 1970 and formed the Southern Poverty Law Center, along with Julian Bond and Joseph Levin. Early Center cases included integrating the Alabama State Troopers and desegregating the Montgomery YMCA. The Center, funded by donations from over 300,000 citizens across the nation, quickly grew into one of America’s most successful and innovative public interest law firms.
In 1980, the Center founded the Intelligence Project in response to resurgence in organized racist activity. The project monitors hate groups and develops legal strategies for protecting citizens from violence-prone groups. A made-for-television movie about Mr. Dees aired on NBC. “Line of Fire” describes his successful fight against the Ku Klux Klan. It included the $7 million precedent-setting judgment against the United Klans of America on behalf of the mother of Michael Donald, a young black man lynched by the Klan in Mobile, Alabama. Wayne Rogers portrayed him in the feature film “Ghosts of Mississippi” about the murder of civil rights worker Medgar Evers.
Other victories against hate groups include a $6 million judgment that bankrupted the Aryan Nations, a $12.5 million jury verdict against the California-based White Aryan Resistance for the death of a black student and a $26 million verdict against the Carolina Klan for burning black churches.
Klansmen burned the Center offices in1983. The arsonists were convicted but not before their leader plotted to kill Mr. Dees. More than thirty men have since been imprisoned for plots to harm him or destroy Center property. This threat requires a high degree of security during public appearances.
To promote acceptance and tolerance, the Center founded Teaching Tolerance in 1990. Over 80,000 schools use the project’s free videos and teaching materials and over 400,000 teachers receive the award winning Teaching Tolerancemagazine. The Center has won two Oscars for its tolerance education films and received five Oscar nominations. Mr. Dees believes that it is important to teach tolerance in the classroom as well as fight hate in the courtroom.
Mr. Dees has received numerous awards in conjunction with his work. The U.S. Jaycees chose him as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men of America for his early business success. Trial Lawyers for Public Justice named him Trial Lawyer of the Year in 1987. In 2009, he was inducted into the Trial Lawyers’ Hall of Fame by the National Trial Lawyers Association. The American Bar Association honored him in 2012 with the ABA Medal, their highest honor, and The American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) honored him with their Courageous Advocacy Award in 2015. He received the Martin Luther King, Jr. Nonviolence Peace Prize in April 2016 from The King Center in Atlanta and the National Education Association President’s Award for Human and Civil Rights in July 2016. Dees was honored again by the National Trial Lawyers in 2017 when he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award. He received the Champion of Justice Award from the Michigan Coalition for Human Rights in 2017.
Mr. Dees is the author of three books, A Lawyers Journey, his autobiography, Hate on Trial and Gathering Storm, America’s Militia Threat. He remains actively engaged in litigation. He and his wife, Katie, reside in Montgomery, Aabama.
Professor of Education and Māori Development
University of Waikato
Dr. Linda Tuhiwai Smith (Ngāti Awa and Ngāti Porou, Māori) is Professor of Education and Māori Development at the University of Waikato and has served as Pro-Vice Chancellor Māori, Dean of the School of Māori and Pacific Development and Director of Te Kotahi Research Institute at the University of Waikato in New Zealand. She is Principal Investigator on the NPM Project – In Pursuit of the Possible: Indigenous Well-being, an international comparative study of the conditions, strategies, catalysts and meanings that indigenous people employ to realize their aspirations for well-being.
She has worked in the field of Māori education, research, and health for many years as an educator and researcher and is well known for her work in Kaupapa Māori research. Smith has published widely in journals and books. Her book Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples (2nd ed., 2012), has been one of the most widely cited publications relating to decolonizing research practices in the world since its initial publication in 1999. She is well known internationally as a public speaker.
Dr. Smith was a founding Joint Director of New Zealand’s Māori Centre of Research Excellence from 2002-2007 and a Professor of Education at the University of Auckland.
She is a member of New Zealand’s Health Research Council and the Marsden Fund Council, Chair of the Māori Health Research Committee, President of the New Zealand Association for Research in Education and Convener of the Social Sciences Assessment Panel. Most recently she was appointed to the Constitutional Advisory Panel Committee in New Zealand and the High Panel – Science, Technology and Innovation for Development in Paris.
In her groundbreaking 1999 book, Decolonizing Methodologies, Smith traces the history of scientific knowledge as it developed through racist practices and the exploitation of indigenous peoples, and asserts a challenging vision for how research and education can be used to confront colonialism and oppression. Re-released in 2012, this book launched a wave of indigenous-led critiques of academic power and proposals for indigenized methodological interventions.
Linda Tuhiwai Smith has continued to expand her work, most recently linking critiques of scientific authority to analyses of colonialism and anti-Māori bias in the Aotearoa (New Zealand) health care system. Decolonizing Methodologies remains the essential text in confronting colonialism in the academy and indigenising research methodologies and has sparked a major turn in methodological scholarship and perspectives on colonialism and research. Important works building on Decolonizing Methodologies including excellent works including (but certainly not limited to) Indigenizing the Academy by Devon Abbot Mihesuah and Angela Cavender Wilson (2004), Indigenous Methodologies by Margaret Kovach (2009), and Research is Ceremony by Shawn Wilson (2009). In 2013, she was named a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM) for her work in support of Māori research and education.