National social work group names McDaniel professor Educator of the Year

The National Association of Social Workers’ Maryland Chapter has named Jim Kunz, associate professor of Social Work and program director, its Educator of the Year for 2011.

The award was recently presented to Kunz during the Social Work Month Annual Conference held in Baltimore. Kunz was selected Educator of the Year based on his demonstrated commitment to supporting high standards for training in social work education

“I’ve taught at some very good schools over my career but until I came to McDaniel, I don’t think it would have been possible for me to win this award,” said Kunz, who teaches Marginalized Cultures and Macro Response, Social Welfare Policy and Social Work Practice with Communities and Organizations.

“McDaniel supports the kind of teaching excellence that the National Association of Social Workers seeks to honor. It was a privilege for me to win the award, largely because of the recognition it brings our school,” added Kunz, who this semester is also co-teaching an interdisciplinary course called HBO’s ‘The Wire’: Through a Cinematic and Social Lens.

In recognizing Kunz as its Educator of the Year for 2011, NASW-Maryland Chapter lauded him as the kind of teacher who “makes social work education more than textbooks and class assignments – he takes the ordinary and makes the education experience one that helps students to see how policy and practice can combine to positively change the lives of those served by the work of the social work profession.”

Upon receiving the award, Kunz said he wished to dedicate it to the memory of Gabe Zimmerman, a young social worker and congressional staffer who was killed in January during the mass shooting in Tucson, Ariz., where 14 people, including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, were wounded and six were killed.

“I did not teach him, nor did I know him, but from what I have learned about him, he was the kind of student who made his professors proud, and who would have gone on to do even greater things as a social worker,” Kunz said.

Kunz hold a joint doctoral degree in Social Work and Economics from the University of Michigan, a master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Maryland, a master’s degree in Economics from the University of Michigan and a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Virginia.

His practice and research interests center on social work advocacy, policy practice, community organizing, cost analyses of social welfare programs and services to ex-offenders.

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