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Social work educator wins ‘Heart of Social Work’ award

George Baboila with Lisa Richardson, director of School of Social Work field education, left, and Dr. Barbara Shank, School of Social Work dean.
George Baboila with Lisa Richardson, director of School of Social Work field education, left, and Dr. Barbara Shank, School of Social Work dean.
Photo courtesy of Lisa Richardson.

George Baboila, a faculty member of the joint St. Catherine University and University of St. Thomas School of Social Work, has received the 2011 Heart of Social Work Award from the North American Network of Field Educators and Directors.

Established in 1995, the award recognizes excellence in social work field education, including skill in teaching, service to the university and innovation in field instruction.

The School of Social Work’s Field Education program places nearly 350 students a year with community partners in the Twin Cities, greater Minnesota and four surrounding states.

“George represents the best practices of over 300 social workers in those settings who supervise our students,” says Lisa Richardson, director of MSW field education at the School of Social Work, who nominated him for the award. “He is an excellent field instructor. He has a supportive, empowering approach, while also skillfully and appropriately making a ‘demand for work.’”

Baboila has been teaching, supporting and guiding social work students for 22 of the 24 years he has been in social work practice. In his work as co-director for St. Thomas’ Interprofessional Center for Counseling and Legal Services, he works with nearly 20 undergraduate and graduate social work students annually.

Richardson and Barbara Shank, dean of the School of Social Work, recently presented the award to Baboila at the Heart of Social Work awards ceremony, held during the Council on Social Work Education’s Annual Program Meeting in Atlanta, Ga. 

In her nomination letter, Richardson shared the following from a colleague to illustrate Baboila’s approach:

“He is passionate about the ethical and accessible services students can provide as they learn; he is open to learning from and with students and clients; he treats the Universities and the School of Social Work like a gourmet restaurant where he continues to select from the many choices of service he might enjoy; and he treats challenges as opportunities for learning and growth in himself and for those around him.”

Dec. 7, 2011 by Pauline Oo

See also: Faculty, Leadership