Barbara W. Shank, Dean and Professor Emerita, earned a BA from Macalester College and a MSW & PhD from the University of Minnesota. She was engaged in social work education for forty+ years. Under her leadership, the school grew from 50 to 600 students, 4 to 34 full-time faculty, and 1 to 5 programs offering 5 professional development institutes. In 2014, the School launched an online DSW program, ‘Education as Practice’. Barbara consults on BSW and MSW program development and reaffirmation of accredited status.

Barbara has served in various leadership capacities with the National Association of Social Work MN Chapter (NASW), the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), the National Association of Deans and Directors of Schools of Social Work (NADD), and the International Consortium for Social Development (ICSD).

Currently she serves as a CSWE Accreditation Site Visitor, on the CSWE Katherine Kendall Advisory Board, the Board of Directors of NASW and as Secretary of the International Association of Schools of Social Work IASSW).

Barbara was named NASW MN Social Worker of the Year (1993), NASW Pioneer (2016), received the Distinguished Service Award, University of St. Thomas (2017), named a Fellow in the Global Institute of Social Work (2017), received the Lifetime Achievement Award, National Association of Social Workers, MN Chapter (2019) and was named as one of the 50 Notable Social Workers in US History