Cynthia FranklinCynthia Franklin is the recipient of the 2017 Gary Lee Shaffer Award for Academic Contributions to the Field of School Social Work, presented by the School Social Work Association of America.

“I envision my research as existing to empower school social work practice. This is the heart of my work. I started my practice in the 1980s in child and family mental health  and quickly gravitated toward schools and alternative schools. I soon came to believe that the best way that I can make a difference in a child’s life is to help them get their education. This is a value that I know that all of you in this room  share,” Franklin said at the awards ceremony, which took place during the 20th Annual National School Social Work Conference in San Diego, CA, March 22.

Franklin is the Sternberg/Spencer Family Professor in Mental Health and associate dean for doctoral education at the UT Austin School of Social Work. She is a world-renowned scholar in school mental health. Her research examines the practice and effectiveness of solution-focused brief therapy with children and adolescents. She is the current Editor-in Chief for the Encyclopedia of Social Work and is the author of several books including, The School Services Sourcebook: A Guide for School-based Professionals (Oxford University Press), and Solution Focused Brief Therapy: A Handbook of Evidence-base Practice (Oxford University Press).

The School Social Work Association of America established the Gary Lee Shaffer Award for Academic Contributions to the Field of School Social Work to honor Gary Lee Shaffer’s years of service and scholarly contributions to the field. Shaffer joined UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Social Work in 1986 as director of the field education program, served as a member of the North Carolina Professional School Social Work Standards Committee, and supervised more than 300 master of social work students within North Carolina school districts. He was responsible for licensing school social work practitioners through the N.C. Department of Public Instruction.