Dr. Steven Huberman, Dean of Touro College Graduate School of Social Work, Receives Prestigious Award for Advancing the Social Work Profession

Date: June 03, 2014
Dr. Steven Huberman (left) was presented with the prestigious Social Work Image Award from the National Association of Social Workers.
Dr. Steven Huberman (left) was presented with the prestigious Social Work Image Award from the National Association of Social Workers.
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Barbara Franklin
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New York, N.Y. - Dr. Steven Huberman, founding and current dean of the Touro College Graduate School of Social Work (GSSW), was presented with the prestigious Social Work Image Award from the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) at the New York City chapter’s annual meeting in Manhattan recently.

With 132,000 members, the NASW is the world’s largest membership organization of professional social workers.  The image award recognizes NASW members who have made unique contributions in advancing the profession and ensuring its strength and vitality for years to come.  Dean Huberman was honored for his visible, active leadership, commitment to community-building and dedication to the social work profession.

In paying tribute to Dr. Huberman, NASW President Martha Adams cited the way Dr. Huberman has turned Touro’s social work motto, “A Community of Excellence with Warmth,” into an everyday reality, noting that “he stops in the halls and addresses students by their first names and takes time to teach and serve as a field work liaison.”

Since Dr. Huberman launched the graduate school eight years ago, the diverse school has grown from an MSW class of 60 students to 300 students today. His efforts have also led Touro to cover each of its students’ NASW membership dues, and he has been a tireless advocate in seeking to secure higher pay for social workers.

Currently, Dr. Huberman serves as president of the New York Association of Deans of Schools of Social Work. In addition, he recently co-chaired “Lobby Day” in Albany, which brought students and faculty to the state capital to advocate for loan forgiveness for social workers and for passage of the “Dream Act,” which would have allowed undocumented students access to state financial aid and scholarships for higher education. These efforts led to an appropriation of $1,250,000 from the New York State legislature.

In accepting the award, Dr. Huberman expressed the importance of his family in his life — his wife of 40 years, Frieda; their grown children and grandson; and his Touro family, President and CEO Dr. Alan Kadish; the late founding President Dr. Bernard Lander; and Touro students and faculty.

Reflecting on his “dirt-poor” childhood in Philadelphia, Dr. Huberman dedicated his award to “Mrs. Shusterman,” a guidance counselor who made a pivotal difference in his life after his father abandoned his family. He recalled times when he had no money for a school lunch.

“Mrs. Shusterman wouldn’t give up on us,” he said.

Professor Elhanan Marvit, director of the school’s administrative services and Brooklyn division, nominated Dr. Huberman for the image award.

“I considered it a privilege,” he said. “Dr. Huberman has played a monumental role in building the Graduate School from scratch and in his visible advocacy on behalf of social work students and professionals."

Dr. Huberman, who earned his Ph.D. from Brandeis University, has written or co-authored more than 50 major publications, with his research focusing on growing old in America, social work policy and coping with the September 11th attacks. He also pens a regular column, “The Touro Advisor,” which concentrates on mental health issues.

Along with Dr. Huberman, NASW honored Dr. Felisha Oulu, a professor at the Touro’s Graduate School of Social Work.  A clinical supervisor of Functional Family Therapy programs at the Children’s Aid Society, Dr. Otuelu is a proponent of supportive resources in schools, communities and homes to ensure the well-being and academic success of all New York City children and adolescents.