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A group of people pose with smiles and their arms in the air for the camera.

By Anna Pao Sohmen with Julie Jung

Anna Pao Sohmen, EX ’68, came to SSA from Hong Kong during a turbulent time for Chicago and the nation. It was there that she learned the importance of social work as she did her field work among disadvantaged children. After marrying, she returned to Hong Kong where she taught social work at Hong Kong University. She recently  provided support for a joint graduate social work exchange program for SSA in partnership with Peking University in Beijing and Hong Kong Polytechnic University. The program is expected to feature cross-national and cross-university exchanges among faculty and students and discussions and programs with scholars focusing on pressing social welfare issues. The goal of the exchange is to address many of the social issues that are emerging due to the fast economic growth in China over the last three decades.

A polished marble bench with the words "Social Service Administration" carved into it.

By Paula Tsurutani 

William Cannon, PhB '47, AM '49, was a professor at SSA. Cannon and his wife came to campus after World War II and lived in temporary housing on the Midway, where they developed friendships and a life-long connection with the University. In addition to teaching at SSA, Cannon also held administrative positions at the University of Chicago. Cannon was concerned his whole life about poverty and inequality. He held a number of important positions for the federal government in Washington, D.C. and was part of President Johnson's inner circle of advisors. Cannon is credited for shaping the War on Poverty's Community Action Program, which funded anti-poverty initiatives at the local level. His family is remembering him by establishing the William B. Cannon Scholarship at SSA. His son Robert Cannon, AB '83, discusses his father's involvement with SSA and the University in an interview in which he also commends the work of the first two recipients of the scholarship. 

Two people look at a document together while seated at a table.

By William Harms

The view from within a social service agency is frequently revealing, but it is a perspective researchers often do not have. Associate Professor Julia Henly has received that opportunity, thanks to a William T. Grant Foundation Distinguished Fellows Award. She has spent the year at the Illinois Action for Children, learning more about how the organization administers child care support to low-income working families and how the organization advocates for the needs of children. Henly's research focuses on child care and the special needs of workers with non-traditional work schedules. She also has helped the agency with its research work and gained perspectives on how her own scholarship agenda can be better informed as a result of seeing a social service agency at work. 


A male-presenting person faces towards the camera and smiles.

Building the capacity to maximize our impact in the most ambitious manner requires ongoing effort and commitment. During this past academic year, SSA has devoted significant effort to building and extending our leadership capacity along several key fronts: contributing our expertise to build SSA’s and the University’s broader urban impact, developing a stronger organization at SSA, and adding intellectual leadership to make social change at home and abroad

A female-presenting person speaks away from the camera.

Girls who grow up experiencing trauma often become women experiencing trauma. In order to help these women and girls, researchers and social workers need to learn more about the sources of their trauma, develop programs that help them better cope with their trauma, and advocate for them. In this issue’s conversation, Gina Fedock, Assistant Professor at SSA, and Candice Norcott, the Director of Behavioral Science at the Cook County-Loyola Family Medicine Residency Program, discuss their work with women and girls who experience trauma.

A view of a modern-style building from the outside.

A new study examines two recent strategies to collect child support from parents who have proven hardest to collect from—the poor. The results, published in the September 2015 Social Service Review, illustrate the difficulty of the problem and suggest that policy makers may want to look for solutions beyond simply enforcement and collection.

Outdoor concrete steps with a marble bench visible in the background.

In 1995, Pensylvania governor Tom Ridge convened a special session of the state legislature to confront the problem of rising crime. Out of it emerged tough new laws, including mandatory minimum sentences for drug and gun offenses and a new rule that youths as young as 15 who used guns to commit violent crimes be tried as adults.

A group of people smile and pose for the camera outdoors.

To learn about the similarities and differences among issues social workers address in various cultures, a group of nine SSA students joined students and faculty from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) to examine Chinese responses to urbanization in the China Winter Institute 2015: Urbanization, Migration and Poverty: State and Community Responses in Hong Kong and Mainland China.

A group of professionally dressed people speaking to each other around a round table.

Responding to mental health calls are among the most challenging situations police officers face as they are frequently at the front lines of dealing with crisis situations.“This puts a huge burden on police officers,” said Harold Pollack, the Helen Ross Professor at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration (SSA) and co-director of the University’s Crime Lab. 

School News

Llewellyn Cornelius, AM '83 (Social Sciences), AM '85, PhD ’88 (SSA), who has spent his career expanding people’s awareness of the important role diversity plays in understanding society, has also played an critical role in developing a new generation of scholars to carry on that work.

On March 23, 2010 President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) into law after nearly 100 years of effort to bring comprehensive health care reform to the United States. The impact of the ACA can be measured in the millions of previously uninsured Americans who have insurance. 

SSA remembers Eleanor Parkhurst (EX '39), Lila Kubly Dibble (EX '41), Elizabeth MacLeod Scattergood (AM '47), Janet L. Kohrman (AB '40, AM '49), Charlotte Hilarides Lettermon (AM '51), Harrison Dean Lettermon (AM '51), Ida M. Pion Kain (EX '60), Glenn Shelton Key (AM '64), Mariann Gibbs (AM '81), and Kyungshin Park McNally (AM '90).