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School honors retiring faculty member Joanne Caye

At the UNC School of Social Work on Jan. 9, colleagues, family and friends gathered to celebrate Joanne Caye‘s 41 years of social work practice and teaching. Photos

Caye, MSW ’82, has been involved in the field of social work since 1970, first as a direct practice social worker, supervisor, and program administrator at the local and state levels in Pennsylvania, Louisiana, and North Carolina; and since 1993, as a member of the faculty at the UNC School of Social Work.

She has written and taught child welfare curricula focused on child sexual abuse, adolescents in foster care, child development, best practices in adoptions and child care, and family-centered practice.

Caye is the co-author of the book, When Their World Falls Apart: Helping Families and Children Manage the Effects of Disasters. Over the course of her career, she trained social workers and managers who assist families who have experienced trauma and lived through disasters.

At UNC, she taught many courses to MSW students in areas including social work practice, human resources management and supervision, family stress, and children’s policy. She was honored multiple times with the Dean’s Recognition of Teaching Excellence.

In addition, Caye expanded her interest in immigration issues and adult education. For the last five years, she has taught a weekly evening citizenship class in Siler City.

Throughout her commendable career in public social services, teaching and mentoring, Caye has helped to improve the well-being of children and families in North Carolina, the nation and internationally. Furthermore, she committed great energy and passion to providing the guidance, knowledge and skills needed to ensure that others succeed in the field of social work.

“Joanne Caye is one of those rare professional social workers who developed expertise in direct practice and macro practice,” said Dean Jack Richman. “Her years of work in public social services allowed her to become an outstanding teacher in generalist direct practice and also teach in areas of specialized practice such as child welfare, social work administration, and dealing with the effects of disasters upon individuals, families and communities. She embodies and greatly contributes to the creative circle of teaching, research and service as the foundation of a great School of Social Work.”

Caye is currently a doctoral candidate for a Ph.D. in Education, with an Adult and Community College specialization, at N.C. State University. In the short term she will be finishing her dissertation. She is still pondering her next steps after graduation, but ideas include creating an app for smart phones that would allow English learners and those working toward citizenship to get support at times when they can connect. “They often do shift work, have families, work two jobs, and it makes getting to a class very difficult,” said Caye.

She might also write a book for adult learners that tells the stories of some of these students in simple to more complicated language. “I picture the books being used to learn either English or Spanish,” said Caye. “A woman I met in Nicaragua a few years ago kept saying, ‘Juana, libros para adultos’ (books for adults), which started me thinking about all this.”

For Joanne Caye, retirement is just the beginning.

Photos from the celebration

Vilma Gimenez contributed to this article.