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Carlton-LaNey and McClinton inducted as NASW Social Work Pioneers


The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Social Work Pioneer Program was created to honor members of the social work profession who have contributed to the evolution and enrichment of the profession. The Pioneer Program identifies and recognizes individuals whose unique dedication, commitment and determination have improved social and human conditions.
Recently, the NASW Foundation inducted 19 new Pioneers for 2015 and two are from the UNC School of Social Work, Professor Iris Carlton-LaNey and emerita faculty member Hortense King McClinton, MSW.

Iris Carlton-LaNey, Ph.D.

For 36 years, Professor Iris Carlton-LaNey has taught in social work programs in three North Carolina universities. After three years as a public health social worker in Chicago, her first position after receiving her Ph.D. was at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

After nearly 13 years at that institution, she accepted a position at UNC-Chapel Hill where she has taught for 21 years. She is widely respected as an educator and mentor, who shows a commitment to the life-long learning of her students, and who engages students in and out of the classroom. Her ability to cultivate classrooms into safe and nonjudgmental places to learn and share ideas about very difficult topics is uncanny and has been recognized by numerous teaching awards. She pushes her students to be active learners and to feel valued as contributors to their own education.

Carlton-LaNey has serves as a national research mentor and faculty scholar in the Hartford Geriatric Social Work Program, and continues to be a member of the Health Promotion Community Advisory Council of the John A. Hartford Foundation. She has held numerous leadership positions in NASW and CSWE, and has provided community leadership to a number of social service agencies, including the Durham County Board of Social Services, which she chaired from 2004-06.

Carlton-LaNey has published four books. Several social work scholars have noted that Carlton-LaNey’s work was essential in teaching them how to conduct historical research. Her research has provided a framework and model for other scholars who have followed her lead in the exploration of the contributions of African American social work pioneers.

Hortense King McClinton, MSW

Hortense McClinton has lived with a remarkable sense of determination–for 97 years. Her father’s parents were slaves, and McClinton grew up in a completely segregated society, the all-black town of Boley, Oklahoma.

When she was in the 8th grade, McClinton realized her future career path after a woman who worked for the Children’s Bureau in Washington, D.C., came to a school assembly to talk about social work.

McClinton left Oklahoma for Washington, D.C., in 1936 to attend Howard University and graduated in 1939. From there, it was on to Philadelphia where she earned her Master of Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania.

In 1964, while working as a research supervisor at the VA Hospital in Durham, the UNC School of Social Work dean approached McClinton with a job offer, which she finally accepted in 1966.
She became the first black professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She found herself teaching classes on social work to the same students she had once supervised when they came to the VA in Durham for a semester of field work.

Soon after she arrived on campus, she was asked to teach a course in institutional racism as well, and she created and taught the course. She retired in 1984.

Check out the NPR story about McClinton, “A First Black Professor Remembers Her Segregated Education.”