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Iris Carlton-LaNey appointed as Berg-Beach Distinguished Professor

Iris Carlton-LaNey, Ph.D., has been named as the Berg-Beach Distinguished Professor of Community Social Work at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has served as a professor at the UNC School of Social Work since 1994.

An educator and researcher for more than 30 years, Carlton-LaNey has led research about African Americans, especially women, who are aging in the rural South; on African American social work pioneers; and on analyses of the impact historical events have had on building and maintaining social structures that can block opportunities and deny access to individuals and groups.

In recommending Carlton-LaNey for this distinguished professorship, UNC School of Social Work Dean Gary Bowen noted that she is a nationally renowned scholar in working to promote social and racial justice in North Carolina and beyond.

“Dr. Carlton-LaNey is a leader in our School of Social Work and in the social work profession,” Bowen wrote. “[She] demonstrates a great commitment to social work education and to mentoring.

“She encourages her colleagues to be mindful of the role of history in what they do as professional social workers on both the macro and micro levels,” he added. “Her teaching and mentoring focus on empowerment, and she has worked with students and junior faculty colleagues across the country.”

A native of Warsaw, N.C., Carlton-LaNey earned her bachelor’s degree in social work from North Carolina A&T University, her master of social work degree from the University of Chicago and her doctoral degree from the University of Maryland. She has taught at UNC Charlotte and NC A&T and is the author of four books and numerous articles.

Carlton-LaNey has received national recognition throughout her career, including the Distinguished Recent Contributions to Social Work Award (Council on Social Work Education), the Distinguished Achievement in Social Work Education (National Association of Black Social Workers), and the inaugural Legacy Award (Sisters of the Academy).

She has been named a Social Work Pioneer (National Association of Social Workers) and a Hero for Justice (University of Maryland School of Social Work). She is also a recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award for Post-Baccalaureate Instruction (UNC-Chapel Hill) and a five-time recipient of the Teacher Appreciation Award (UNC School of Social Work).

Carlton-LaNey’s appointment as the Berg-Beach Distinguished Professor of Community Social Work is effective Dec. 1, 2016.

Support for this distinguished professorship comes from the late Gordon Berg and Martha Humphrey Beach. Berg, a Minnesota native and a 1940 graduate of the University of Minnesota School of Social Work, served as executive director of the Foundation for the Carolinas and of United Way of Central Carolinas during his career. Beach, a Robeson County native and a 1972 graduate of the UNC School of Social Work, served as a social worker with Robeson County and with Womack Army Hospital and continued her career in private practice.