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School of Social Work General records

 Collection — Box: 1-7
Identifier: 35-3G-830

Scope and Contents

The SUNY at Buffalo School of Social Work Collection documents the history and activities of the School between 1985-1996, particularly the teaching and outreach functions of the School.

The bulk of the material in the collection documents the course offerings and degree requirements of the School from the mid-1980s to mid-1990s. The collection also includes the records of a number of School administrative committees, such as the Grievance and Admission Committees, and groups.


  • 1985-1996


Language of Materials

Collection material in English.

Terms of Access

School of Social Work General Records, 1985-1996, are open for research.


University records are public records and once fully processed are generally open to research use. Access to student and personnel records is restricted for 80 years from the date of creation. See reference staff for details. No restrictions on access apply to published records. The restriction of university records is subject to compliance with applicable laws, including the Freedom of Information Act. Most papers may be copied in accordance with the archives' usual procedures unless otherwise specified.

Historical Note

The School of Social Work’s history began in 1924, when Dr. Niles Carpenter (1891-1971) arrived at the University to head the Sociology Department. Under his direction the University was to fill a gap in social work education, which at the time was confined primarily to New York, Boston, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh, providing a venue in western New York to train social workers in hopes of retaining them in the area.

Two initial social work courses were added to the curriculum in 1926. However, in response to the societal demands of the Depression, it became imperative for the University to set up a formal structure for social work education. A “Curriculum of Social Work” was established within the College of Arts and Sciences, which included one year of graduate and one year of undergraduate education. In 1934, a certificate program was approved by the American Association of Schools of Social Work (AASSW). In 1936, a second graduate year of social work education was added (and the undergraduate segment dropped), culminating in a Master of Social Services (MSS) degree, and the School of Social Work was formally established with Dr. Niles Carpenter as its dean. In the mid 1940s an undergraduate sequence in social work was re-instituted within the College of Arts and Sciences.

Keeping with its commitment to training social workers locally, in 1945, the School established a cooperative program with Syracuse University—called “University of Buffalo-Syracuse University Cooperative Program in Syracuse’—to help establish a program in social work in Syracuse. The Syracuse program became independent in 1956. The School instituted a number of other regional education programs in the 1940s and 1950s.

In 1987 a formal agreement was established with the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), whose social work education program was established in 1975. This agreement allows SUNY Buffalo graduate students, living and working in Rochester, to take a limited number of Social Work courses at the RIT for full graduate credit transferable to SUNY Buffalo.

As of 2003, the School maintains part-time MSW programs in Rochester, Corning, and Jamestown, New York.

Dr. Benjamin H. Lyndon replaced Carpenter as dean in 1956, holding that position until he resigned because of ill health in 1968. Dr. Franklin M. Zweig administered the department from 1968-1971, followed by Dr. Sherman Merle (until ~1979), Dr. Elizabeth Harvey (as Acting Dean until 1982, then Dean, 1982-1984), and Frederick W. Seid (1985-1997). Dr. Lawrence Shulman became dean of the School in 1998.

Since 1980, the School has expanded its programs and enrollment and added several research centers. Full- and part-time Masters of Social Work (MSW) programs are available for both regular and advanced-standing students. The dual-degree JD/MSW program, begun in 1987, is now open to advanced-standing students. The Ph.D. Program in Social Welfare, was established in 1994. And, in 2000, the School added a BA/MSW combined degree program for eligible University undergraduates.

The School maintains a number of community-based research and outreach centers, predominantly on the University’s south campus. The Center for Research on Urban Social Work Practice (CRUSWP) and the Research Center for Children and Youth (RCCY) are housed in Harriman Hall at the School’s South Campus Research Center. Projects at these Centers include a major Strengthening Families service and research effort working on decreasing inter-generational transmission of substance abuse and a project assessing the mental health needs of the Hispanic population living on the west side of Buffalo. The Institute for Nonprofit Agencies, a collaboration with the School of Management working to strengthen the infra-structure of community based agencies, the School of Social Work/Office of Mental Health Consortium, and the Office of Social Work Continuing Education and the Institute for Addiction Studies and Training are located in Parker Hall.


3.25 Linear Feet (7 boxes)


The SUNY at Buffalo School of Social Work Collection documents the history and activities of the School between 1985-1996, particularly the teaching and outreach functions of the School.


This collection is divided into two series: I. Committees and Groups and II. Course Offerings.

Acquisition Information

This collection's original accession number was 03-693.

Accruals and Additions

No further accruals are expected to this collection.

Related Resources

School of Social Work
Departmental History, Vertical File II-18
Niles Carpenter
Biographical File

Processing Information

Collection processed by Karen Walton, September 2003.

Finding Aid for the School of Social Work General records
Finding aid prepared by Karen Walton.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the University Archives Repository

420 Capen Hall
Buffalo New York 14260-1674 US
716-645-3714 (Fax)