Dr. Barbara W. Shank graduated from Macalester College with a BA in sociology and then earned her MSW and Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota.
She has been engaged in social work administration for more than 30 years, starting as BSW field coordinator and BSW program director. She is the founding dean and professor of the School of Social Work at St. Catherine University and the University of St. Thomas.
Her scholarship and research interests include sexual harassment in the workplace and academe, social work curriculum, program development and assessment, and “teaching to mission.”
Shank has served the Association of Baccalaureate Social Work Program Directors as program and conference chair; the National Association of Deans and Directors of Schools of Social Work (NADD) as president, vice president/program chair, and treasurer; the International Consortium on Social Development (ICSD) as newsletter editor; the International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW) as chair of the Women's Interest Group; the National Association of Social Workers–Minnesota Chapter as president and secretary; the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) as commissioner on the Commissions of Accreditation, Educational Policy, Global Education, and Information Management and Research; and has also served CSWE as a certified site visitor.
In the spring of 2016, Shank was awarded the Significant Lifetime Achievement in Baccalaureate Social Work Education Award from the Association of Baccalaureate Social Work Program Directors, Inc. (BPD), which acknowledges a baccalaureate social work educator's achievement over his or her entire career. In 2015, she was inducted as a Social Work Pioneer by the National Association of Social Workers (NASW).
Shank currently serves as chair of the Board of Directors of CSWE; president of ICSD; member of the Board of Directors of IASSW; co-chair of the International Task Force of NADD; convener of the Catholic Deans’ and the BSW Catholic Program Directors’ Collaboratives; and as a participating observer on the Board of Trustees of Catholic Charities USA.