NASW Foundation National Programs
NASW Social Work Pioneers®
Millie McClelland Charles
Millie Charles has greatly impacted the field of health/mental health through her leadership in the founding and guiding of the Southern University of New Orleans School of Social Work (BSW and MSW programs) into fully accredited programs providing opportunity for professional development to countless students. She is currently Dean of this social work program.
The founding of Southern University in New Orleans was a highly political event when it took place at the height of the Civil Rights Movement, reportedly to discourage black students from attending the predominately white University of New Orleans, located less than a mile away.
Millie Charles ability in ultimately taking the handful of social work courses taught at the University of New Orleans which were transferred to Southern University of New Orleans and subsequently expanding on them and developing them into fully accredited BSW and MSW programs is considered somewhat of a miracle in New Orleans. The high caliber Programs have attracted a well-credentialed, culturally diverse faculty; the student population is now well integrated also.
Dean Charles interests in social work education go far beyond just working in the state of Louisiana. She has served as the Co-Chair, Council on Social Work Education Annual Meeting; a Member of the CSWE Committee on Undergraduate Curriculum Standards; and a Site Visitor for the CSWE Accreditation Commission. In addition, since 1972, she has consulted with numerous Undergraduate and Graduate Social Work Programs around the U.S., advising them on Curricula.
Millie Charles has received numerous awards. Some of them are: National Social Worker of the Year (NASW) 1975; Humanitarian of the Year, Federal Women Employees Association 1975; Founders Award, New Orleans Chapter, National Association of Black Social Workers, 1979; Doctor of Humane Letters, Dillard University, 1993; and she also was one of four women honored by the New Orleans YWCA for lifetime of service to the community.
Social Work Pioneer - 1995