NASW Foundation National Programs
NASW Social Work Pioneers®
Dorothy Schroeder (1905-1990)
Dorothy Schroeder built on her background in child guidance as a Girl Scout executive to become an outstanding teacher of human growth and development and psychiatric social work practice. Born in Brooklyn, New York, she received a bachelor's degree in 1927 from Vassar College, and her master of social work degree in 1936 from Smith College.
Before going to Smith College, she had been a local director in the White Plains, New York Girl Scouts. After graduating from Smith College, she worked in mental hygiene programs in Connecticut in the late 1930s and 1940's and then became assistant director of the Cleveland Guidance Center in 1947. In 1951, she joined faculty of the School of Social Work at the University of Michigan where she taught for about twenty years.
Schroeder was one of the people who helped develop the new curriculum of human growth and development taught by social workers with an emphasis on social aspects of the life cycles in contrast to the "psychiatric information courses." She was active in professional groups: she was a member of the Accreditation Commission of the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), Chair of the CSWE Committee on Revision of Psychiatric Social Work Programs, she also served on several advisory groups for the National Institute of Mental Health. In addition, she was the Chair of the Psychiatric Social Work Section of NASW, and Chair of several study groups for the American OrthoPsychiatric Association. After her retirement from the University of Michigan, she moved to Pompano Beach, Florida, where she taught in the School of Social Work for several years at Barry College.