It has been a busy couple of years for 97-year-old Professor Emeritus Alfred Kadushin, one of the most well-known and beloved faculty members in the history of UW—Madison’s School of Social Work. Professor Kadushin has not one but two books coming out this year. Co-authored with his daughter, Goldie Kadushin, Professor of Social Work at UW—Milwaukee’s School of Social Welfare, the fifth edition of his classic and widely used textbook, The Social Work Interview, just came out in May. In addition to this accomplishment, a new edition of Supervision in Social Work, co-authored with Idaho State University Professor Daniel Harkness, will also be released later this year (both books published by Columbia University Press).
Professor Kadushin joined the UW—Madison School of Social Work faculty in 1950. Although he officially retired in 1986, he continued working at the school until 1991. For many years, Professor Kadushin has been a strong supporter and frequenter of the UW—Madison Social Work Library. He has made significant donations in support of the library and could often be found there doing research for the many influential books and articles he has published for the profession over the years. “Libraries are really Al’s passion,” said Mel Morgenbesser, Clinical Professor Emeritus at UW—Madison’s School of Social Work, “Many years ago, after he returned from his first trip to China, I asked him what the first thing he did was. He looked at me sheepishly and said, ‘I got a cab and went to the main library.’”
Many of Professor Kadushin’s life experiences have ignited his passion for social work. Living in Harlem during the depression provided him with an unparalleled education in social dynamics, oppression, and discrimination. His time in the army during World War II also led him towards the path of social work. As an Information & Education Officer, he held discussions with diverse groups of army members, engaging them in conversations about the personal and interpersonal aspects of the war effort.
After serving in the army, Professor Kadushin enrolled in NYU’s School of Social Work. Although “social work” was not a new concept, it was still being developed as a profession at this time. Professor Kadushin was concerned about the poor level of scholarship available about the profession and realized that it was vital to develop a research-based technology to provide social workers with proper education and training. Once he graduated and got a job in the field, he realized that his education had not adequately prepared him for comfortably doing the job. This confirmed his idea that what he needed to focus on was the professionalization of social work. He was intrigued by this prospect and dove head first into working towards this objective.
Professor Kadushin has devoted his life’s work to the development and increased professionalization of social work. Over the course of sixty years, this goal has been achieved in many ways—with the proliferation of educational establishments offering social work programs and degrees, and the increase in quality through licensing and registration—but as Professor Kadushin sees it, there is still room for improvement. With the publication of two books this year, it is clear his work is not done. Through his teaching, research, advocacy work, and in large part due to his textbooks, he has contributed to the betterment of the profession and the education of current and upcoming social workers across the country and the world.
Inside the Social Work Library’s copy of The Social Work Interview, Professor Kadushin expressed his gratitude for the library and its director with a hand-written inscription: “To Jane Linzmeyer, a preeminent, outstanding librarian. In sincere appreciation of her unstinting and efficient help in contributing to the successful completion of this publication.” Jane worked with Professor Kadushin for many months to gather references for the book and said that he once told her he would be happy to die in the stacks of the Social Work Library. Jane laughed and said, “Please, not on my watch!”