June 28, 2010 – – Marilyn Luptak, a JA Hartford Faculty Scholar in Geriatric Social Work and an assistant professor at the University of Utah College of Social Work, was awarded the 2010 Mary Shields McPhee Memorial Award for Faculty Excellence. The annual award recognizes faculty who excel in the area of teaching, research, or community service.
Jannah Mather, dean of the College of Social Work, presented the award to Luptak during the College’s spring convocation ceremony. “Marilyn was selected specifically for her outstanding work in curriculum development, mentoring, and of course, teaching,” said Mather. “Through her words and actions, she consistently models the core values of social work – recognizing individual worth and the importance of relationships, striving for the greatest integrity, and working toward social justice through service. Her extensive research and clinical experience help make her a tremendous resource to her students.”
Luptak’s practice and research have long focused on gerontological social work, so she was asked to take on a leadership role in the development of a graduate-level emphasis on aging. She helped create new aging-specific courses to supplement her own course, Social Work with Older Adults. She sought and was awarded a two-year grant to help launch the aging emphasis program, which is scheduled to begin this fall and will be directed by Luptak. Her work with older adults was also recognized when, in 2008, she was selected to be a JA Hartford Faculty Scholar in Geriatric Social Work, one of the most highly regarded scholarly programs in the country. Although she is often praised for the quality and volume of her research, she is even more frequently praised by the students she teaches.
“My intent is always to engage students in the process of critical thinking, both inside and outside the classroom” said Luptak. By using an interactive, hands-on approach, Luptak helps students link relevant theoretical concepts and the latest research to real practice experiences.
“Students described Marilyn as a very knowledgeable, passionate, and engaging teacher who is always available to offer extra help,” said Mather. “They refer to her classes as a safe space, where they can openly discuss difficult issues around course content or their clinical internships. Social work is a very challenging career, so it is important for students to realize their instructors want them to learn and to succeed. Marilyn not only conveys this message, but helps make it happen.”
The Mary Shields McPhee Memorial Award for Faculty Excellence was established in 1993 by Professor Emeritus William McPhee in honor of his late wife. Award recipients are nominated by faculty peers, selected by the dean of the College of Social Work, and honored with a plaque and a cash prize.