Mit Joyner Wants Greater Unity Among Social Workers

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Mildred “Mit” Joyner has thrown her hat into the ring seeking the vice presidency of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW).  The former president and board chair of the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) recently retired from academia after a distinguished 25-year career at West Chester University in Pennsylvania where she was professor of social work and chaired the baccalaureate social work program.  Now she is itching to get back in the game and use the leadership skills she has honed for decades as an educator, administrator and community activists to promote the profession she loves.  “Several people encouraged me to seek the position,” Joyner recalled.  “My first reaction was to decline and then I thought about it and decided to throw my hat into the ring.”

Having provided national leadership for CSWE, Joyner believes she can be an effective leader for the nation’s largest social work organization by working to bring social workers together across all lines.  “I have worked with many organizations over the years and have developed relationships with key people and that will help me work with President Darrell Wheeler to bring people together and strengthen our profession,” she stated.  “I love working with people and building alliances that result in empowerment especially for those who are most vulnerable in our society.  Eradicating the “ism’s” has been and is still is my life goal, which is why I continue to serve on boards and committees that have like missions.”


Since her retirement from West Chester University, Joyner has stayed busy managing her business, MCJ Consultants, which provides technical assistants to organizations and supervision for clinical social workers or those obtaining an LCSW who are in need of supportive supervision.  She has served as a director of DNB First, a Chester County bank for nearly a decade, the first African American woman on the DNB board of directors.  She is a founding board member of the Congressional Research Institute for Social Work and Policy (CRISP) and also serves on the board of directors of the Chester County Food Bank which is committed to alleviating hunger in Chester County, PA.

Joyner began her social work career after earning her MSW degree from Howard University School of Social Work in Administration, Planning and Policy.  After five years with the Chester County Department of Children, Youth and Families, she moved to West Chester University and became nationally recognized for her work in gerontology social work education.  In 2005, the Association for Gerontology in Social Work established a scholarship in her honor—the Mit Joyner Gerontology Leadership Award—for undergraduate faculty and students.   She also served as a board member for the Institute for Geriatric Social Work.

Her research interests extended beyond gerontology into areas of child abuse and diversity issues.  She is the co-author of Critical Multicultural Social Work published in 2008 by Lyceum Books.  She was recognized for her leadership in the social work profession by being named as a NASW Pioneer in 2013, having also served as president of the Association of Baccalaureate Social Work Programs (BPD), and chair of Living Beyond Breast Cancer, a national education and support organization whose goal is to improve the quality of life for women affected by breast cancer.  Now she wants to put her leadership skills to work again for the profession she loves.

“I want to be part of an effort to bring more unity to the social work profession,” she offered.  “Every social worker should want to be a member of NASW.  There is so much more we could accomplish by working together.  If we able to speak as an entire voice as social workers we would have significant political power.  It could make the difference in getting the Social Work Reinvestment Act passed.  If every social worker would advocate on behalf of this important legislation, if they would visit the district offices of their member of Congress, if they could rally their clients, do you realize how powerful we could be?  The more we are able to partner with people of like minds—people working to improve their communities, the more powerful we will be as social workers.”

Joyner was particularly impressed by the compassion displayed by NBA Oklahoma Thunder player Russell Westbrook who gave away the car he received as the Most Valuable Player in the NBA All-Star game to a 19-year-old mother of two that provided her with the transportation she needed to get her children to daycare and herself to school.  “Imagine if social work could find a way to work with Westbrook and his foundation, how much we could accomplish working together.”

Voting for the elected leadership of NASW ends on April 30, 2015.

Written By Charles E. Lewis Jr., Ph.D

Mit Joyner Wants Greater Unity Among Social Workers was originally published @ Congressional Research Institute for Social Work and Policy » Charles Lewis and has been syndicated with permission.


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