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Social Work Chair to receive NDSTA career achievement award

VERMILLION, S.D. -- The National Staff Development and Training Association, an affiliate of American Public Human Services Association, has chosen Michael Lawler, Ph.D., of the University of South Dakota to receive the organization’s "Career Achievement” award at the NDSTA's annual conference in Madison, Wis., Oct. 18.

Lawler, chair of the USD Department of Social Work since September 2010, is being honored for achievements throughout his distinguished career, including the development of several social programs as well as his dedication to education and training.

“This award is given in recognition of the outstanding work Michael has done throughout his career in educating and supporting the efforts to educate public human services staff," stated Rose Marie Wentz NSDTA Awards Chair

Prior to USD, Lawler was director of the Center for Human Services, co-director of the Center for Public Policy Research and department chair at University of California-Davis Extension. In addition to being the principal investigator for a number of federal, state, tribal and county grants, Lawler developed several outreach, education and research centers at UC Davis to address social welfare policy and practice. He earned degrees a Ph.D. in human development from UC Davis, a master’s degree from UC Berkeley, a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Lewis and Clark College, and he is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. He and his wife, Kimberly, have an adult son who is currently attending college.

A photo of Michael is available for download at


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 78 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.

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Hanna DeLange
USD News