“I hope that all of our graduating students feel comfortable articulating a career plan while also keeping an open mind about the almost endless opportunities to practice in different settings. The flexibility of a master’s of social work degree is an amazing gift. ”
Pitt-Catsouphes predicts that social workers will soon be tapped to lead interdisciplinary teams focused on solving complex social problems like unemployment, obesity, and homelessness. She co-founded the Center for Social Innovation in the School of Social Work in 2011 to pair researchers with community members to solve some of the most pressing challenges in the world.
“Social workers have always understood that solving complex social issues requires some training in psychology and public policy,” says Pitt-Catsouphes, who directed the doctoral program in the School of Social Work from 2015 to 2018. “But there’s a growing recognition that what might have seemed like a straightforward problem in the past reflects the kind of complexity that social workers have been trained to appreciate.”
Pitt-Catsouphes, who received her master’s degree from the School of Social Work in 1980, advises newly minted social workers to explore their professional options. Before she returned to the school in 1999, she founded the Work and Family Researchers Network, which facilitates collaboration among scholars who study the interplay between work and family, and served at the Tri-City Community Action Program, an agency dedicated to eradicating poverty in the Massachusetts towns of Malden, Medford, and Everett.
“I hope that all of our graduating students feel comfortable articulating a career plan while also keeping an open mind about the almost endless opportunities to practice in different settings,” says Pitt-Catsouphes. “The flexibility of a master’s of social work degree is an amazing gift.”
After she retires in June, Pitt-Catsouphes will be named a professor emerita. She plans to work closely with Gautam N. Yadama, dean of the School of Social Work, to find ways to stay connected to the university. Perhaps, she says, she will sit on the dissertation committee for a doctoral student, or contribute to a future research project pro bono.
Pitt-Catsouphes acknowledges that she will miss the culture of Boston College, which, she says, is rooted in a world view that calls community members to live in service to others.
“I’ve always felt that Boston College is as closely aligned to social justice as any university could get,” she says. “What better environment to work in?”