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William J Reid

Social Work Pioneer



William J. Reid was a social work scholar and founding editor of the NASW Press

Journal Social Work Research. Reid was a distinguished professor in the University of

Albany, State University of New Yorks's School of Social Welfare, where he had chaired

the doctoral program since 1985. He was a recognized scholar in the social work practice.

Reid received his BSW and MSW from the University of Michigan in 1950 and

1952 and earned his Doctor of Social Welfare degree from Columbia University in 1963.

He served in the Army as a psychiatric social worker and then held academic posts at

Columbia University, the University of Chicago and Albany.

Reid was well known for the developing of the task-centered practice model, which

he wrote a comprehensive book about. The Task Planner, was a-to-z set of task planners

for more than one hundred psychosocial problems from alcoholism and anxiety to

domestic violence and sexual abuse. It included a guide and resource material like, a

menu of action the client can undertake to effect problem resolution, a clear step by step

guide to the practitioner's role in facilitating these actions, a glossary of procedures for

human service professionals and a CD-ROM for computer usage.

The techniques found in The Task Planner, present clients with specific tasks for

helping resolve their problems. Clients are actively involved in reaching their own solutions

or coping mechanisms, both on their own and in treatment sessions, giving them a sense

of empowerment.

The practice model is widely used as a basis for delivering and managing social

work services. The model brought about a shift in the approach to service delivery and

stressed the value of short term interventions and a focus on achievable tasks.

William J Reid also wrote the book, Educational Supervision in Social Work. In the

book, Reid focused on writing theories about the priniciples and purposes of educational

supervision. It has been proven difficult to translate these ideas into a coherent model of

supervisory practice. It is a comprehensive analysis that examines the history and

principles of and presents an in depth discussion of its practical implementation, including

detailed case vignettes interspersed throughout, providing concrete examples of p;utting

theory into practice.

Reid also wrote an article, The Role of Science in Social Work, which was an age-

old debate about the role of science in social work has intensified with the growth of

scientific activities and the emergence of philosophically based criticisms of prevailing

scientific paradigms. Some issues included: constructionist challenges to the role of

research in validating social work knowledge, divisions over whether there is enough

credible scientific knowledge to make a difference in practice, nad properly utilizing the

controverises by applying research methods in practice.

In findings, Reid thought that scientific methods were likely to provide superior

knowledge, because they have evolved to become humankind's most powerful form of

enquiry. Enough research does exist to make a difference in practice, and there are

means to enable its dissemination and utilization. A number of these methods can be

productively used in practice.

For all that Reid accomplished in his career, he was awarded every major research

prize in social work including the George Herbert Jones Professorship at the University of

Chicago, the Award for Excellence in Research from the National Association of Social

Workers and the Distinguished...
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