CSU Service 1974 to 2012
Faculty, School of Social Work
Spouse since 6/13/1958: Nadine Harrison Sheafor
Son: Christopher W. Sheafor
Partner: Anne Machin
Granddaughter: Sara E. Sheafor
Grandson: Benjamin B. Sheafor
Grandson: Andrew R. Sheafor
Spouse: Diane Eckersley Sheafor
Great Grandson: Stephen C. Sheafor
Granddaughter: Megan A. Sheafor
Son: Perry D. Sheafor
Spouse: Terri Tutton Sheafor
Son: Brandon A. Sheafor
Spouse: Elizabeth DeSantis Sheafor
Granddaughter: Katherine M. Sheafor
Granddaughter: Miranda N. Sheafor
Daughter: Laura K. Sheafor Logsdon
Spouse: Kelley M. Logsdon
Grandson: Elvis Hsi-En Logsdon
Born and Grew Up: Topeka, Kansas
What schools did you attend: Lowman Hill Elementary School, Boswell Junior High School and Topeka High School
College: The University of Kansas
Degree: Business Administration
Master of Social Work: University of Kansas
Doctor of Philosophy: University of Denver
Why did you decide to attend graduate school?
I realized that I would not be happy in a career that was focused on money. I wanted the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of the more vulnerable people in our society and getting a master of social work degree seemed the best way to prepare myself for the work that most interested me. It is fair to say, however, that until the last few years I always carried administrative responsibilities and the skills I learned in the School of Business were put to good use.
What did you study and why?
I entered the profession of social work when it was somewhat in its adolescence. I had met some really outstanding social workers (both men and women) who did not fit the negative “do-gooder” stereotype of social workers. (But, after all, what is wrong with doing good?) I began wanting to work more for community and organizational change to address human problems, but also learned to work with individuals, families, and groups.
I came to appreciate the whole range of people with whom social workers can make a difference and the wide variety of skills required. I consider myself a “generalist” social worker able to address the range of systems from individual to the larger society.
Master’s thesis title: Community Emergence: A Case Study of Sunflower Village, Kansas
Dissertation title: The Relationship of Board-Staff Value Congruence and Professional Staff Morale in Community Mental Health Centers
Employment Prior to CSU
What was your employment/professional experience prior to coming to Colorado State University?
Deputy Probation Officer, Jackson County Juvenile Court, Kansas City, Missouri
Psychiatric Social Worker, Psychiatric Receiving Center, Kansas City, Missouri
Executive Director, Topeka (Kansas) Health and Welfare Planning Council
Lecturer, Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, Acting Chair, and Associate Dean, School of Social Welfare, University of Kansas
Please highlight any experiences that later affected your career path at CSU:
In 1964, I was paid a surprise visit to my office with the Topeka Health and Welfare Planning Council by the Dean of the University of Kansas’ School of Social Welfare. He offered me a two-year temporary appointment to give leadership to the development of a bachelor’s-level social work education program. I had never even considered employment in higher education as something for which I might be (or could become) qualified.
I took the job, the BSW program was successful, and my appointment morphed into a tenure-track position. I took leave for two years and completed my Ph.D. at the University of Denver where we fell in love with Colorado. I returned to the University of Kansas and served as Associate Dean, earned tenure, and then gave up tenure when offered the position of Director of the emerging BSW program at Colorado State University.
CSU Work History
What brought you to CSU?
The opportunity to serve as director of the emerging BSW program and, frankly, the opportunity to live in Fort Collins and Colorado.
What years were you at CSU?
What positions and departments?
Associate Professor, Professor, Director of Social Work Education Program (initially a division of the Department of Sociology and then an independent department)
Associate Dean, College of Professional Studies
Interim Dean, College of Applied Human Sciences (merging two colleges)
Associate Director, Human Factors Research Laboratory
Co-Director, Family and Youth Institute, College of Applied Human Sciences
Associate Dean for Research, College of Applied Human Sciences
What did you do at CSU?
Although serving in the above administrative roles, I always maintained at least a one-half time teaching, advising, scholarship, and service workload in the School of Social Work. When I decided to taper off my workload in anticipation of retirement, I found I was up-to-date in my profession and could readily return full-time to teaching and scholarship.
I’ll take the liberty to reframe the question to discuss “scholarship interests/pursuits” as to many people the term “research” suggests only the scientific method/number crunching/ grant funded type of scholarship. Scholarship can also relate to theory building, knowledge synthesis, creative work (in some disciplines), and preparing learning materials (such as textbooks) for student consumption.
My scholarly interests included:
- a substantial task-analysis study of social work practice,
- a Delphi study isolating the components of generalist and advanced generalist social work practice,
- a historical review of the emergence of baccalaureate social work education
- a primer on social work field instruction, and
- two popular textbooks with extensive instructor’s manuals and test banks.
Teaching and Mentoring
Despite spending many, many hours at a typewriter/computer screen, I’m fundamentally a people person. My greatest joys in my professional life come from interactions with students and professional colleagues.
If one has the capacity to delay gratification (e.g., see goals of improving the quality of life for vulnerable people through the work of students from my classes and the other 250,000+ students who have used my textbooks), being a professor in higher education must be the best of all possible jobs.
Although I am perhaps more “old school” in teaching style by depending more on lecture than some of my younger colleagues, I know my material thoroughly and am enough of a ham to have fun when engaged in classroom teaching—and, I think my students also enjoy my classes. To wit: I was honored as the College of Applied Human Sciences’ Outstanding Teacher Award based primarily on student recommendations.
Challenges and Rewards at CSU
My first big challenge was to lead an emerging social work education program, with few faculty members with any higher education experience, from a mediocre bachelors-level program to becoming one of the best known in the United States (now with master’s- and doctoral-level programs).
The program was funded initially by 75% federal money allocated to stimulate the development of social work education, with an agreement by CSU to absorb another 25% each three years until the program was completely university funded. Tough budget times (is anything new?) resulted in a choice between severely cutting the program or finding other funding sources and negotiating with government officials reductions in the expectations for the percent of university funding.
Through “creative budgeting” and the development of an early video-based off-campus program, the bachelor’s program not only survived, but flourished. Looking back on this time, the outcome is very rewarding.
The second major challenge was to serve as Interim Dean when two small colleges, the College of Professional Studies and the College of Human Resources Sciences (formerly Home Economics), were merged after a strategic planning exercise into one larger and more efficient and effective college.
With a requirement to reduce the budget by 5%, consolidate mergers of several programs and departments that were busily protecting their turf, building an identity for the new college (the College of Applied Human Sciences), competing for scarce resources of money and space, and terminating the employment of persons holding duplicate positions in the two colleges before the merger was indeed a challenge.
Twenty-six years later, I appreciate that the College is the second largest in the university in number of students, has strong education programs, is relatively OK in its funding base, and has a very competent faculty in each department/school. It was the hardest year of my professional career, but I feel good about getting the College off to a good start and am satisfied with where we have ended up.
What did you enjoy most about working at CSU?
Although I met my share of bad actors along the way, the abundance of really wonderful people (faculty, students, staff, and even administrators) with whom I had the privilege to work made this the best place I could imagine to work.
Having served in various prominent roles in social work education nationally, I had the opportunity visit many campuses to either review programs for accreditation decisions, make formal presentations, and/or evaluate and consult about program administration and social work curriculum development. There was never a time I came home thinking I’d rather be part of that faculty than to be at CSU.
In addition to the people, the environment in and around CSU has contributed to my enjoyment. Particularly through the efforts of President Albert Yates, the physical environment of the campus was transformed into much more pleasant surroundings and the aggressive building program of President Tony Frank has yielded improved classroom, office, and residence space.
CSU has doubled in number of students and Fort Collins has tripled in population since I arrived in 1974—and both have grown well. The variety and quality of human services have expanded, the arts (e.g., theatre, music, art, dance, opera) have grown exponentially, the Downtown/Old Town is one of the most vibrant anywhere, and the business elements of the community have been for the most part responsibly operated and very successful. It is no wonder that Fort Collins is high on so many “best places to live” lists.
Influences and Special Relationships
Who were the people who had the greatest influence on you at CSU?
Having been at CSU over thirty-eight years, there are too many people who influenced me to mention. I came to social work and CSU having already been mentored by several important people in my professional life, and virtually all faculty/students/staff/and administrators with whom I have worked and mentored have influenced me. Hopefully these were two-way influences.
Other special/memorable experiences/relationships that shaped your CSU experiences:
I have especially appreciated the opportunities provided by CSU’s Department of Health and Exercise Science Noon Hour recreation program. I have written a section in one of my textbooks entitled “A Fitness Program for the Social Worker” that identifies:
- the importance of friendships and community,
- maintaining a positive sense of self-worth and a strong self-image,
- attending to your own physical and emotional well-being,
- engaging in life-long learning,
- being sensitive to religion and spirituality (if that is important in your life), and
- giving expression to your artistic and creative interests.
I’ve appreciated that I could address my physical/emotional fitness needs by a short visit several times a week to play handball or racquetball, while losing no more time than going to lunch. What’s more, given the tendency of faculty members to interact mainly with their own colleagues (the silo effect), the opportunity to interact with interesting people from across the campus was an added benefit.
One thing that attracted me to CSU in 1974 was the University’s interest in distance education. A plan I had developed at the University of Kansas to combine video-based instruction with face-to-face processing of the video materials by local social workers had not been supported at that institution, but was embraced by CSU.
With support from a Kellogg Foundation grant and a significant contribution of time and talent from the Division of Instructional Services, we succeeded in developing and testing an “Introduction to Social Work” course that we offered to human services providers in two sites on the Western Slope of Colorado and two sites in rural Montana.
We carefully edited videotaped panel discussions and interviews with over forty social workers from throughout the United States, as well as developing several video case studies in collaboration with the late Porter Woods, then Director of Theatre at CSU. Student learning off-campus proved to be comparable to the learning of on-campus classroom students.
Among my most substantial scholarly products were:
- Co-developed the methodology and conducted several task analysis studies of social work practice throughout the United States with a combined sample size of 12,000 social workers. (With Robert J. Teare, Practice-Sensitive Social Work Education: An Empirical Analysis of Social Work Practice and Practitioners, Council on Social Work Education.)
- Co-edited the first comprehensive book on learning and teaching through social work internships and field instruction. (With Lowell E. Jenkins, Quality Field Instruction in Social Work: Program Development and Maintenance, Longman, Inc.)
- Co-authored perhaps the most comprehensive history of baccalaureate-level social work education to date. (With Barbara W. Shank, Undergraduate Social Work Education: A Survivor in a Changing Profession, University of Texas at Austin Monograph Series.)
- Co-authored the first introductory text in social work focusing on what is common to all expressions of social work and descriptions of the most vulnerable population groups and social workers’ responsibilities to address that vulnerability. (With Armando T. Morales [and later Malcolm E. Scott], Social Work: A Profession of Many Faces, Allyn and Bacon/Pearson, 12 editions.)
- Co-authored a social work practice text focused on helping students identify specific techniques required for becoming effective social workers. (With Charles R. Horejsi, Techniques and Guidelines for Social Work Practice, Allyn and Bacon/Pearson, 9 editions with one edition translated into Korean.)
- Co-authored what is now considered a seminal article conceptually identifying distinctions between generalist/advanced generalist social work and the various specialized approaches to social work practice. (With Mona Schatz and Lowell Jenkins, Journal of Social Work Education)
In addition to developing the video-based off-campus course described above, I was primarily responsible for developing two innovative campus courses.
One was an introduction to the “Principles and Philosophy of Social Work” for new MSW students who had not completed a BSW social work program. Originally designed as a 1st semester course in the two-year MSW program, we soon found that students needed this overview before they enrolled in their other 1st semester courses. Modeled after the “Block Plan” successfully used at Colorado College, a two-week intensive three credit course was developed and has consistently achieved high student evaluations for over 30 years.
The second course was to help advanced MSW students develop skills in empirically measuring client change in the conditions being addressed by social workers. I have taught this two-semester, four credit course measuring change in individuals, families, and groups for 20 years and assisted more that 200 students to generate and defend their professional papers as a final step in completing their master’s degrees.
Community and professional service activities enriched my teaching and writing. Some representative activities included serving as:
- President of Fort Collins United Way
- Program Evaluator for the Fort Collins Family Support Alliance;
- Advisory Committee member for the Colorado Department of Human Services’ Child Welfare Workforce Committee
- Advisory Board member for the Colorado Department of Health Violence Prevention Committee
- board member and grant committee chair for the CLASS Foundation;
- Consulting Editor for the Social Work/Family Therapy Division of Allyn and Bacon, Publishers
- Examination Committee member of the Association of Social Work (licensing) Boards
- Consultant to the National Association of Social Workers’ Center for Workforce Studies and chair of the Academy of Certified Social Workers Test Blueprint Committee
- President of the Council on Social Work Education
- CSWE’s Senior Scholar (developing a plan for its Leadership Development Institute)
- CSWE’s representative to the National Consortium on Inter-professional Practice and Education.
I also had the privilege to serve as a Fulbright Lecturer at Massey University (New Zealand), Visiting Fellow at the University of Canberra (Australia), and CSU’s coordinator of a faculty exchange contract with Universidad de Atacama (Chile). I further had the opportunity to represent the United States on the Board of Directors for the International Association of Schools of Social Work.
Highlights and Awards
Two things have become apparent to me regarding awards and honors.
- When someone stays at a university and in a professional field long enough, many of his/her mistakes are forgotten and it is the successes that are remembered and rewarded.
- When someone decides to champion someone’s candidacy for awards and honors (in my case by Deborah Valentine, Director of the School of Social Work) and the basic dossier of supporting materials are carefully prepared (by Gretchen Gerding in the College of Applied Human Sciences), it is much more time-efficient to nominate the person for subsequent awards and the collection of awards tends to over-represent the person’s accomplishments.
Nevertheless, it has been an honor to receive several such recognitions from both my profession and my university, including:
- Outstanding Alumnus Award, University of Kansas
- Distinguished Professional Service Award, University of Denver
- Federico Award for Excellence in Social Work Education
- Outstanding Service to Baccalaureate Social Work Education Award, Baccalaureate Program Directors Association
- Superior Service Award, CSU College of Applied Human Sciences
- Outstanding Service to Study Abroad Programs, CSU Office of International Programs
- Outstanding Teacher Award, CSU College of Applied Human Sciences
- Outstanding Contributions to the Protection of the Public Award, Association of Social Work (licensing) Boards
- Oliver Pennock Distinguished Service Award, Colorado State University
- Distinguished Professor Award, CSU Alumni Association
- Lifetime Achievement in Social Work Education Award, Council on Social Work Education
- “Social Work Pioneer” designation, National Association of Social Workers
Buildings and Significant Places on Campus
What buildings did you work in?
With various teaching and administrative positions, along with disruptions from floods and remodeling, my offices were in many CSU buildings including the Clark Building, Eddy Building, Gibbons Building, Gifford Building, CSU Administration Building, Industrial Sciences Building, and the Education Building.
What was the campus like when you first came to CSU:
I arrived just a few years after “Old Main” burned, but people were still in shock that that could have happened on the CSU campus. However, the physical aspects of the campus were in transition with the Anatomy-Zoology building, University Village West, Gifford Building, Visual Arts Building, Natural Resources Building, and the Pathology Building either newly completed or under construction. Although enrollment growth was restricted by the Colorado Legislature, the campus was prepping for the growth that was to follow.
Favorite or significant places for you on campus:
My most memorable event related to the physical campus was the flood of 1997. As usual, I was maintaining two offices—one in the Department of Social Work (Education Building) where I kept materials for my teaching and scholarship activities, and one in the College of Applied Human Sciences (Gibbons Building) where I performed the functions of Associate Dean for Research.
Both buildings were located in the path of the flood. Heading first for the Gibbons Building on the morning following the flooding, I knew much of my working materials were lost when I observed several boats being propelled across the Oval and a water line about 10 feet above ground level in my office. My computer, pictures, files, and office equipment were all lost.
I fared a little better in the Education Building where the water damage was contained in the “Garden Level” (i.e., the basement) and only seldom used books, various records, and a collection of videotapes I had made were stored. Many on campus lost much more. Because the buildings were closed until they could be properly cleaned, decontaminated, and renovated, I had a somewhat nomadic life using temporary offices and classrooms for the next year.
Events that Shaped Work
While at CSU for over thirty-eight years there were many events that shaped my work.
Perhaps more than faculty members in many disciplines, as a social worker helping students learn to serve the most vulnerable people in our society through my teaching and writing, my work was affected by changing social policies and programs based on the rise and fall of different political ideologies and available resources to implement needed social programs.
Also, as an administrator, helping faculty members find the resources to carry out their work and further enhance their own knowledge and skills changing national and world conditions presented a similar moving target.
Changes to University During Career
The University has grown substantially in size and status during these years. The number of students has doubled and campus facilities for residence halls, instruction, and research continue to be stretched to the maximum. Overall, I believe that although the University has grown rapidly, from a quality of education perspective it has grown well.
Nevertheless, the University has experienced a serious transition in its funding sources that I do not consider favorable. Twenty years ago 2/3 of the general fund resources were supplied by the state and 1/3 by students and their families. Now, not only has that ratio reversed, but the amount of state funding as dramatically decreased placing excessive pressure for financing the education of students on the students themselves (and their families).
This shift has increased the need for the University to compete for dollars from federal/state/ industry/foundations/alumni sources to maintain existing programs and break new ground for innovative programs. The joke (not necessarily funny) is that we have gone from a “state university,” to a “state supported university,” to a “state located university.”
The trend appears that we one day may be a privatized “state named university.” When this “get grants or go” philosophy is combined with the “publish or perish” philosophy in an upwardly striving university, faculty appear to increasingly retreat to their shuttered offices and labs to decrease distractions and increase scholarly output.
The downside that I observe is that the combination of “generating external funding” and “raising the academic bar” places a premium on faculty members increasingly distancing themselves from students—especially undergraduate students.. Although students pay more to attend CSU, they get less individual faculty attention.
Changes to Fort Collins
Fort Collins has tripled in size, but has grown well. Unlike many “university towns,” Fort Collins has a diversified economic base that has allowed it to weather the ups and downs of any industry. Of particular note has been the development and redevelopment of the Old Town area.
A vibrant downtown with many high quality restaurants and specialty shops in a relatively small city is a luxury. The farsighted leadership of the downtown business groups that support the development of the arts, attract sporting events, and work productively with the University and its students to minimize town/gown issues should be credited for much of what Fort Collins has become.
Of particular note is change in the diversity of the population. While still essentially a white middle-class population, there is increased richness in the racial/cultural/ethnic mix within Fort Collins. That is not to say that there are not continuing tensions generated from extremist positions based on race, gender, sexual orientation, and religious differences, but in my view Fort Collins has become a more tolerant community. Perhaps the next step will be to move from “tolerating” to “embracing” our diversity.
Significance of Land-Grant Universities
Unlike most social workers who express their orientation toward serving vulnerable populations by beginning their services with individuals and families and then secondarily addressing human problems exacerbated by organizations and community programs and policies, my orientation has been to begin at the community level with an eye toward preventing individual and family issues from occurring in the first place.
Although social work was not a profession when the land-grant philosophy was first established and is not typically recognized as one of the primary land-grant disciplines, when I match my interests as a social worker with the land-grant philosophy I find a good fit.
The land-grant orientation to the “common man (or woman),” the provision of services at the community/county level throughout the state, and the focus on developing knowledge and skills that can be applied to address real world problems (whether related to agriculture, forestry, or peoples’ quality of life) is indeed an umbrella under which social work has a good fit.
It is comforting to know that my former students are providing important human services in both urban and rural areas throughout Colorado, the United States, and several foreign countries.
Important University Issues
- How will the University balance the need for external dollars to maintain programs and still maintain sufficient focus on instruction and undergraduate education?
- How will the University balance expectations to prepare students with a general knowledge base and critical thinking skills (i.e., education) with the increasing demand for preparation for specific jobs (i.e., training)?
- How will the University balance the scholarship of synthesizing and transmitting existing knowledge to students and the residents of Colorado with the important marketing appeal of focusing on invention and developing and cutting-edge knowledge.
- How will the University balance appealing to students through campus amenities (e.g., apartment-like residence halls, recreation facilities) and successful sports programs versus student-oriented faculty and academic programs?
- How will the university develop a reward system for faculty that supports depth in one’s discipline, yet encourages interdisciplinary collaboration?
- How will the university secure and retain sufficient diversity among students and faculty to continue to be relevant in an increasingly diverse and fractured world.
- How will the University maintain stability and long-term service from faculty when the tenure system is eroding and instruction is increasingly performed by a part-time, adjunct, temporary faculty?
What is Brad doing today?
Many old-timers will remember Charles Neidt, Academic Vice-President at CSU for many years. After his retirement his wife, Martha, commented that “Chuck succeeded at everything in life—except retirement.” I certainly did not have Chuck’s success rate, but I’m also a slow learner when it comes to retirement. I think when you enjoy your work it is hard to stop “cold turkey.”
I delayed facing retirement from May through September while I completed teaching an off-campus research course and guided nine students through the defenses of their research projects. Although I dropped one of my textbooks (after 12 editions), my colleague in Montana and I have agreed to prepare a 10th edition of my other text, plus I’m serving on a couple of search committees for the School of Social Work. Nadine and I have been able to add some additional travel to our lives with a recent trip to Barcelona and visits to our children and grandchildren in Los Angeles and Helena, Montana.