Professor Elizabeth M. Tracy Retires After 30 Years of Service

Image of Elizabeth M. Tracy, PhD

Elizabeth M. Tracy is the Grace Longwell Coyle Professor in Social Work at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences. For the last 30 years, Dr. Tracy has taught courses in direct social work practice theory and methods in the master level program and a seminar in social work education and teaching in the doctoral program. Dr. Tracy’s research focus has been the development and evaluation of social work practice models and methods which support families, make use of natural helping networks, and incorporate environmental helping strategies. Her scholarly work has focused on clinically useful ways to assess social support and social networks, the development of key practice skills for social network interventions, and the role of social network and other environmental helping strategies in program implementation.

Her leadership has been felt in every part of the Mandel School. As evidenced by her receiving the John Yankey Teaching Award twice, she has been an outstanding teacher. “I have been impressed by her dedication to her students in the MSSA and PhD programs. Her leadership in teaching in our online MSSA format has been very important. Her scholarship also has been outstanding and has brought much positive attention to the Mandel School as evidenced by her being chosen as a leader of a Grand Challenge initiative,” notes Dean Gilmore. Betsy’s calm and authoritative leadership as the Doctoral Chair and most recently as the Associate Dean of Research and Training elevated significantly the Doctoral program and the school’s research profile.

The body of her work on social networks and social support has been applied by other researchers to family preservation programs, residential settings for youth, early intervention, and community mental health case management programs. . Drawing on her practice experience with social network interventions, she co-authored a social work practice text “Person-environment practice: The social ecology of interpersonal helping” which addresses a core but long neglected dimension in social work – environmental assessment and intervention. Dr. Tracy’s interest in the role of supportive relationships coincides with her study of services to strengthen and support families within the child welfare system. She has a family centered practice text published by Columbia University Press, “Social Work Practice with Children and Families”, the purpose of which is to help social work students and practitioners understand and work with vulnerable families and children, and intervene at multiple levels and with different systems. She also has co-edited a book on Delivering Home-Based Services: A Social Work Perspective.

She recently served as Principal Investigator of a NIDA funded R01 longitudinal study examining the “Role of social networks in post treatment functioning”, a study carried out in three substance abuse treatment programs for women in Cleveland.