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The Nancy A. Humphreys Institute for Political Social Work

The next Campaign School for Social Workers will be held on Friday and Saturday, February 23-24, 2024. Registration will open on November 28, 2023. Find more information here.

Founded in 1995 by the late former UConn School of Social Work Dean Nancy A. Humphreys, The Nancy A. Humphreys Institute for Political Social Work works to increase the political participation and power of social workers and the communities they serve so public policy reflects our profession’s values and commitment to social justice. Our primary programming includes:

  • Nonpartisan voter engagement. We train students, communities, agencies, and the profession on the importance of voter turnout to healthy communities, organizational mission, and impact. We are co-founders of the National Social Work Voter Mobilization Campaign and the website. We are also members of the Hartford Votes~Votas Coalition and work with partners to increase voter engagement and turnout.
  • The Campaign School for Social Workers. Now in it's 28th year, the Campaign School for Social Workers has supported more than 2,600 students, social workers, and leaders on how to lead in policy and politics as volunteers, candidates, and advocates. Read more about the Campaign School 2024 and how to register.
  • Research. Our Research Advisory Committee includes faculty from across the country who collaborate on research related to political participation and voting as a social determinant of health.

Additionally, we support social work lobby and LEAD days, advocate for expanded voting rights and access, and support social workers to be more politically active.

About Our Director and Our Founder

tanya smith headshot

Tanya Rhodes Smith, MSW, is the Director of the Nancy A. Humphreys Institute for Political Social Work and Instructor in Residence in the Policy Practice concentration. She leads the Institute’s Campaign School for Social Workers, which has trained more than 2,500 students, social workers, and advocates from across the country to lead in politics; conducts research on voting as a social work intervention; works to build civic participation and political power in communities; teaches legislative advocacy and electoral politics; and advocates for expanded voting rights and access locally and nationally.   In 2015, she co-founded the National Social Work Voter Mobilization Campaign (“Voting is Social Work”), which works to integrate voter engagement into social work education and practice. She is a proud political social worker, voting rights advocate, and campaign leader. Her experience includes legislative and systems advocacy, community organizing, research, and leadership development.


Dr. Nancy A. Humphreys headshot

The late Nancy A. Humphreys, Ph.D., founded the Institute for Political Social Work at the University of Connecticut School of Social Work in 1995 to investigate ways that social workers can facilitate the political empowerment of clients as well as increase the number of social workers who are directly involved with electoral politics.

Humphreys had a long and accomplished professional history, and her academic work left an indelible mark here in the United States and abroad. She served as director of the School of Social Work at Michigan State University and dean at the University of Connecticut School of Social Work. Beginning in 1991, Humphreys worked with what is now the Republic of Armenia to establish social work education in that country.

Humphreys' teaching, mentorship, and leadership was instrumental in establishing political social work as an accepted area of practice and building a strong network of political social work leaders in Connecticut. She received numerous achievement awards, including the NASW Social Work Pioneer award, as well as an honorary doctorate from Yerevan State University.

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