Campaign School 2023 group photo

The Nancy A. Humphreys Institute for Political Social Work

The next Campaign School for Social Workers will be held February 24-25, 2024. Registration will open November 28, 2023.

The Nancy A. Humphreys Institute for Political Social Work was founded in 1995 by the late former UConn School of Social Work Dean Nancy A. Humphreys, who believed that social workers belong in politics. From direct practice with individuals and groups to community organizing and policy development, social workers understand how policy impacts people and communities, and we are uniquely positioned to support the political voices and power of those we serve. 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. Using a participatory research approach, we are co-adapting our Voter Engagement Model for schools of social work for other populations, including those who have been formerly incarcerated.
  • Voting rights and access. We work in Connecticut and nationally to expand voting rights and access, including for those who are currently incarcerated.

Additionally, we support social work lobby and LEAD days, support social workers to be more politically active in state and local politics, and work to expand voter education and turnout in Hartford, CT.

About Our Director and Our Founder

Humphreys Institute Director Tanya Rhodes Smith

Tanya Rhodes Smith, Director
(959) 200-3631

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 thousands of students, social workers, and advocates from across the country to be more politically active; 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. 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. 


Nancy A. Humphreys

Nancy A. Humphreys, Founder

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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