The Nevada Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers awarded its most distinguished honor to Eric Albers at its annual meeting earlier this month.
"Receiving this award was a total surprise to me," said Albers, an associate professor in the University of Nevada, Reno's School of Social Work. "It is an honor to be recognized for the work and achievements that have spanned my career."
Albers is passionate about social work and the land grant mission of the University.
"My general philosophy from the beginning has been that service is very important," Albers said. "I love the land grant mission of the University because it allows me to provide important services to the community and state and then bring it back to the classroom to educate students with the most relevant and up-to-date information based on what is happening in the real world. This mission prepares students to be better practitioners after graduation."
"Eric is a tremendously popular teacher," fellow School of Social Work faculty member Susan Chandler said. "Students love the depth of experience he brings to the classroom and his willingness to engage students in discussion of challenging and controversial issues." When the award was announced at the National Association of Social Work Awards Luncheon there was heartfelt and long applause, much of it from former students.
Albers said he is inspired by his students.
"The most rewarding thing about all of this is the opportunity to be surrounded by students and then work directly with them in a leadership role after they graduate," Albers said. "I see the great work they are doing and I know that we are all making a difference in someone's life."
Albers has served in several meaningful roles since his career in social work began. He helped found the master's of social work program at the University in the late 1980s. He was appointed by Nevada's Gov. Robert Miller to chair the State Welfare Board. He also served as president to the board to the Crisis Call Center. In addition, Nevada Gov. Kenny Guinn appointed him to the Commission on Mental Health and Developmental Services. He is serving his third term and is the vice-chair.
"I am committed to assisting individuals that are vulnerable," Albers said. "I want to see social justice dealt with accurately and that these individuals are provided with a voice."
Additionally, Albers is the chair for the Lakes Crossing Local Governing Board. Lake Crossing is a facility for the incarcerated mentally ill awaiting a competency hearing. He is also chair of the Local Governing Board for Northern Nevada Adult Mental Health Service (NNAMHS) hospital. He has also recently served upon the request of the State of Nevada Director of Human Services to a blue-ribbon panel overseeing child deaths in the state. He also serves as the chief evaluator for the Western Center for the Application of Prevention Technologies (Western CAPT) for the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention through the University's Center for the Application of Substance Abuse Technologies (CASAT).
"Eric is tremendously hard-working," Chandler said. "His statewide and national reputation is well-earned, and I am proud and honored to call him a friend and colleague."
"It is truly an honor to be acknowledged by my profession," Albers said. "Along with this award comes the desire to do more. I think the nice thing about all of this is my love for the land grant mission of the University and how it brings together all the pieces of the puzzle. Nothing is more rewarding in terms of a job."
Albers earned his master's of social work degree in 1976 from Our Lady of the Lake University. He earned his Ph.D. in 1981 from Texas Women's University. He teaches graduate and undergraduate Human Behavior and the Social Environment as well as Methods in Social Work Practice.
The School of Social work is part of the College of Health and Human Sciences at the University of Nevada, Reno.
Albers is passionate about the land grant mission of the University and has been a member of the University's School of Social work since the 1980s.