University News

Western New England University to Host Regional Social Work Conference

Published: April 26, 2017 | Categories: All News, Arts and Sciences
overhead photo of people joining hands

Western New England University will host the 35th annual Regional Social Work Conference on Wednesday, May 24 from 8:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The event features 50 workshops designed to enhance the knowledge and skills of social workers and human services professionals of all experience levels. Presentations will focus on important issues facing social work professionals when dealing with children and families, the elderly, mental health, substance abuse, multicultural issues, and personal development.

z-keynote_shaheer-mustafa.jpgRegardless of political affiliation, discussions surrounding diversity have become polarized. Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW), Shaheer Mustafa will deliver the conference keynote address, “Working Across Difference.” Mustafa, president and CEO of Dare Family Services Inc., has been leading the charge in developing effective diversity and inclusion strategies, and will share his perspective for engaging in productive dialogue that brings people together towards a common goal.

Shaheer will walk us through his own personal journey in becoming a leader in the field as a mixed race Muslim, and the obstacles and opportunities afforded him as a result. He will actively engage in conversations about confirmation bias, the ladder of inference, and share the essential ingredients for building sustainable, integrated inclusion plans.

Shaheer holds a bachelor’s degree in Sociology and master’s degree in Social Work from Boston College. Prior to his role at Dare Family Services, Shaheer spent 16 years working in both public and private human service organizations, beginning his career as a clinician working with vulnerable children and their families. He was most recently a Director of Areas for DCF where he was instrumental in addressing the opiate epidemic and its impact on the child welfare system. Shaheer holds a certificate in Diversity Practice from Cornell’s School of Industrial Labor Relations, and is also a Core Instructor for the Institute for Nonprofit Practice in affiliation with the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University.

z-deb-hollingworth.jpgIn addition, the conference will feature the presentation of the 21st annual Jim Quinn Human Service Award to Ms. Deborah Hollingworth for her more than 25-year career working in the human services field. The Jim Quinn Award honors a human service professional who made outstanding contributions to the social work profession.

Registration is now open and will remain open until the day of the conference. The full-day conference cost is $154 ($139 if registering before May 9). Full-time Western New England University students may attend for $30, while non-employed, full-time students from other colleges and universities may attend for $40. For more information call 413-796-2173 or register on-line at

The conference is a joint effort of Western New England University’s Bachelor of Social Work program, Social Work Advisory Council, and Office of Professional Development.