Lieberman, Alice

Lieberman, PhD
Year Inducted: 
Alice Lieberman
  • 1992: Gene A. Budig Excellence in Teaching Award
  • 1998: HOPE Award Recipient (Honor for Outstanding Progressive Educator
  • 2005: Alice and Harry  Statland Award for Excellence in Scholarship
  • 2007: Chancellor's Club Teaching Professorship
  • Principal Investigator on several projects, including the Child Welfare Scholars Program (1999-2005) and the Kansas Workforce Initiative (2008-2013)

Alice Lieberman, Professor of Social Welfare, has been described by colleagues with words such as ‘vivacious’, ‘articulate’, ‘enthusiastic’, and ‘always funny’.  This award-winning teacher has shown wonderful commitment to inspiring the next generation of social workers.

Dr. Lieberman received her BA from the University of Texas-Austin in 1974, her Masters of Social Welfare from the University of Texas-Arlington in 1976, and her PhD in Social Welfare in 1983 from the University of Wisconsin.  She joined the University of Kansas faculty in 1988 as a social work field instructor and the chair of the School of Social Welfare’s Baccalaureate since 1993.  She is the author of The Social Workout Book: Exercises for the PreProfessional and the Instructor’s Manual for The Social Workout Book, as well as numerous other books and educational media.

In 2005, she was awarded the Alice and Harry Statland Award for Excellence in Scholarship.  She has been the Principal Investigator on several projects, including the Child Welfare Scholars Program (1999-2005), the Native American Scholars Program (2003-2008), the Kansas Strong and Stable Families Project (2006-2011), and most recently, the Kansas Workforce Initiative (2008-2013).  She has also been interested in reproductive rights policy and teen pregnancy work.

After being a Finalist in 1992, Dr. Lieberman received the 1998 HOPE (Honor for the Outstanding Progressive Educator) Award, the only teaching excellence award given exclusively by KU students.  As one of the award committee members explained, Dr. Lieberman’s passion for teaching and her enthusiasm was just so clearly evident: “She really wants her students to learn.”  She also received the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1992 and the Chancellor’s Club Teaching Professorship in 2007.

One of her former students stated Dr. Lieberman “is very enthusiastic, energetic, and seems on top of every issue.  She is definitely good about hearing all sides of an issue and then tossing things out to make people think.”  Ann Weick, School of Social Welfare, notes “She is the perfect teacher for the introductory class, because her style makes it easy for the students to relate to her and also be challenged by her.”  One example of her involving and innovative teaching style is a classroom assignment in which students must craft a budget for a hypothetical family of four living at or below the poverty line in Lawrence.  Research for the project does not come simply from textbooks, but she encourages the students to take trips to social services departments, health care providers, and even grocery stores.  “I want people to see all those problems [of poverty], but to also understand that you can be a tremendous force for good [in trying to find solutions for those problems],” she explained.

“Alice always can see the quirky side of things, but she is also extremely dedicated to the community,” Dr. Weick added.  While on sabbatical, Dr. Lieberman even used some of her time to help Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius elected and served for two years as the Chair of the County Democratic Party.  This involvement inside and outside of the classroom has made Dr. Lieberman a role model in the field of social welfare.

Honors & Achievements: 

Ph.D. University of Wisconsin (1983)
Gene A. Budig Excellence in Teaching Award (1992)
Chair, County Democratic party (1993-2000)
Hope Award (1998)
Alice and Harry Statland Award for Excellence in Scholarship (2005)
Chancellor's Club Teaching Professorship (2007)

Principle Investigator:
Child Welfare Scholars Program (1999-2005) (with Michelle Levy)
Native American Scholars Program (2003-08)
Kansas Strong and Stable Families Project (2006-11)
Kansas Workforce Initiative (2003-13)

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