Freeman, Edith

Edith M.
Freeman, PhD
Year Inducted: 
1991
Edith Freeman
Highlights: 
  • National reputation for work in teenage pregnancy, alcoholism treatment, and mental health needs of adolescents
  • 1986: awarded the Outstanding Faculty Award by the KU Social Work Alumni Society
  • 1987: received first-ever Chancellor’s Professorship for Excellence in Teaching
  • Medical Social Worker for the KU Medical Center’s Children and Youth Project
  • Co-author of books Social Work Practice with Black Families and Social Work Practice: Toward a Child, Family, School, Community Perspective
Biography: 

Edith M. Freeman was a much-lauded Professor of Social Welfare at the University of Kansas.  Drawing on her experience working in public welfare, the school systems, and medicine, she was an award-winning teacher and a nationally recognized researcher.

She received her BA in Sociology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City in 1966 and her Masters in Social Welfare from the University of Kansas in 1969.  From 1960-1971 she served many roles with the Jackson County Welfare of the Missouri Division of Family Services, including training specialist, caseworker, and casework supervisor.  From the end of 1971 through 1973, she served as a Medical Social Worker for the KU Medical Center’s Children and Youth Project, and from 1973-1976 she was employed as a School Social Worker for the Shawnee Mission School District.  She received her Doctorate in Social Welfare in 1980 from KU.

In 1986, Dr. Freeman was awarded the Outstanding Faculty Award by the KU Social Work Alumni Society.  In 1988, she received the first-ever Chancellor’s Professorship for Excellence in Teaching, which goes to a tenured faculty member in the School of Social Welfare who has “demonstrated superior teaching, significant contributions to curriculum development, and innovative teaching approaches.”  Students corroborate this praise, highlighting her “sincere interest in their learning, breadth of practical knowledge, ability to present material clearly and articulately, and her attention to effective principles of clinical practice.”

Dr. Freeman earned a national reputation for her work and research.  Her areas of study included teenage pregnancy, drinking problems, alcoholism treatment, social work education, clinical supervision, mental health needs of adolescents, attitudes of elementary school teachers on child abuse and the state reporting law, and the impact of racial and cultural factors on social work practice.  In 1985, she co-authored a survey of treatment facilities for teenagers with alcohol problems after recognizing there were not enough facilities to adequately treat people with limited incomes or teenagers.  Her recommendations included that a facility was most effective in teenager intervention when the family was involved with treatment.  Along with numerous published articles, she co-authored two books: Social Work Practice with Black Families with Sadye Logan and Ruth McCoy and Social Work Practice: Toward a Child, Family, School, Community Perspective with Marianne Pennekamp.

Dr. Freeman served as a member of the National Association of Social Workers on the National, Missouri, and Kansas chapters, the National Association of Black Social Workers, and the Alumni Association of the KU School of Social Welfare.  During her tenure as a professor, she also gave her time to many School committees, including acting as Chair of the Clinical Practice Committee. She was a popular consultant, lending her expertise to a wide variety of groups such as the kitchen nursing home for social services in Kansas City, KS and staff training for the Kansas City, KS Martin Luther King Community Center.

She retired in 2003 after 26 “rewarding and productive” years at the University of Kansas.


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