Larry Davis Is Recipient of the 2007 Affirmative Action Award

Issue Date: 
June 11, 2007


Larry Davis, dean of the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work and founder and director of Pitt’s Center on Race and Social Problems (CRSP), has been selected as the recipient of the 2007 Chancellor’s Affirmative Action Award.

Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg will present Davis with the $2,500 award during the University Senate Council’s June meeting, held on campus this afternoon at 3 in 2700 Posvar Hall. The award goes annually to an “outstanding University program area or individual that has made a significant contribution in affirmative action.”

The inaugural holder of Pitt’s Donald M. Henderson Professorship, Davis created CRSP, the first research center on race at any school of social work in the nation, shortly after he arrived at the University in 2001. The center and its programs look at how race affects economic and education gaps, relations between groups of people, mental health, criminal justice, youth and families, and the elderly. As School of Social Work dean, Davis has recruited to the University faculty who conduct research on race, and he has encouraged other Pitt schools and departments to do the same.

Davis has established faculty research advisory panels, made up of more than 40 Pitt faculty who share research interests and collaborate on publishing and other activities. He has established programs to mentor faculty from traditionally underrepresented groups and launched a successful CRSP lecture series as well as summer institutes. Three new courses aimed at educating students on racial issues have been added to the social work curriculum, and Davis is creating the new Journal on Race and Social Problems. He also has developed an annual monetary award and recognition program for the best undergraduate and graduate student papers on race. His projects are designed to help faculty and the community understand racial conditions in Pittsburgh and beyond, and to explore promising solutions to race-related problems.

Davis earned the Bachelor of Science degree in psychology at Michigan State University and a master’s degree in social work, a master’s degree in psychology, and a Ph.D. in both social work and psychology at the University of Michigan (U-M). He was the first Black to graduate, in 1977, from this U-M joint-degree program. He is the coauthor of Race, Gender and Class: Guidelines for Practice With Individuals, Families and Groups (Prentice Hall, 1989), coeditor of Ethnic Issues in Adolescent Mental Health (Sage Publications, 1990), and author of Working With African American Males: A Guide to Practice (Sage Publications, 1999) and Black and Single: Finding and Choosing a Partner Who Is Right for You (Agate, 3rd edition, 2004).