Seeking Social Good is a wide-ranging autobiography of the career, life and times of Australia's first professor of social work, and pioneer social policy scholar. It is well-organised, carefully referenced, and enlivened by the author's photographs. The work is organised into 6 volumes - 'Getting Educated', 'A Career Under Way', 'Working in Australia', 'Living and Working Overseas', 'Working with International Organisations', and 'Disengaging from Work and Later Life'.
Each is substantial and is worth reading in its own right, as well as being integral to the whole story. 'Later Life' in the final volume is told largely through the author's photos. Australia's first professor of social work and pioneer social policy scholar gives an account of what is entailed in periodically living and working overseas - an important part of an academic's professional and family life. The special significance of the sabbatical year at the University of Michigan in 1967 has already been described in the 'Career Under Way' volume (Vol 2). In mid-1974, a family camping trip in Europe preceded living on York University campus for six months.
Both in 1983 and again in 1987/88, a year was spent in the USA by the author and his wife adding to their Michigan year. 1983 was divided between Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. A prestigious appointment 1987/88 at Hunter College in New York proved richly rewarding professionally and personally. In the first half of 1990, the author helped to develop a social work doctoral program at Wilfrid Laurier University in Canada and then taught a professional ethics course on a teaching exchange at the University of Stockholm. The author's careful records have provided insight into periodically living in other social, cultural and academic environments.
About the Author
John Lawrence has taught social policy for thirty years, taking a special interest in the ethical justification of policy and professional intervention. He is a graduate of the Universities of Adelaide and Oxford, and the Australian National University. Australia's first Professor of Social Work, he headed the School of Social Work at the University of New South Wales for fourteen years, chaired the University's Faculty of Professional Studies, was a member of the University Council, and was directly involved in the development of its Social Policy Research Centre, a national centre directly funded by the Australian Government. A former federal president and life member of the Australian Association of Social Workers, he served on its National Ethics Committee.
For eight years, he was an elected member of the Executive Board of the International Association of Schools of Social Work. He has had membership of the governing bodies of community agencies, including a vice-presidency of ACOSS (Australian Council of Social Service). He is a firm advocate of international experience, and has spent almost seven years away from his native Australia, studying, researching, teaching and acting as a consultant in England, the United States, Canada, Thailand and Sweden. This has been assisted by various awards - a Rhodes Scholarship, Fulbright senior awards, the Moses Distinguished Professorship at Hunter College in New York, and a Canadian Commonwealth Fellowship - and university study leave and exchange arrangements. He is a member of the Order of Australia.