Celebrating Dr. Mahasweta Banerjee’s career at KU

LAWRENCE – Dr. Mahasweta Banerjee will retire from the University of Kansas School of Social Welfare at the end of June, after 31 years at KU.

Banerjee joined the KU School of Social Welfare faculty in 1992. Since then, she has made significant contributions to the School, through her innovative teaching and course design, supportive mentoring and selfless contributions to the School’s academic programs. Banerjee has taught research design, qualitative research, and qualitative data analysis courses, served as chair and methodologist on doctoral committees and advised doctoral students; taught MSW courses and mentored MSW Research Scholars; taught BSW courses and advised BSW students.

Mahasweta BanerjeeBanerjee has been the Bachelor of Social Work academic program director since 2016 and was previously BSW program director from 2010-2011. She is a three-time winner of the Budig Award for Excellence in Teaching, recognizing contributions to students and the teaching mission in the School of Social Welfare. In 1999, Banerjee received the Keeler Intra-University Professor Fellowship. In 2017, Banerjee received KU’s Woodyard International Educator Award, recognizing her career-long dedication to international education. For nearly 15 years, Banerjee led a study abroad course in India for social work students. In 2022, she received the Revolutionizing Academic Learning Community award from the KU Center for Teaching Excellence.

In 2007-2008, Banerjee received a Fulbright Senior Research Award in India. She has traveled to and conducted research in India throughout her career, contributing to social work in India, and developing resources to inform social work and social work education in the United States. In her research, Banerjee has focused on understanding social and economic justice and combatting income inequality. From 1999 to 2002, Banerjee was the principal investigator for a micro-entrepreneurial training program in Kansas City, Kansas. Her publications include numerous journal articles, book chapters, and research reports on micro-enterprise as an anti-poverty strategy; social justice; international social development; community development; and other topics. In 2011, the Council for Social Work Education awarded Banerjee the honor of Best Conceptual Article in the Journal of Social Work Education.

Banerjee’s extensive professional service record includes time as a board member for the Council on Social Work Education and the International Consortium for Social Development; and serving on the editorial review board of the Journal of Social Work Education and the Journal of Community Practice. In Lawrence, Banerjee has been a board member of United Way and participated in anti-poverty and community impact committees. At KU, she has been involved with Faculty Senate; the Center for Global and International Studies; the KU Women’s Leadership Institute; and several other university committees and projects. At the School of Social Welfare, Banerjee has served on numerous faculty committees such as the Promotion, Retention, and Tenure Committee, and Faculty Executive Committee.

Banerjee received an undergraduate degree in Psychology from the Indra Prastha College, Delhi University, and a master’s degree in Medical and Psychiatric Social Work from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bombay. Banerjee earned a Master of Social Work and a Ph.D. in Social Work from Washington University, St. Louis.

In a fall 2022 interview, Banerjee expressed her hope for the future of social work education and School of Social Welfare students.

“There is so much unfinished business, and you have so much energy,” Banerjee said. “It’s a different world, where more things are permissible, so you will bring lots of change. There are lots of opportunities, lots of ways of making things better for people in social work.”

Read more about Banerjee’s research and career accomplishments in this feature story from fall 2022.