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Sondra Fogel, PhD ’94

“As social workers, we give so much of ourselves to others and various organizations, but we often fail to give back to the places that prepare us to fulfill the important mission of our profession – our schools!” By naming the School of Social Work at Illinois as a beneficiary in her estate, Sondra Fogel hopes to inspire others to take part in creating a “culture of giving.”

Q&A with Sondra

Sondra Fogel, headshot

Dr. Sondra J. Fogel is a 1994 graduate of the PhD program at the University of Illinois School of Social Work. She currently serves as PhD Program Chair and an associate professor in the School of Social Work at the University of South Florida. Dr. Fogel is also the Editor-in-Chief of Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Social Services, the most enduring, continuously published social work journal.

We had the opportunity to ask Sondra about her inspiration for generosity – and why she chose to name SSW as a beneficiary in her estate planning.

What aspect of social work gives you the most satisfaction?

The skills, knowledge and critical thinking skills to work in multiple systems with diverse individuals, groups, and communities and to advocate for and promote social justice solutions for complex problems. In other words—being a professional social worker!

When you think of the School of Social Work, what keywords or phrases come to your mind?

(1) Inspiration

(2) Transformation

(3) Professionalism

What inspired you to become a donor to the School?

As a recipient of scholarship funding for my education, I have had the opportunity to realize my professional aspirations of obtaining advanced academic degrees in social work. I could not have done this without the generous financial assistance I received, especially from the University of Illinois School of Social Work. So, as I consider what is truly important to me, it is to help others who need financial support to enter this profession and received the outstanding educational experience available at the School of Social Work.

What result/impact/outcome do you hope your gift will achieve for the School of Social Work at Illinois?

I hope that the gift will assist promising students to achieve their professional dreams. But I hope that it also inspires others to develop or participate in a “culture of giving” for the School. I hope to inspire others to commit to this culture as soon as they can, perhaps establishing a practice of giving to the School every year after graduation.

Is there an important moment, person or special occasion that influenced your decision?

The University of Illinois School of Social Work is a very special place and I am glad that I can give back. It was something I knew I wanted to do. I always appreciated how warmly I was greeted by School personnel when I was at conferences. I appreciate being kept informed of the activities and research projects that are occurring in the School through the newsletter too. I also was fortunate to have the faculty that were my professors transform into great colleagues and mentors over the years.

Full Bio:

Dr. Sondra J. Fogel is the Ph.D. Program Chair and an associate professor in the School of Social Work at the University of South Florida. Dr. Fogel is the Editor-in-Chief of Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Social Services, the most enduring, continuously published social work journal. Dr. Fogel’s research interests are primarily focused on homelessness and vulnerable populations, social work education, and capital punishment. Beginning with her dissertation research which focused on homeless women living in a transitional housing shelter and how they transitioned back into the local community, she has consistently written about concerns that are a result of poverty or social injustices. In addition, Dr. Fogel has written about issues for social work education including field liaison work, community-academic partnerships, and macro practice issues. Her numerous presentations reflect these topics as well. Many of her academic publications and presentations are based on funded grant or contract work.

Dr. Fogel has published a co-edited book (with Dr. Maria. Roberts-DeGennaro), on the use of evidence-informed practice for macro interventions. She is the editor (or co-editor) of several special journal issues on topics such as poverty, peace, environmental justice, homelessness, and prevention in social work practice. The special issue on environmental justice published in Social Work Education: The International Journal has been reproduced into a book printed by Routledge Press.

Dr. Fogel has taught a variety of course topics in the BSW, MSW, and Ph.D. programs. She has worked with doctoral students in social work as well as in criminology. Most of her teaching is in the macro practice areas. As a former Director of Field Education, Dr. Fogel also has extensive experience with preparing students for professional practice. Dr. Fogel has served in many leadership roles in both academic and professional communities. For example, she is past president of the Association for Community Organization and Social Administration (ACOSA) and currently serves as an Ex-Officio member for the Special Commission to Advance Macro Practice. In addition, she is the USF partner representative to the National Center for Excellence on Homeless Services. Dr. Fogel’s prior work experience includes serving as the Director for Army Community Services (ACS) and as the Family Advocate for military members and their families when she worked overseas in Germany with the Army. She was also part of a research team investigating competing models of care for patients diagnosed with HIV/AIDs in the early 1980s.

Interested in sharing your Generosity with SSW? Contact Nathan Goebel in the Office of Advancement at for ideas and inspiration.

Sondra Fogel, headshot
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