Campus News

UGA’s Miller receives SAGE Publications/CSWE Award for Teaching Innovation

Shari Miller

Athens, Ga. – University of Georgia School of Social Work Assistant Professor Shari Miller was one of two people awarded the 2012 SAGE Publications/Council on Social Work Education’s Teaching Innovation Award at CSWE’s Annual Program Meeting Nov. 10 in Washington, D.C. Miller joined Laurel Iverson Hitchcock of Montevallo University in Montevallo, Ala., as the inaugural winners of the award.

SAGE, an international publication outlet, and CSWE, the sole accrediting agency for social work education in the U. S., will present the award annually to the social work instructor, “who best promotes innovative teaching in social work.” The award places emphasis on the use of cyber and communication technologies in education, promoting inclusion and using education for reflective practice. The criteria used to determine award recipients are effectiveness, transferability and significance.

The national Teaching Innovation Award complements numerous awards Miller has received for outstanding teaching. The UGA School of Social Work recognized her in 2010, 2011 and 2012 as Teacher of the Year in the school’s undergraduate program. When asked what has contributed to her achievements as a teacher throughout her career, Miller was modest and reflective in her self-assessment.

“I think it could be that I’m really focused on teaching-not at students but with them,” said Miller. “I think of learning as a collaborative effort, and I try to stay innovative by teaching where needs lie and building learning opportunities. I try to facilitate a learning space that allows for open and conscious dialogue that really challenges not only what students think about but how they think; my hope is that all of this lends itself to application and translation in practice.”

Miller notes that her teaching methods seem to resonate with students because she intentionally incorporates social work practice into her lessons through sharing relevant professional experiences. Also, she said, as students tell her, she “models social work skills in the very way she teaches.”

“The Teaching Innovation Award presented to Miller by SAGE and CSWE represents an exceptional accomplishment,” said Maurice Daniels, dean of the School of Social Work. “SAGE is a major publication outlet in our industry and CSWE is our national accrediting body. Students and faculty consistently praise Miller for her creative teaching methods. I am pleased that SAGE and CSWE have honored her with this prestigious award and high distinction.”

For more information on Miller, see