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Jane Addams Field Education Development Endowment

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The Jane Addams Field Education Development Endowment was established by the Board of Regents of The University of Texas System on October 22, 2007, to benefit the University of Texas School of Social Work. The endowment honors Miss Jane Addams. Gift funds were provided by Jean E. Avera and Bonnie L. Bain.

Jane Addams
Jane Addams

Jane Addams (September 6, 1860 – May 21, 1935) was the first American woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. She was a pioneer settlement worker, founder of Hull House in Chicago, public philosopher, sociologist, author, and leader in women’s suffrage and world peace. She was the most prominent reformer of the Progressive Era and helped turn the nation to issues of concern to mothers, such as the needs of children, public health, and world peace. She emphasized that women have a special responsibility to clean up their communities and make them better places to live, arguing that they needed the vote to be effective. Addams became a role model for middle-class women who volunteered to uplift their communities.

This endowment supports the development of the field education program at the School of Social Work.


Jean Avera with her husband, Bill.
Jean Avera with her husband, Bill.

Jean Avera was a member of the clinical faculty of the University of Texas at Austin Graduate School of Social work for 15 years. She served as one of the early Peace Corps volunteers in Ecuador from 1965 to 1967. Her experience in applying the hands-on training she received in the Peace Corps deeply affected and inspired her interest in the field education aspect of the social work curriculum.

The field internships students experience during two years of academic study offer invaluable practice that molds and polishes their training, preparing them for professional careers. The years Avera spent overseeing the field practicum of students drove home the importance of sustaining and enriching this important part of the social work curriculum. Avera hopes the Jane Addams Field Education Development Endowment will be a source of support for future clinical faculty, field instructors, and students for years to come. She would like the endowment to inspire others who value their field experience to contribute as well.

The life of Jane Addams serves as a role model of a social work career, devoted to advocacy, social justice, and community organizing. Her legacy has lasted for more than 100 years and continues to serve as an historic example of one individual’s effort to bring about social change. This endowment fund is a symbol of Avera’s support of the field education program and future University students. She hopes more students will choose social work as a career and realize in their lives the UT motto, “What starts here changes the world.”

Ms. Bonnie Bain
Ms. Bonnie Bain

It is in the field, believes endowment donor Bonnie Bain, that social work students become advocates for social justice and where they become skilled practitioners. The Jane Addams Field Education Development Endowment provides funds for training of supervisors and students, guest speakers and other activities involved in field study, and a “Field Education Student of the Year” award. Bain, a graduate of the College of Liberal Arts and the School of Social Work, where she earned her MS in ’67, has devoted her life to the guidance and support of students as they undertake the process of field study. She taught as well as supervised internships for graduate students for 31 years, beginning as a field teacher and then working in clinical study and as field faculty.

Bain is passionate about supporting and encouraging field practice experience for students. She believes that unlike traditional academic programs, the quality of well-planned, supervised field experience is crucial for the development of professional practitioners in the study of social work.

As a proud fifth-generation Texan, proud mother of one son, Colin Bain McClelland, and proud “Yellow Dog Democrat,” she believes that if elected public officials were required to attend schools of social work the experience would help them advocate, with greater wisdom and sensitivity, for the poor and other marginalized populations.

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