For 100 years, a Mandel School education has been more than just preparation. It is an opportunity to join a national network of scholars and practitioners who are shaping the course of social work and nonprofit management in communities throughout the world.

Our Mission

Advancing leadership in social work and nonprofit education, scholarship, and service to build a more just world.

Our Vision

Students are central in all that we do, and they actively participate and contribute to a dynamic learning community that develops leaders of social change in direct practice, community practice, and nonprofit management.

The Mandel School was founded by and for the Greater Cleveland community in the belief that a university-based school of social work would transform the work of people and organizations to achieve to their full potential.  As the Mandel School celebrates its centennial, we reaffirm our historical commitment to the application of social science for improving social welfare, and seek to continue to broaden the national and international reach of our research, teaching, and service.  Our graduates are prepared to be future leaders who turn knowledge into action that furthers health, well being, and social justice.

Adopted by Mandel School faculty, November 2014

Consistently ranked among the nation’s foremost graduate schools of social work, the Mandel School has always understood the history and dynamics of social work and nonprofit management.

Our Founding and First Dean

On December 4, 1915, The Western Reserve University Trustee Executive Committee voted to establish the School of Applied Social Sciences – as the Mandel School was called then – and to appoint James E. Cutler as its first Dean. By this action, they established the first university-affiliated school of social work in the United States.

Our First Classes and Graduation

Margaret Johnson in front of the School of Applied Social Sciences, 1950-51

Classes began September 19, 1916, with a total enrollment in both semesters of 48. The first five students graduated in 1918. The first Master’s degree students graduated in 1919, which was also the year our MSSA master’s degree program in social work was accredited. The first graduates included Margaret H. Johnson, MSSA 1919, who would later serve as the Mandel School’s first woman Dean. Today, the dean of the school is Grover “Cleve” Gilmore, PhD, the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Dean in Applied Social Sciences.


For many years the school occupied more than one building at a time, hence the overlapping dates below. Also, during WWI and WWII, many schools and departments were shuffled around to accommodate the war training programs.

1916-1922 Adelbert Main

1921-1925 Ford House

1925-1951 2117 Adelbert Road

1927-1951 2121 Adelbert Road

1928-1951 2125 Adelbert Road

1930-1951 2131 Adelbert Road

1931-1943 2107 Adelbert Road

1943-1945 2118 Abington Road

?-1943 Pierce Hall

1951-1990 Beaumont Hall

1991- present building at Bellflower and Ford

4: Multidisciplinary research centers

43,639: Volumes in the Harris Library, one of the few professional social work libraries in the U.S.

2: Buildings on Bellflower Road that house classrooms, research centers, and offices

Our Students

397: Current students

96%: On-campus students receive scholarship support

34%: International or minority students

176,000+: Hours of service provided to the community in their field placements

Our Faculty

10: Endowed professorships

8/1: Student/faculty ratio

270%: Increase in research grant funding in since 2005

$9.1: Million in research and training grant awards in 2013-2014, a school record

37%: Faculty engaged in international activity

Our Impact

#9: Ranked school of social work in the U.S. by U.S. News and World Report (#1 in Ohio)

1st: Professional graduate school of social work in America, founded in 1915

7,800+: Alumni in more than 41 different countries and all 50 states

350+: Partnerships with community agencies and field sites in Cleveland and around the U.S.

How is the Mandel School at Case Western Reserve ranked among its peers? Highly.

We are ranked #9 in the nation and #1 in Ohio for top Graduate Social Work Schools by U.S. News and World Report, (March 2016).

The Best Schools also ranked the Mandel School #8 among social work programs.

And Case Western Reserve University is considered one of the best universities in the United States.

We are the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences.  Who are Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel?

Morton Mandel launched the Mandel Foundation with his brothers, Jack and Joseph, after the trio experienced extraordinary business success with an automotive parts company they created in 1940. In 1988, the foundation made a naming gift for what was then the School of Applied Social Sciences.

“The hallmark of our philanthropy is our commitment to invest in people with the values, ability and passion to change the world.”

The Mandel Foundation continues to support the Mandel School and its vision of training leaders in social change.

A Diverse School

At the Mandel School, our goal is to educate and empower our students to think beyond the possible, to gain a greater understanding of our community, and to develop new understandings of cultural, racial and social identities. We help students examine their own perceptions of diversity to become more culturally aware and prepared for their roles as social work and nonprofit professionals. Building an inclusive learning environment is part of who we are. We do this through:

  • A variety of lectures, colloquia and workshops on topics related to equality and social justice
  • Student-affiliated groups, such as LINK, the Mandel Allies and Black Student Association
  • Community service events, which allow students, faculty and alumni to reach out to residents in ethnic neighborhoods off campus
  • Civic engagement opportunities with undergraduate students and campus community members
  • Study Abroad trips that offer students a chance to blend with cultures while pursuing social action projects

A Diverse Campus

Case Western Reserve University received the Commission on Economic Inclusion’s Best in Class for Workforce Diversity award in the nonprofit sector. The award recognizes the university’s efforts in raising awareness about diversity issues, providing training opportunities, and increasing opportunities for dialogue among faculty, students and staff.

The newly-established Mandel School Hall of Achievement was founded upon the school’s Centennial to recognize the accomplishments of outstanding alumni, faculty, partners, and friends who have greatly impacted the school and the fields of social work or nonprofit management for the past 100 years. These individuals have received school awards, major Case Western Reserve University acknowledgments, or top industry honors.