The Faculty History Project documents faculty members who have been associated with the University of Michigan since 1837. Key in this effort is to celebrate the intellectual life of the University. This Faculty History Website is intended as a component of the effort to document the extraordinary academic achievements of Michigan’s faculty in building and sustaining one of the world’s great universities. It provides access to a comprehensive database of information concerning the thousands of faculty members who have served the University of Michigan.
Find out more.

The Bentley Historical Library serves as the official archives for the University.

Memoir

Robert D. Vinter
Regents' Proceedings 483

Robert D. Vinter, the Arthur Dunham Professor of Social Work, will retire from active faculty status as of December 31, 1985, after thirty-one years of service. Promoted through the professorial ranks, serving as associate dean and acting dean, he has applied his administrative skills and professional expertise to the development and improvement of graduate social work education and social welfare services.

Having received his A.B. degree from Trinity College in 1943, his M.S. degree, in 1949, and Ph.D. degree, in 1952, from Columbia University, he arrived at the University with a firm grounding in social work knowledge and skills, embarking on a demanding and distinguished career in social welfare research. His research interests included the theory and practice of group work, the criminal justice system with emphasis on juvenile delinquency and youth crime, the development of organization and management theories for the human services and, more recently, program design and fiscal management. He has served on many advisory committees for the State of Michigan, as an expert witness on matters ranging from academic freedom to youth crime, as a consultant to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Justice, and to several governmental agencies in Jamaica, to cite a few of his many contributions to the improvement of social welfare policies.

Professor Vinter has also taken an active role in university affairs, as a member of the Senate Assembly, the Budget Priorities Committee, the Senate Advisory Review Committee, and the School of Education Budget Review Subcommittee. Professionally, he is a founding member of the National Association of Social Workers, and a member of the American Sociological Association and the American Civil Liberties Union.

A prolific scholar, he has contributed numerous books and articles to the growing body of professional literature. His writings are seminal in scope and widely acclaimed in the profession. Most recently, he has published Budgeting for the Not-For-Profit Organization, which has been hailed as a landmark text addressing the fiscal management of voluntary agencies.

Professor Vinter is recognized as a superior teacher and mentor whose dedication to excellence in education is unsurpassed. His devotion to his students is exemplary and is an inspiration to his colleagues. He has built a long and distinguished career in the design of graduate-professional education programs for social work practitioners and educators. He has made a singular contribution to the body of social welfare knowledge and has applied his research findings to the enhancement of graduate education as well as social service policies and programs. His intellectual leadership is recognized world-wide.

The Regents now salute this distinguished educator by naming Robert D. Vinter the Arthur Dunham Professor Emeritus of Social Work.

Bio - The History of Social Work - Fellin

Robert D. Vinter came to the university after serving on the faculty at Springfield College in Massachusetts. Vinter held an A.B. degree from Trinity College, and a master's in social work and a Ph.D. in social psychology from Columbia University.

During his thirty-one years with the university, Vinter taught courses at the master's and doctoral degree levels, conducted research studies, and served in several administrative roles, including associate dean and acting dean.

Upon his retirement in 1985, Vinter was cited by the regents of the university for distinction in social research, for his work in university affairs, and for "a long and distinguished career in the design of graduate-professional education programs" (Board of Regents, 1985).

Among his many service activities at the national level, Vinter was a consultant to the President's Committee on Juvenile Delinquency, a member of National Institute of Mental Health committees and State of Michigan advisory boards, and a member of the Editorial Committee of the Encyclopedia of Social Work in 1965 and 1971.

Vinter's intellectual leadership and publications in social group work led to the creation of the premier group work program in the United States. His publications in social group work and social organizations gained wide use throughout the United States and the world.

In naming Vinter professor emeritus, university regents recognized his work as "seminal in scope and widely acclaimed in the profession" (Board of Regents, 1985).

In addition to social group work, Vinter established himself as an expert in administration and the juvenile justice system, teaching in areas of funding and fiscal management, agency administration, program design, and management. In recognition of his accomplishments at the school, the regents named Vinter the Arthur Durham Professor of Social Work.

Robert D. Vinter (1954-85) joined the faculty in 1954 and brought about a turning point in the development of a social group work program at Michigan. Vinter came to the school with practice experience in group work and as the first faculty member at the School of Social Work to have a combination of a master's degree in social work and a doctorate in a social science. Vinter taught a range of group work courses and provided the initial leadership in the development of what became known as the Michigan approach to social group work.