Loretta Vitale Saks has retired from her position as Director of Field Education at the National Catholic School of Social Service, located at The Catholic University of America in Washington D.C.  Ms. Vitale Saks held this position since January 1999. She oversaw the field education program, including developing policies, procedures and guidelines; implementing and monitoring the placement process; and supporting and training field liaisons and field instructors. She also developed an internet-based field database and web-based search engine as part of her oversight of information management.

Ms. Vitale Saks served NCSSS in many ways: she chaired the school’s NCSSS Management Team since 2007, she served on the MSW Program Committee and chaired the Field Advisory Committee, and from 2006-2010 she was a board member of the School’s International Center on Global Aging. She represented NCSSS with the Mid-Atlantic Consortium of Directors of Field Instruction, serving as co-Chair from 1999-2001 and 2006-2008. She was honored by the Consortium in 2007 for her successful advocacy with the DC Board of Social Work Examiners when she protected social work field programs’ rights to develop requirements for field instructors’ licensure and preparation for supervision, rather than have field instructors’ credentials established by the Board.

Ms. Vitale Saks has also been a contributor to scholarship in field education. She co-authored two articles on attachment theory published in the Journal of Social Work Education in 2006 and 2008, respectively. She contributed a chapter on program management that is anticipated to be published in 2013 in Quality Social Work Education: A Field Director’s Guide (Chicago, IL: Lyceum Books, Inc.). She presented her field search engine at the Council on Social Work Education Annual Program Meeting in 2002, and was a co-presenter of two sessions on the state of field education in US Schools of Social Work at the APM meetings in 2006 and 2008. Ms. Vitale Saks was also a consulting editor for the Field Educator journal, 2011-2012.

Upon her retirement, Ms. Vitale Saks received praise from dozens of colleagues and students. A current field liaison and former field coordinator for the DC Rape Crisis Center wrote, “She is so talented at her role and everything she has done for the field program. I have personally witnessed her handle tough situation after tough situation with amazing professionalism and grace. She has also done wonderful work to nourish and grow the program, through efficiency, enhancements and modernization; she has really created a legacy that is incredible. [The program] stood out significantly…because of the quality of field instructor orientation and training, because of the field manual, and because of how well organized and thorough the field office is.”

Dr. Marie Raber, Associate Dean and MSW Program Chair of NCSSS, wrote, “Under Loretta’s leadership, our Field Office has been commended by the Council on Social Work Education…for its efficiency and its attention to each individual student. Loretta spearheaded the effort to establish our federal work study program…which is of such value to our students. Loretta has recently worked with our Center for Planning and Information Technology to develop our Field Education Database. Loretta has been a wonderful colleague and I have some special memories of working on some challenging issues together. I will miss her very much.”