(Posted March 30, 2009)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Robert Reilly, Dana Professor of Social Work at Juniata College, will talk about the effect of natural disasters on the connections between social networks and individuals in "Herding Cats After Natural Disasters," at 4:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 8, in Neff Lecture Hall in the von Liebig Center for Science.
The lecture is free and open to the public. The Bookend Seminar series features afternoon lectures each month by Juniata College faculty.

Reilly spent his sabbatical last year investigating how social capital is affected by natural disasters. "Social capital" is a term often used to define the connections between individuals and social networks and how those social contacts affect the productivity and efficiency of individuals and groups.

Reilly will examine how disaster responder agencies and systems create and implement the protocols used to respond to an incident. In addition, he will offer some tentative recommendations on how to adapt or incorporate social capital networks into disaster relief planning and relief response.

During his research, Reilly looked at the protocols for large relief organizations such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency, CARE and the International Red Cross, as well as policies for state and local organizations.

Reilly joined the Juniata faculty in 1974 after working as a graduate intern at the Lackawanna County Prison in Scranton, Pa. He earned a bachelor's degree in sociology in 1971 from Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, Pa. He went on to earn a master's degree in social work in 1974 from Marywood University in Scranton, Pa.

He is currently the field coordinator of the social work program. He came to the college as an instructor and was promoted to assistant professor in 1976. He was promoted to associate professor in 1981 and was appointed full professor in 1987.

He received the Beachley Distinguished Professor Award in 1991. He was named Dana Professor in 2004.

He also has been active in the Huntingdon community for 30 years, serving two terms on the Huntingdon Area School Board and as a founding member of Huntingdon House. He also has served on the boards of Huntingdon County Children's Services, Head Start, and the Tri-County Community Action Agency. He received the Huntingdon House Service Award in 1987 and received the Head Start Outstanding Volunteer Service Award in 1986. In 2004 he received an award from the V-Day organization for his work with nonviolence toward women and families. Currently, he is on the board of Habitat for Humanity.

Reilly has been very active at Juniata as well. He has been a faculty representative for the board of trustees and faculty and institutional committees. Currently, he serves on the Personnel Evaluation Committee, the college's Strategic Planning Committee, the Enrollment Management Committee and the Committee for Diversity and Inclusion.

He is a member of the National Association of Social Workers, the Academy of Certified Social Workers and the Association of Baccalaureate Social Work Program Directors. He also is a licensed social worker in Pennsylvania.

Contact April Feagley at feaglea@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.