Tracy Soska COSA Chair and Continuing Education Director



headshot

Contact

412-624-3711
2025 Cathedral of Learning
Pittsburgh, PA 15260

Biography

Soska is an Assistant Professor and Chair the MSW Program’s Community, Organization, and Social Action (COSA) concentration, and he also serves as Director of Continuing Education (CE) that provides a range of workshops, courses, institutes, online courses, and training academies for social workers and other helping professionals.  Soska teaches both Community Organization and Social Administration courses, as well as a course in Economics and Social Work for MSW and BASW students, among other courses he has developed and taught.  Soska also is co-coordinator and co-instructor for the School-sponsored Civic Engagement Living-Learning Community (CELLC) for Pitt sophomores that he initiated in 2006 as part of a Provost’s initiative for competitive edge living-learning communities in Residence Life.  Soska is a faculty liaison with the European Union Center of Excellence in the University Center for International Studies and is also a faculty liaison for the Legislative Office of Research Liaison (LORL) of the Pennsylvania Legislature.

Soska’s primary interests are in community organizing and social administration, workforce development, collaboration and coalition building, and university-community engagement and partnerships. He has been co-director and co-principal investigator of the University’s Community Outreach Partnership Center (COPC) funded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the University (2000-2012).  Soska is also affiliated with the University Center for Social and Urban Research and its Pittsburgh Neighborhood/Community Information System, a growing geographic information system to support community planning and development, which grew out of COPC.

He was principal investigator for the Citizen Leadership Initiative Program evaluation and its forerunner, the United Way’s Neighborhood Leadership and Wellness Project evaluation component, which grew from his work with the School’s African American Community Builder and Catalyst for Community Builders Project, grassroots leadership and community organizing training initiatives in Southwestern Pennsylvania. Soska also provides coordinating support to the Regional Coalition of Community Builders, a grassroots leadership network in Southwestern Pennsylvania.

He has also served as a PI for the School’s regional gambling community impact research efforts. Soska has also served as principal investigator for the University-Community Career Development Partnership, a welfare-to-work initiative that focuses job readiness training, work experience, and employment placement within the University of Pittsburgh and UPMC Health System. He also was co-PI and Director of the University’s Human Services Executive Academy training the next generation of non-profit organizational leaders in Southwestern Pennsylvania.

Soska has had long service on the University’s Senate Council and Faculty Assembly, notably the Senate’s Community Relations Committee which he chaired for many years and helped organize four major Senate Plenary sessions on community engagement and service, engaged scholarship, social enterprise,and community-university partnership for “The Future of Oakland.”  Soska is a recipient of the Chancellor’s Distinguished Public Service Award (2002) and the University Senate Service Award (2008). Soska remains active with the Senate Community Relations Committee and serves in many University and School community service projects, such as United Way Day of Caring, Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, and he now serves on the Advisory Committee for the University’s new PittServes office for student community engagement and service learning, as well as on the Provost’s Sustainability Committee. 

Prior to joining the University and School of Social Work faculty, Soska was a nonprofit executive for over 15 years leading such initiatives as the Westinghouse Valley Human Services Center and the Mon Valley Providers Council during Pittsburgh’s industrial decline, the Urban League of Pittsburgh’s Youth Employment System and Ex-Offender Programs, and the Pittsburgh Neighborhood Alliance and its city-wide crime prevention program. Soska has served in many community leadership roles and boards, including the Collegiate YMCA, the Allegheny County Homeless Advisory Board, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Jefferson Awards Committee.  A graduate of Leadership Pittsburgh’s first class (LP I), he has led LP’s annual community session for nearly 25 years.

Soska has published and presented nationally in the area of university and community partnerships, citizen leadership development and capacity building, service-learning, and community development and community work, including comparative U.S. and E.U. perspectives.  He is an editor (since 2007) of the Journal of Community Practice (Routledge: Taylor & Francis Group) that is sponsored by the Association for Community Organization and Social Administration (ACOSA), which he chaired from 2007-2010. Soska remains active with ACOSA and now serves on its new Special Commission to Advance Macro Social Work.

Selected Publications

Gamble, D. & Soska, T. (2013).  Macro Practice Competencies in Social Work Education.  Encyclopedia of Social Work (On-Line.) New York: Oxford University Press.

Soska, T. (2013). Housing.  Encyclopedia of Social Work (On-Line.) New York: Oxford University Press.

Soska T. & Walnoha, A.  (2012).  Housing and Homelessness in Social Work Matters: The Power of Linking Policy and Practice.  Washington, DC. NASW Press;

Soska, T. & Feikema, R. (2012).  At the Crossroads of Community and Family Building in The Handbook of Community Practice – Second Edition (ed: Weil, M.) Sage Publications

Soska, T. (2008). Housing.  Encyclopedia of Social Work. (eds. Davis, L. & Mizrahi, T.) Washington, DC: NASW Press.

Deitrick, S. & Soska, T. (2005) The 800 Hundred Pound Gorilla That Learned To Sit With Not On Its Neighborhoods:  The University of Pittsburgh Story.  The University as Urban Developer.   Perry, D. & Weivel, W. (ed.)  Cambridge, MA; Lincoln Institute for Land Policy

Soska, T., Sullivan-Cosetti, M., Pasupuleti, S. (2010). Service Learning:  Community Engagement and Partnership for Integrating Teaching, Research, and Service.  Journal of Community Practice: Organizing, Planning, Development & Change.  18(2-3) Philadelphia, PA; Routledge Taylor & Francis Group.

Soska, T & Butterfield, A. J. (ed.) University-Community Partnerships : Universities in Civic Engagement. (2005). Haworth Press. Binghampton, NY. Published simultaneously as a special issue of the Journal of Community Practice. 12 (3/4). 2004. Haworth Press (Now part of Routledge: Taylor & Francis Group)

Soska, T. & Trudeau, J/ (Ed.). “Bridging University and Community” Professional Development: The International Journal of Continuing Professional Development. Vol. 1/2. 2005. Temple University Center for Social Policy and Community Development. Seymour Rosenthal (Ed.)