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College of Human Environmental Sciences

Dale Fitch

Dale Fitch

Dale Fitch, PhD, MSW
Director and Associate Professor

703 Clark Hall
School of Social Work
University of Missouri
Columbia, MO 65211-4470
Phone: (573) 884-7405
Fax: [573] 882-8926
E-mail: fitchd@missouri.edu
Curriculum Vitae (PDF)

Education:

PhD, University of Texas at Arlington, 2001; MSSW, University of Texas at Arlington, 1984; BA, Oklahoma Baptist University, 1981.

Research Interests:

Child Welfare, Information Systems in Human Service Organizations, Systems Theory, Systemic Research Methodologies, Organizational Decision Making.

Teaching Interests:

Social Work Administration, Community Practice, Practice Theories.

Awards:

  • 2013 SAGE/Council on Social Work Education Award for Innovative Teaching in Social Work Education
  • 2012 Provost Outstanding Junior Faculty Teaching Award

Research and Scholarly Activity:

Analyzing and Manipulating Information Storage System Components to Improve Human Services Decision-Making

Dr. Fitch uses both quantitative and qualitative research methodologies addressing topics that include management of information systems in human service organizations, systems theory, and decision-making. He employs systemic intervention methodologies including critical system heuristics, soft systems, and system dynamics modeling. His research seeks to understand how the components of data, information, and knowledge are involved in the design of information storage systems so as to best create systems that support human service decision-making. Conceptually, these components would appear as:

Data:
comprised of datum, e.g., 1, 2, a, b, ...

Information:
labels applied to data to inform, e.g., 1 = yes, 2 = no

Knowledge
uses information to answer a question, e.g., 14 people indicate 'yes' and 10 indicated 'no'

Dr. Fitch studies an agency’s system components to determine where in the process of moving from data to information to knowledge a breakdown has occurred and to recommend system re-design solutions. He also examines it from the perspective of who and what can be served by the system. Misconceptualization of any of these components, either in use or in the design of the information system, reduces organizational service delivery, learning, and effective functioning. Dr. Fitch’s research projects are generally broken down by the component on which he is focused.

Dr. Fitch serves as Editor in Chief for the Journal of Technology in Human Services, as well as a consulting editor for numerous journals. He teaches in the areas of macro practice, management in the human services, practice in community and social systems, and information system design.