Dean of the School of Social Work

The University of Connecticut (UConn), one of the nation’s leading public research universities, seeks a visionary and dynamic leader to serve in the management-exempt position of Dean of the School of Social Work. UConn seeks candidates with a demonstrated record of success in leadership roles that have prepared them to lead a highly capable group of faculty, researchers, staff, alumni, and donors. The successful candidate will have the skills and experience necessary for them to provide inspiring and collaborative leadership in research, teaching, outreach, and engagement across multiple campuses, within the university community, and throughout the state.

The Dean will provide strategic vision and operational leadership to all aspects of academic and scholarly programs and initiatives. The dean will set priorities for the School of Social Work using the strategic plan to advance excellence in professional undergraduate and graduate education, enhance scholarship, and promote research and outreach in an academic setting with a diverse population of students, faculty, and staff. The dean will have a commitment to fostering an environment centered around anti-racism and anti-oppression, both within the School and with external partners. The dean is the School of Social Work’s chief advocate, promoting its goals and achievements, leading its development and fundraising activities, speaking for its mission of excellence in scholarship, teaching, and public service, and fostering connections with state, federal, and non-profit agencies providing social services throughout the state of Connecticut. The dean will be the school’s public voice, promoting initiatives within UConn and across the state, and articulating the school’s contributions at the local, state, regional, national and international levels. In pursuing these responsibilities, the dean, who reports to the provost, will work collaboratively with the provost and vice provosts, other deans, and senior leaders.

The successful candidate will be a nationally recognized, self-assured, innovative leader prepared to advance the initiatives and priorities of the School of Social Work consistent with social work values and the University’s academic vision. Candidates will be expected to nurture a culture within the School that welcomes participation among members of under-represented groups and ensures the equitable participation and inclusion of students, faculty, and staff across marginalized identities; demonstrate through research, teaching, and/or public engagement the commitment to, and support of, diversity in the learning experience; and provide leadership in developing initiatives designed to meet the needs of diverse learning styles and intellectual interests. In addition, the ideal candidate will be an independent thinker dedicated to collaborative governance, will possess a leadership style that values diversity and difference, will be a sophisticated administrator capable of building strong working relationships, committed to the search for new knowledge, and be able to imagine new possibilities for the School of Social Work while deeply valuing the School’s 75 year history and current strengths.

The University of Connecticut has retained the services of the executive search firm Parker Executive Search, to conduct this important search. Confidential inquiries, nominations, and applications may be directed to the search firm as indicated at the end of this document.


Founded in 1881, UConn is a Land Grant and Sea Grant institution and member of the Space Grant Consortium. The university has approximately 10,000 faculty and staff and 32,000 students, including nearly 24,000 undergraduates and over 8,000 graduate and professional students. UConn is a Carnegie Foundation R1 (highest research activity) institution, among the top public universities in the nation. Through research, teaching, service, and outreach, UConn embraces diversity and cultivates leadership, integrity, and engaged citizenship in its students, faculty, staff, and alumni. UConn promotes the health and well-being of citizens by enhancing the social, economic, cultural, and natural environments of the state and beyond. The university serves as a beacon of academic and research excellence as well as a center for innovation and social service to communities. UConn is a leader in many scholarly, research, and innovation areas. Today, the path forward includes exciting opportunities and notable challenges. Record numbers of undergraduate applications and support for student success have enabled the university to become extraordinarily selective.

School of Social Work

UConn is the state’s flagship institution of higher education and includes a main campus in Storrs, CT; four regional campuses throughout the state in Avery Point, Hartford, Stamford, and Waterbury; and 13 Schools and Colleges, including the Law School in Hartford, and Medical and Dental Schools at the UConn Health campus in Farmington.

Located on the UConn Hartford campus, the School of Social Work is a national leader in graduate social work education. Ranked no. 36 in best graduate schools for social work by U.S. News & World Report, the School of Social Work is among the top 12 percent nationwide. The school has a rich tradition of educating and serving diverse populations, and more than 1/3 of students belong to groups that are underrepresented in higher education.

The school offers a Bachelor of Social Work, Master of Social Work, PhD, Non-Degree, and Continuing Education programs. Within the MSW program, students have the opportunity to pursue a concentration in social work practice in addition to the professional foundational curriculum, including the following areas of concentration: Individual, Groups, and Families Practice; Community Organizing; or Policy Practice. Through these programs, the school prepares the next generation of micro- and macro-social work practitioners and scholars through excellence in teaching and learning, both in the classroom and through innovative field and research experiences. All programs are supported by highly qualified faculty, many of whom are internationally renowned experts in their areas of specialty.

The faculty are committed to the generation and wide dissemination of innovative and impactful knowledge, informed by social justice and anti-oppressive lenses, through traditional and innovative research methodologies. As the only public, research-intensive institution in the state, students have unrivaled opportunities to work with researchers in the areas of child welfare, violence and trauma, mental health and substance misuse, political participation, and human rights at home and internationally. Utilizing state-of-the-art quantitative and qualitative methods, faculty and graduate students investigate issues here in Connecticut, as well as elsewhere in the US and abroad. This past fall semester, UConn became the new academic home for the Innovations Institute, an organization founded in 2005 that builds and supports research-based, inclusive, culturally responsive, and transformative child-, youth-, and family-serving systems and services and develops the capacity of the workforce within these systems. The addition of the Innovations Institute and its nationally recognized expertise will accelerate new growth of the School of Social Work’s research program and forge enhanced opportunities for partnership with government agencies, providers, youth and their families, and community-based organizations.

The School of Social Work is involved in a growing number of interdisciplinary collaborations within the university, including with the School of Law, UConn Health, and the Human Rights Institute. The School of Social Work’s research and scholarly program also includes the Center for International Social Work Studies, the Nancy A. Humphreys Institute for Political Social Work, the Puerto Rican and Latin@ Studies Project, and the Innovations Institute. The school also extensively collaborates with public and private human service agencies, including the Department of Children and Families, the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, and the Office of Early Childhood to conduct research and evaluation projects to advance our community’s response to some of the most pressing issues in social work today. Strong collaborations with external entities in the state are strengthened by the large number of graduates from the School of Social Work who find employment with these entities.

The Leadership Opportunity

UConn will welcome a dean who thrives on innovation to develop, organize, and manage new initiatives. The faculty and staff at the School of Social Work are deeply committed to their students, their research, and to public service. The dean will articulate a vision for the school, defining its role in research and teaching within the university community, the state, and the nation. From that vision, the dean will shape the organization and, with the faculty and staff, configure, create, and grow programs and attract a student body to realize their success.

The dean will make critical contributions to the continued development of the School of Social Work. This is an extraordinary opportunity for an individual with the drive, skill, and experience to bring creative leadership to the organization and to play a meaningful role in shaping its future. The new dean will embrace these opportunities, helping to realize the potential of the school. The dean will build on a solid foundation to contribute to the school and its diverse constituents, as well as the university community at large, to address key challenges and pursue important opportunities.

Specific opportunities include:

  • Provide visionary and strategic leadership to the School of Social Work
  • Hire, guide, supervise, and support excellent faculty and staff
  • Oversee financial decisions and create clear and efficient processes, staffing, and structures
  • Support and promote a diverse and inclusive culture
  • Help to articulate the university-wide vision and to leverage current resources and advocate for new investments
  • Cultivate opportunities for development and fundraising
  • Pursue strategies to sustain and grow enrollments
  • Promote the School of Social Work through participation, representation, and leadership within national professional social work organizations in the region, state and nationally

The Position

Reporting to the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs for all matters, the dean is the chief academic and administrative officer of the School of Social Work, responsible for providing strategic vision and operational leadership to all aspects of the academic and scholarly program.

Reporting to the dean are two associate deans (Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Associate Dean for Research).


  • In partnership with senior university administrators, assure the campus environment appropriately enables and supports academic goals, objectives, and programs.
  • Partner with faculty, staff, and students to maintain a climate of civility and collegiality through effective communication and a strong commitment to enhancing the quality and diversity of the campus population.
  • Oversee academic departments, interdisciplinary centers, institutes, and programs, and other academic activities within the School of Social Work. Collaborate with faculty, academic department heads, directors, and deans to identify instructional needs.
  • Engages effectively with leadership in social work organizations, both state and national (e.g., NADD, NASW, CSWE).
  • In support of university goals and priorities, promote the School of Social Work through communications and public relations efforts critical to the success of the school/college, including building relationships and partnerships with alumni and donors, civic, youth, historical, financial services industry, museum, arts, and other groups and organizations. Assist the president and provost in representing the university on matters related to its core missions of research, education, and outreach. Partner with the UConn Foundation to assure robust fundraising and alumni relations.
  • Collaborate with the Vice President for Enrollment Management to recruit and retain high-caliber students. Develop and nurture relationships with K-12 schools, community colleges, and other educational institutions to recruit these quality students to UConn and increase enrollment of qualified students.
  • Collaborate with the Department of Public Safety, Facilities Operations and Building Services, University Information Technology Services, and Planning, Design and Construction Services to assure a safe, secure, productive working environment for the conduct of research and instructional activities.
  • Provide leadership, direction, and oversight to School of Social Work employees, including hiring, promotion, tenure and review, professional development, discipline, training, and evaluation of all direct reports. In consultation with university officials, the dean will appoint endowed faculty chairs and professorships and increase faculty awards and fellowships. Represents the school in labor-related procedures.
  • Advance the scholarly activities of the faculty, including disciplinary opportunities, in support of the university’s research mission.
  • Assure the School of Social Work offers a positive learning environment and students receive appropriate support services. Coordinate closely with university offices to enhance access to course offerings through online education, assure programs are available to meet the needs of various student groups, and assure the school operates in accordance with university-wide policies and practices regarding student conduct, disability services, counseling and mental health services, behavioral threat assessment, and other important student affairs functions. Advance undergraduate education and, in partnership with the Dean of the Graduate School, graduate education within the School of Social Work.
  • Implement and uphold academic rules and regulations and promote academic integrity.
  • Effectively manage academic resources and prepare and manage the School of Social Work’s annual operating budget. Prioritize the allocation of resources to support the university’s academic mission and plan.
  • In support of university and campus priorities, develop capital improvement proposals. Assess the need for and make recommendations about equipment acquisitions and facilities renovations and upgrades.

Minimum Qualifications

  • Credentials that merit appointment for a tenure-track academic appointment at the rank of Professor or a current appointment at UConn at the rank of Professor in the School of Social Work, including a Ph.D. or terminal degree in a field relevant to leadership of an academic program in Social Work. Equivalent foreign degrees are acceptable.
  • At least 5 years of senior administrative experience in a progressively responsible leadership position at a higher education institution or social services agency, demonstrating knowledge of core management functions and clear experience with managing strategic priorities, and familiarity with organizational policies, guidance, best practices, and procedures.

Preferred Qualifications

  • At least 10 years of experience in a progressively responsible leadership position at a higher education institution or social services agency.
  • Background and experience pertinent to the unique programs and setting of the School of Social Work, including a clear understanding of the academic vision of the university, the land grant mission of the university, and the School of Social Work’s goals and opportunities to deliver quality undergraduate and graduate education.
  • Strong identification with the social work profession, demonstrated through an earned degree (PhD in Social Work and/or MSW degree) or significant field or professional experience. Experience with the Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards (EPAS) of the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).
  • Proven business and political acumen commensurate with the leadership needs of the School of Social Work, including the ability to navigate the organizational, political, and fiscal realities unique to a major public research university; demonstrable experience applying sound judgment; and an ability to manage change, resolve conflict, and build consensus.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills with the ability to develop, engage, and maintain constructive and professional relationships with senior administrators, faculty, staff, students, donors and alumni, and other individuals and organizations.
  • Cultivate and expand community-based partnerships.
  • A strong record of external funding and demonstrated experience in mentoring faculty in sponsored research.
  • Experience building an environment which promotes excellent student success and well-being.
  • Sharp vision and commitment to enhance the diversity of the university population and to build an inclusive educational environment, including assessing needs, developing initiatives, and applying best practices and promotes social justice.
  • Demonstrated ability to analyze, understand, and interpret complex situations and problems, evaluate options, devise and propose solutions that align resources with goals, implement plans, and measure outcomes.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills and the ability to communicate needs, plans, and programs effectively.
  • Experience as an agent of innovation and change, achieving excellence across a complex organization.

Appointment Terms

This is a full-time, 12-month, management-exempt position with an anticipated start date of July 1, 2023. The successful candidate may be considered for a 9-month, tenure-track academic appointment in the School of Social Work.

Salary commensurate with experience.

Terms and Conditions of Employment

Employment of the successful candidate is contingent upon the successful completion of a pre-employment criminal background check. All employees are subject to adherence to the State Code of Ethics, which may be found at

To Apply

Parker Executive Search is assisting The University of Connecticut to conduct this important search. The Search Committee invites letters of nomination, applications (letter of interest, full resume/CV, a robust statement on the candidate’s familiarity and comfort with diversity, equity, and inclusion and examples of their leadership in those domains and contact information of at least five references), or expressions of interest to be submitted to the search firm assisting the University. Review of materials will begin immediately and continue until the appointment is made. It is preferred, however, that all nominations and applications be submitted prior to February 6, 2023. For additional information, please contact:

Porsha Williams, Vice President
Erin Raines, Senior Principal
Parker Executive Search
Five Concourse Parkway, Suite 2875
Atlanta, GA 30328
770-804-1996 ext.: 117 ||

Evaluation of applicants will begin immediately. For more information regarding school/college, please visit the School of Social Work website:

This job will be filled subject to budgetary approval.

All employees are subject to adherence to the State Code of Ethics which may be found at

The University of Connecticut is committed to building and supporting a multicultural and diverse community of students, faculty and staff. The diversity of students, faculty and staff continues to increase, as does the number of honors students, valedictorians and salutatorians who consistently make UConn their top choice.