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December 15, 2017

Forum Gathers Input for Selection of New Dean of Social Work

A sense of community and integrity are what should be exhibited from the new dean for the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Social Work.

These are the qualities that faculty and students said during a Nov. 21 open forum that they’d like to see in the school’s new leader.

These attributes are similar to those possessed by Larry E. Davis, who will step down as the school’s dean after the 2017-18 academic year.

“Dean Davis has done a great job,” said Patricia Kroboth, dean of the School of Pharmacy, chair of the search committee and forum moderator. “He got very high rankings for the school. I look forward to the search for his replacement.”

The school’s strengths were also discussed at the forum. These strengths, which people attending the forum said the new dean should help maintain or improve, include the ability to facilitate interdisciplinary research among School of Social Work researchers and students and other Pitt schools, as well as its reputation as a school rich in community engagement.

The ability to communicate to internal audiences and to external community partners was one value suggested for the new dean.

“I think one of the things that makes the School of Social Work really special is the relationship that our faculty and students have with community-based organizations,” said Daniel Rosen, David E. Epperson Professor of Social Work.

Additional comments from forum participants touched on the ability to fundraise, to provide support for better quality online teaching, to increase diversity, to bring additional focus to lesser-known aspects of the school and to recognize the importance of holistic approaches to social work.

Nearly two dozen people attended the public forum, a number Kroboth said she was pleased with, noting that it indicates the importance of the search to faculty and students.

“This search can’t be understated,” she said. “This is a person who is going to shape the culture of the school. They are going to be the one who shares the ideas your community has and puts that into a strategy the school implements, much like Dean Davis has.”

Those interested in sharing input with the search committee are invited to participate by sharing feedback via an online survey. More information about the search is available online.


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Filed under: Feature,Volume 50 Issue 9

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