University of Michigan - Dean, School of Social Work

MI, Ann Arbor

The University of Michigan (U-M) in Ann Arbor, one of the world’s preeminent research institutions, seeks a dean for its School of Social Work (SSW). The School of Social Work has been consistently ranked as the top school of social work in the United States. The SSW’s continuing efforts in striving for excellence in social work education, research, and service are guided by three overarching themes: a commitment to interdisciplinary and inter-professional teaching and research; a focus on issues of social justice and diversity; and the development and promotion of mechanisms of social change.

Drawing on these core themes, the search for the new dean of the School of Social Work comes at a momentous time for the school, the university, and the social work profession. The coronavirus pandemic and calls for racial justice present unique and urgent challenges for robust and brave leadership that embodies discernment and vision, communication and transparency, and transformative action and accountability. With these elements as touchstones, and in accord with the school’s history of rising to meet times of challenge, the dean will lead the school in advancing its core commitments, partnering with its stakeholders to craft a compelling strategic vision for the school, and an action plan for getting there.

The SSW is well-positioned to address these challenges and to build upon the accomplishments and initiatives completed as part of the 2017-2021 SSW Strategic Plan. This includes the development of innovative educational programs for students, multidisciplinary centers focused on translating research for practice and policy applications that solve social problems, the SSW’s strong position and contributions as a member of the U-M Health Science Council, and its influential position as a partner in campus-wide Interprofessional Education and Practice efforts. In leading the development of the school’s next strategic plan, the dean will be responsible for building faculty resources through the recruitment of the next generation of the school’s faculty.

The new dean will assume a pivotal leadership position within a complex and dynamic organization comprised of engaged and passionate students, staff, faculty, and alumni. As the chief executive and academic officer of the school, the dean collaborates with faculty in overseeing its academic programs and policies; stewards the school’s financial, capital, and human resources; and plays a prominent role in fundraising and external relations. The dean reports to the provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. The highly decentralized structure of the university gives the dean significant autonomy and responsibility for establishing a strategic vision and plan for the school and marshaling the resources to support that vision.

Candidates should be nationally recognized scholars whose active and distinguished professional records include administrative as well as leadership experience in social work or a related context. The successful candidate will have demonstrated skills in fiscal management; a commitment to academic excellence that includes and advances anti-racism and social justice priorities; and a record of positive social action that supports the educational goals of a diverse student body. Candidates must be qualified for appointment as a tenured full professor at the University of Michigan. An M.S.W. is strongly preferred.

For over 200 years, U-M has provided an unparalleled experience for hundreds of thousands of students. With stellar faculty in every field, the university has created an academic atmosphere that is enlightening, worldly, and transformative for its students. Combining exceptional education with great accessibility, U-M is consistently ranked among the top 20 institutions of higher education globally and 100 of its academic programs are ranked in the top 10 nationally. U-M is regularly featured in the Chronicle of Higher Education’s annual listing of “Great Colleges to Work For.”

In this, the 100th year of Michigan Social Work, the school commemorates its many distinctions and accomplishments in educating generations of social work leaders, advancing social justice, and creating progressive change. The U-M SSW community is excited to continue this strong tradition of service, teaching, research, and social change and is poised to support a new dean who is prepared to assume the challenges of the present moment and build on this legacy in partnership with us.

All applications, nominations and inquiries are invited. Applications should include, as separate documents, a CV or resume and a letter of interest addressing the themes in the profile.

Confidential review of applications, nominations and expressions of interest has begun and will continue until an appointment is made. For fullest consideration, candidate materials should be received by September 17, 2021.

Application materials should be submitted to WittKieffer’s candidate portal using the buttons below.

Nominations and inquiries can be directed to:

Robin Mamlet and Bree Liddell

The University of Michigan is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer dedicated to the goal of building a culturally diverse and pluralistic university community committed to teaching and working in a multicultural environment. Potential applicants who share this goal are encouraged to apply.