Message from the Dean

Dean and Professor of the University at Albany School of Social Welfare, Katharine Briar-Lawson, Ph.D.

Human experiences around the world are poignantly marked by complex social, economic, political and physical interactions. The daunting challenge for social work educational institutions today is to create learning environments that enable students to develop a mastery of skills to address these complex issues, while holding fast to the tenets of social and economic justice.

At the University at Albany's School of Social Welfare, in this our Golden Anniversary year, we continue to evolve as a community of educators, scholars, practitioners and community partners seeking to contribute to the development, evaluation and dissemination of the most current innovations and methods for social work practice. Throughout these first 50 years, the core mission of the school has been solidly established in the enhancement of human well-being for individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities. Our faculty, staff, administrators, students, community partners and alumni demonstrate this commitment through educational, practice, scholarship and service leadership locally and globally.

As we move into our next 50 years of development and evolution, we do so with a firm historical grounding and an enlivened commitment to social justice through rigorous scholarship, innovations in value-based professional practice and through the promotion of leadership in social work practice locally and globally.

In the following pages, you will learn more about the approach we take to assure a “value added” conceptualization of the social work contribution. Whether that contribution is in health navigation, field education, aging and life-span care, child welfare or community engagement with law enforcement, our faculty and partners are keen to use the most rigorous approaches to practice, research and policy to meet this goal.

I am pleased to have the distinct honor of assuming a leadership role in a school with a rich and demonstrated history for community-engaged professional practice, scholarship and public service. In particular I wish to thank Dr. Katherine Briar-Lawson who served as dean for more than 15 years. Her leadership and passion for excellence have and will continue to have a great impact on our beloved program.



Darrel P. Wheeler, PHD, MPH, ACSW
Dean and Professor
Vice-Provost for Public Engagement