Neil Guterman, distinguished expert on child welfare, chosen as new dean of School of Social Service Administration
Neil Guterman, the Mose and Sylvia Firestone Professor at the School of Social Service Administration and an expert on child abuse and neglect, has been appointed the next dean of the school, President Robert J. Zimmer and Provost Thomas F. Rosenbaum announced. His five-year term will begin July 1.
Guterman joined the University of Chicago faculty in 2006 after serving on the faculty of the Columbia University School of Social Work, where he led initiatives in graduate education and developed an interdisciplinary scholar network on children and violence. He is the author of Stopping Child Maltreatment Before it Starts: Emerging Horizons in Early Home Visitation Services (2001), the benchmark book in its field; co-editor of the forthcoming reference volume, Child Maltreatment Prevention; as well as author of numerous papers on family risk, child abuse prevention and children's exposure to community violence.
"We are confident that Neil's insights and leadership will materially advance SSA's distinctive model of developing the theoretical and empirical underpinnings of social work, while at the same time demonstrating its highest forms of professional practice," Zimmer and Rosenbaum wrote in a letter announcing the appointment.
Guterman serves as principal investigator for four federally and privately funded research studies, is the director of the Beatrice Cummings Mayer Program in Violence Prevention in the School of Social Service Administration, and is a faculty associate at the Chapin Hall Center for Children. He has advised the U.S. Surgeon General's Office, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the International Society for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect, Prevent Child Abuse America, and the National Conference of State Legislatures about issues related to violence against children. He said his work has been enhanced since he joined the faculty of SSA.
"The School of Social Service Administration is unparalleled in the ways it brings together scholars across multiple disciplines under one roof, all with a shared dedication to tackling some of the most intractable social problems of our day," Guterman said.
"Our uncompromising value on rigor - in thought and methodologies, in education and in direct application to the field - place SSA among the most esteemed and influential schools of social work in the U.S, and indeed the world. SSA's passion for top-flight scholarship mixed with a deep commitment to tangibly advancing social justice and reducing human suffering make for a uniquely exciting culture for scholars and students alike," he added.
Guterman received a B.A. from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 1983, an M.S.W. from the University of Michigan in 1986, and a Ph.D. in social work and psychology from the University of Michigan in 1992. He completed a Lady Davis Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Hebrew University Baerwald School of Social Work and Social Welfare in Jerusalem in 1993 before assuming his faculty position at Columbia.
He said his research at Chicago has benefited from a rich array of partnerships within the University and the city. "Chicago is home to perhaps the richest gathering of scholars in the world dedicated to reducing children's victimization," he said.
The choice of Guterman as dean emerged from an intensive faculty search process, with a committee elected by SSA faculty and chaired jointly by Tina Rzepnicki, the David and Mary Winton Green Professor, and Associate Professor Waldo E. Johnson Jr. Guterman succeeds Jeanne C. Marsh, the George Herbert Jones Distinguished Service Professor, who served from 2005-10 and 1988-98. Rosenbaum praised Marsh for her 15 years of service as dean, in which she invigorated interdisciplinary research, increased financial aid for future social work professionals and addressed SSA's significant capital needs to accommodate community groups and refurbish its iconic Mies van der Rohe-designed building.
"I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to serve as dean, to recruit and work with a world-class faculty, staff and student body, to facilitate socially significant faculty research and to promote quality educational programming in areas such as the direct provision of social work services, non-profit management, and international social work and social welfare," Marsh said.
"I am extremely enthusiastic that Neil Guterman, distinguished SSA scholar, teacher and colleague, will serve as the next dean of the School of Social Service Administration," she added.
After a sabbatical period at Chaire Sante, a health policy and services research center, part of SciencePo, Paris, Marsh will return to the classroom to focus her research on issues of access, equity and effectiveness of social service delivery, with a special focus on services for women and families.
SSA has helped create and define the profession of social work and the field of social welfare, and prepares both social workers and researchers and offers graduate work leading to both A.M. and Ph.D. degrees. It was founded in 1908 as the Chicago School of Civics and Philanthropy and was renamed the School of Social Service Administration when it merged with the University in 1920.
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