Neil Guterman reappointed as dean of the School of Social Service Administration

University Communications

Neil Guterman, the Mose and Sylvia Firestone Professor at the School of Social Service Administration, has been reappointed as dean, President Robert J. Zimmer and Provost Eric D. Isaacs announced. His second five-year term will begin July 1.

Guterman is an internationally recognized expert on issues related to child abuse and violence prevention. As dean, he has developed new initiatives in global social welfare and urban research and practice. He recruited new faculty representing multiple areas of expertise, including several with international social welfare experience, and established new educational exchange programs in India, China and Hong Kong.

“We are confident that Neil’s ongoing leadership will continue and enhance the legacy of SSA as a leader in the fields of social work and social welfare, training scholars, practitioners and leaders who have shaped these fields nationally and internationally,” Zimmer and Isaacs wrote in a message announcing Guterman’s reappointment as dean.

Guterman said it is a great honor to serve as SSA dean, and he is proud of elevating interdisciplinary scholarship that tackles some of the most complicated social problems, like violence, poverty, homelessness and HIV risk. Programs at the University, such as Crime Lab, the Chicago Center for Youth Violence Prevention, the Employment Instability and Family Well-Being and Social Policy Network, and the STI/HIV Intervention Network have been either established or expanded under his leadership.

“We’ve partnered strongly across the University to advance its urban engagement agenda,” said Guterman. “We’ve always had deep connections to the city of Chicago through our field and research partnerships. We’re also now more globally engaged with a new program concentration, educational exchanges and research studies in international social welfare,” he added.

Guterman joined the UChicago faculty as a professor in 2006, and was first appointed dean at SSA in 2010. As director of the Beatrice Cummings Mayer Program in Violence Prevention at SSA, he established the nation’s first violence prevention training program in a school of social work. He is the author of Stopping Child Maltreatment Before It Starts: Emerging Horizons in Early Home Visitation Services (2001), and numerous research articles on child abuse prevention, at-risk families and children’s exposure to community violence.

Guterman said SSA’s international work holds great potential in the coming years.

“China is looking to leading universities around the world to help them to develop their social work systems and the way they train professionals to lead those systems,” said Guterman. “We are one of the leading universities providing expert guidance as they establish their social work education system. It’s a historic moment for that country, and we’re excited to be playing a key role in fostering the birth of modern social work in China.” Guterman wants to continue to expand SSA’s global engagement and has recruited faculty with international social welfare expertise.

Guterman said he also wants to encourage development of preventive approaches for social problems and to expand the study of evidence-based solutions.

“In the next five years, we will also devote ourselves to improving the educational quality and support for our students, strengthening our lead role in educating the best-trained social welfare professionals in the world,” said Guterman. “We want to bring in the best and brightest and prepare them for careers of service. The work they take on is very challenging, and we want to well equip them and provide as much support as we can.”

Guterman earned his PhD in social work and psychology from the University of Michigan, a master’s degree in social work in clinical practice with families and children from the University of Michigan, and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of California, Santa Cruz.