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Dean, School of Social Work

Simmons University
Massachusetts, United States
Salary Not specified
Posted Date
Sep 5, 2023

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Dean, School of Social Work

Main Campus - Boston, MA

Simmons University invites applicants for its next Dean of the School of Social Work.

The School of Social Work

The School of Social Work (SSW), founded in 1904, was the nation's first institute of higher learning to offer training for clinical social workers, and the SSW continues to be a pioneer in social work education and practice. The goal of the SSW is to provide transformative learning experiences through small, interactive classroom environments, experiential learning opportunities, and strong faculty mentorship. The BSW, MSW, PhD, and DSW programs share a commitment to preparing graduates to practice social work in a complex, multicultural world. SSW programs focus on the development of strong skills, career preparation, and readiness for the field. SSW students share a passion for scholarship, a dedication to community, a vision for change, and a commitment to social justice and human rights.

Students in the BSW share a passion for scholarship, a dedication to community, a vision for change, and a commitment to social justice and human rights. The BSW degree focuses on the development of strong skills, career preparation, and readiness for the field. The BSW major is one of the top ten majors offered at Simmons, and is fully accredited by the national Council on Social Work Education.

The MSW program, also accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, continues to lead the way with rigorous and innovative clinical social work programs for men, women, and transgender/nonbinary individuals. MSW faculty are highly specialized in direct clinical practice—close to 90% of the faculty are engaged in practice within their communities, and they take pride in mentoring and teaching students. Simmons offers more hands-on training in the field than any of the other social work schools in the Boston area. Simmons is the only Massachusetts school to use state-of-the art Social Work Simulation Education to engage MSW students in their higher-level learning. Simmons students excel with their high pass rates on the licensing exam and high rates of employment within six months of graduation.

The PhD in Social Work is designed for experienced practitioners to develop scientific research skills so they can advance the evidence base of the field. As the program enters its 45th year and with more than 15 years of online teaching expertise, it leads innovation in PhD education by offering its program online to meet the needs of students balancing work and family responsibilities, living outside of Boston, and seeking student-oriented doctoral education. Faculty teaching in the PhD program are interdisciplinary scholars with experience working in on-ground and online research collaborations as well as teaching in online platforms.

The PhD in Social Work honors the practice experience of its students, while challenging them to view social work practice through a scientific lens as they transition to scholars. Our faculty are committed to collaborative and supportive mentoring of PhD doctoral students and encourage them to pursue a career path that is the best fit for their research and scholarly interests. Simmons PhD graduates engage in research that informs real-world practice issues.

The Doctorate in Social Work (DSW) is designed for practitioners to advance their knowledge in the areas of inclusive leadership, clinical practice, and teaching. Framed by a social justice lens, the program prepares clinicians to lead social work thought, education and research-informed practice. Students receive one-on-one faculty mentoring and rigorous course work from expert faculty that enables them to orient and accelerate their careers as leaders, advanced clinical practitioners, and educators. As a result, students leave the program equipped to become inclusive leaders, engaged educators and expert clinical practitioners.

The Role

Reporting to the Provost, the SSW Dean is responsible for supporting, strengthening, and advancing the diversification of a strong faculty, promoting innovative teaching and engaged learning, and building a culture of research, scholarly productivity, inclusion and equity. The Dean oversees a budget of approximately $15 million. The Dean collaborates closely with the deans of the other schools.

Reporting to the Dean are the following:
  • Director of the BSW program
  • Director of the MSW program
  • Director of the Ph.D. program
  • Director of the DSW program
  • Director of Operations
  • CIBER (research) Director
  • Director of Student Support


During this transformative time in the history of the University, the next Dean will have the opportunity to focus on the following priorities in the development of the next generation of leaders while advancing diversity and inclusion in all areas of focus.

Provide visionary leadership
  • Cultivate a climate of intellectual and creative vitality that unifies constituents around a shared vision for the School;
  • Ensure, as the goals of the School evolve, that they continue to align with the University-wide goals outlined in Strategy 2026;
  • Foster an integrated academic community, collaborating with the deans of the other schools to enhance interdisciplinary opportunities, such as in inclusive leadership, social justice, global engagement, and accelerated graduate programs (the “Simmons Edge”);
  • Work with the Office of Admission to increase enrollments, particularly at the graduate level;
  • Support the key partnerships that maintain and provide access to high quality practitioners and opportunities for distance learning, clinical learning, and research; and
  • Keep the School focused on the future of undergraduate and graduate and professional education.

Build institutional capacity
  • Encourage synergistic research and student-focused teaching opportunities among faculty members across the School;
  • Foster and advance a culture of diversity and inclusive excellence in every way, through engagement with affinity groups and through all of the School's endeavors;
  • Improve operational effectiveness by such measures as integrating traditional and online learning offerings, strengthening the infrastructure to support interdisciplinary collaboration, and enhancing the sharing of departmental budgets; and
  • Help the subunits within SSW feel a sense of shared goals, mission, and identity.

Raise recognition and resources
  • Build and promote the reputation and name recognition of SSW around a clear set of priorities and outcomes;
  • Ensure the continuous accreditation of the SSW program;
  • Proactively engage, develop and strengthen external relationships and community partnerships in the greater Boston area, and beyond, which are critical to advancing clinical placements and internships;
  • Develop an ambitious fundraising strategy to support the School's mission, including strengthening alumni engagement and growing corporate and foundation relations efforts;
  • Serve as a vital partner in the recruitment and retention of students, utilizing both data-based decision-making and high-touch personal interaction; and
  • Build and strengthen external relationships and industry partnerships in the greater Boston area and beyond.

Key Relationships and Collaborations

To advance the mission, vision and goals of Simmons University, the Dean will work collaboratively and intentionally with senior leaders, including the President, the Provost, fellow Deans, the Senior Vice President of Institutional Advancement, and General Counsel.

Key Qualifications

The next Dean of SSW will have either an academic background, with advanced academic credentials (either a PhD or a DSW), and deep experience as an educator and administrator in social work, or will have demonstrated experience leading either complex corporate or non-profit organizations through significant change and innovation. Strong candidates will also demonstrate excellence in the following:
  • Track record of hiring, developing, and retaining talented and culturally diverse employees and diverse faculty, staff and students;
  • Experience managing the budget and finances for a complex institution;
  • Knowledge of both residential and online learning;
  • Demonstrated history of creating and supporting a workplace committed to collaboration, teamwork, diversity, equity and inclusion;
  • Ability to seize opportunities for the School to advance;
  • Reputation as a creative problem solver;
  • Demonstrated experience building consensus, nurturing relationships, and collaborating across campus units;
  • Ability to manage change deftly, including comfort leading within an evolving institutional environment;
  • Demonstrated commitment to the education and empowerment of women and to social justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion;
  • Focus on recruiting and retaining a culturally diverse faculty, staff, and student body;
  • Ability to recruit, retain, mentor and support faculty and staff from underrepresented groups;
  • Track record of fostering innovation and collaboration across disciplines;
  • Fundraising track record or the interpersonal skills that would suggest potential to effectively cultivate, solicit, and steward donors; and
  • Strong communication skills, both in writing and public speaking, with a variety of audiences, both external and internal.

Procedure for candidacy

Inquiries, nominations, and applications are invited. Consistent with our goals to achieve diversity at all levels of university leadership, Simmons welcomes nominations and applications from individuals in traditionally underrepresented groups and those dedicated to building a culture of inclusive excellence at Simmons.

The University values diversity and is committed to equal opportunity for all persons regardless of age, ancestry, color, disability, ethnicity, gender identity and expression, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, veteran status or class or any other status protected by law.

Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. Candidates should provide, as two separate documents, a resume and a letter of application that addresses the responsibilities and requirements described in the Leadership Specification.

Inquiries and nominations should be directed to

Salary Grade
Annual Compensation Grade

Instructions to Applicants: Please upload all applicable application materials (e.g. resume/cv, cover letter, writing sample, teaching philosophy, etc.) in the Application Materials box on page 2 ("My Experience") of this application. Documents can be uploaded individually or as a combined document (e.g. PDF).

Simmons University is committed to inclusive excellence in all aspects of an individual's community experience. As a university committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion, Simmons encourages applications from all under-represented groups. Simmons is committed to creating, developing, promoting, and enhancing inclusive hiring practices-at all levels, for all positions-ensuring diverse talent pools and the delivery of a consistent positive candidate experience. Simmons is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to continuing to develop a more diverse faculty, staff, student body, and curriculum.

To apply, visit

Located in Boston’s historic Fenway area, Simmons College is a small, private, non-sectarian College which has educated students for enriching careers and purposeful lives since 1899. Working at Simmons means joining a collaborative, diverse and mission-driven community of educators and professionals.

We prepare students to be leaders for themselves, their communities and the world. Our faculty and staff members lead by example - sharing a commitment to excellence and putting the students first.

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