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GCSW Announces New Leadership in Research, Doctoral Education and Foundation


September 5, 2019

(HOUSTON, TX) -- The Graduate College of Social Work (GCSW) is pleased to announce new administrative leadership for MSW and doctoral students with the appointment of three faculty members.

Associate Professor Sarah Narendorf has been appointed Associate Dean of Research and Faculty Development, where she will provide leadership on issues affecting the research enterprise of the College and assist in facilitating a culture that supports faculty development. She will work closely with the dean as well as with fellow faculty, students, and the university to fully integrate the GCSW into university-wide research initiatives that relate to the GCSW's academic programs, research agendas, and vision.

“I am honored to be in this role to support our faculty in generating scholarship that contributes to solving some of our most challenging social problems,” said Narendorf. “The work our faculty does is grounded in our vision of achieving social justice and I am excited about the opportunity to increase public impact of that work.”

Narendorf’s primary research interest lies in the areas of successful transitions to adulthood for marginalized groups, youth aging out of public systems (foster care & juvenile justice), homeless youth, mental health services and service engagement for young adults, and psychiatric medication treatment and construction of mental illness in emerging adulthood.

Professor of Social Work, Susan Robbins, has been appointed Associate Dean of Doctoral Education where she will work with the dean, faculty, and Ph.D. Committee to develop and provide an academic experience that emphasizes excellent instruction and close collaboration to advance the profession's knowledge base through research and practice.

“I’m excited about the opportunity to guide the Ph.D. program and train our students to be public impact scholars,” said Robbins. “It will be challenging, but I believe that it can be attained through collaboration and careful planning. This is necessary if we are to achieve the college’s mission and vision.”

Robbins’s work has included seminars and courses in social work practice, confronting oppression, gender culture, human development, drugs in society, and mediation.

Clinical Assistant Professor Aabha Brown has been appointed Foundation Coordinator where she, the dean, and faculty will help enhance and coordinate the foundational coursework, workshops, and exercises taken by all incoming MSW students intended to explicate the history, mission, and core values and ethics of the social work profession.

Brown’s passion for teaching has been grounded in building the capacity of students to successfully navigate cultural dynamics, improve structural equity, and design sustainable change.

“I’m excited to design and implement more implicit curriculum opportunities for students to further integrate their exposure to the myriad ways that social workers pursue and achieve social justice,” said, Brown. “My teaching focuses on professional skill development, self-awareness, and competent practice because I intensely believe education remains one of the most powerful tools in the pursuit of justice.”

Dean Alan Dettlaff of GCSW explained the importance of filling these roles with those who share the college's vision of achieving social justice, "Our pursuit of justice is the top priority in all aspects of our work at the GCSW. As our College grows and we continue to amplify our social justice vision, the leadership of our College plays a critical role. This incredible team of leaders are fully dedicated to this vision and to doing the work necessary to make a real and lasting impact. I’m excited to see the change that will come.”