The University of Texas at Austin
  • Social Work dean to step down

    By Robert D. Meckel
    Robert D. Meckel
    Published: Sept. 21, 2010

    Dr. Barbara White, dean of the School of Social Work since 1993, plans to step down from that position in August 2011.

    White said she looks forward to taking sabbatical leave for a few months to focus on some personal goals.

    William Powers Jr. said White is among those leaders at the university who have consistently lived up to the university’s slogan, “What Starts Here Changes the World.”

    “Barbara has nurtured a culture of believing in humanity’s ability to make this world a better place,” Powers said. “Her greatest legacy is the many graduates from the School of Social Work who have gone out into the world to make a difference.”

    Provost Steven Leslie said the search for a new dean for the school will begin this fall.

    White said she believes in leadership succession and is confident “someone with a new vision will come along and take the school to the next level.”

    White said after August she plans to “take time to retool for other kinds of responsibilities at the university.” She will have more time for herself and her two grandchildren then, but what she will do with that time is “a chapter still to be written.”

    “I’ve been saving a collection of books I haven’t read, so maybe I’ll have time to get caught up on some reading,” White said. “Also, maybe I’ll play pinochle, a game I have not had time to play for the past 17 ½ years.”

    White will have led the school for 18 years at the completion of her deanship, Leslie said.

    “It takes a special individual to choose this profession,” White said. “Some call it idealistic, but our mission is to see the world live up to a promise of social justice for all people. The members of our profession touch the lives of so many people in so many ways around the globe.

    “I know some parents aren’t always ecstatic when their children say they’re majoring in social work, but these students come to us with passions to find ways to make a difference in the lives of children and families, and provide positive interventions in areas such as health and mental health, domestic violence, substance abuse and many other issues that touch people’s lives. I can see the pride in parents’ faces at each commencement ceremony.”

    • Quote 2
      Donna Schmidt said on Oct. 2, 2010 at 11:45 a.m.
      Dr. White so graciously met with me before I applied to the School of Social Work graduate program. I was so pleasantly surprised that she would take the time to do that. She definitely made my decision to enter the program easy and is a wonderful role model for all students, staff and faculty. Best wishes to you, Dr. White, in all that you do.
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      Mary Margaret Just said on Oct. 2, 2010 at 8:03 a.m.
      There are green pastures and still waters on the other side of retirement. Time for grandchildren and books is only the beginning. Love you, miss you, MMJ (Ph.D. M.S.W. Asst. Prof. ret.)
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      David Caldwell said on Sept. 30, 2010 at 9:31 a.m.
      As a still fairly new graduate from '91, I remember the selection process, and David Austin as the acting dean. Bringing Dr. White on board was possibly the best action taken at the School of Social Work in the past 20 years! We were located in an old women's dormitory far from the school's current location. Then came Dr. White, the move and the many transitions as Barbara led the school into the new century. She will be missed by many.
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      Renee Garcia said on Sept. 30, 2010 at 8:02 a.m.
      What an honor it was for me to be the student representative on the committee that selected Barbara White as Dean to the School of Social Work. One of the best things I've ever done! Thanks Dean White for your outstanding service to the students and faculty at the School of Social Work. You will be missed!
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      Joe Papick said on Sept. 30, 2010 at 7:31 a.m.
      Dr. White is an incredible leader and has had an impact not only upon the many students who have come through the BSW/MSW program but also upon many community individuals that she has partner with across Texas. She is an inspiration to me and many others.
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      Dr. Wendall C. Braniff said on Sept. 23, 2010 at 9:20 p.m.
      Barbara has been an inspiration and source of great pride in the University of Texas School of Social Work for the more than 15 years that I have had the pleasure of serving on her Advisory Council. Her leadership has resulted in honor and status to the UT Social Work program among its peers and for its many dedicated graduates. She is a truly unique and talented educator and scholar.
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      Camille D Miller said on Sept. 22, 2010 at 10:55 p.m.
      What an incredible lady! Barbara has done so much for the school of social work, the University and countless people who will never know her name but whose lives are better because of her! God bless you, Barbara White!
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