Barbara White to Step Down in August As Dean of the School of Social Work

Sept. 21, 2010

AUSTIN, Texas — Dr. Barbara W. White, dean of the School of Social Work at The University of Texas at Austin since 1993, plans to step down from that position in August 2011.

The university's provost, Dr. Steven Leslie, said the search for a new dean for the School of Social Work will begin this fall. White said she will take sabbatical leave for a few months to focus on personal goals.

"Barbara White will have led the School of Social Work for 18 years at the completion of her deanship in August of 2011," Leslie said. "Over these years she has overseen a march toward excellence resulting in what is now one of the finest schools of social work in the nation. Barbara has been a distinguished leader of our great university and as she moves on to pursue her own personal and career interests she carries with her the admiration and respect of all of us who have had the privilege of working with her."

William Powers Jr., president of the university, said White is among those leaders at The University of Texas at Austin 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."

"Our growing reputation for excellence is attracting top students who want to pursue this profession," said White, who holds the Centennial Professorship in Leadership. "These are people who find satisfaction knowing they are helping to make a difference in this world."

White, who holds the Centennial Professorship in Leadership, was formerly associate dean at the School of Social Work at Florida State University. She is a former president of the 155,000-member National Association of Social Workers, and was a member of the board of directors of the International Association of Schools of Social Work. She is also a former president of the Council on Social Work Education, the profession's primary educational organization and accrediting body for baccalaureate and master's degree social work programs in the United States. White is the only person to have held both of these leadership positions in her profession.

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."

She 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."

For more information, contact: Robert D. Meckel, Office of the President, 512 475 7847.

7 Comments to "Barbara White to Step Down in August As Dean of the School of Social Work"

1.  Lana Pettit said on Sept. 23, 2010

Dean White has provided a nurturing and supportive environment at the School of Social Work for faculty, students and staff, and she will be greatly missed. I wish her the very best in whatever endeavors she undertakes in her future years.

2.  David "DJ" Johnson, Ph.D. (Class of 2009) said on Sept. 23, 2010

I am so very glad that I had the great privilege of studying at the UT Austin School of Social Work under the capable leadership of Dean Barbara White. I am even more happy to be able to call her my friend. This marks new stages in the journey of both school and dean. I know the school will continue to flourish for many years on the foundations laid and built upon by Barbara White! I am equally confident that her retirement will be filled with productivity and a happiness that she has earned.

3.  Mary Steinhardt said on Sept. 28, 2010

What a wonderful leader and person! Dean White, enjoy reflecting on all you have done to build one of our nation's finest schools of social work. I look forward to following the next "chapter still to be written." On behalf of the Women's Athletics Council, we are grateful for your continued service and for your friendship. Congratulations to you and Hook 'Em, Horns!

4.  Tara Earl (Huey and Maceo) said on Sept. 30, 2010

There are few words that completely explain how amazing Dean White is! She is a wonderfully, caring leader who made my experience at UT memorable. The school is losing one of its shining stars. I'll be sad to see her leave, but I am confident that many great things are in store for one of the best deans in the country!

5.  Kate Cronkite said on Oct. 3, 2010

What a funny idea. The School of Social Work without Dean White. We all owe her a great debt for setting a standard for faculty and students alike of professionalism, excellence, creativity and good humor. I hope we will find someone as willing as she is to make themselves available for formal and informal give and take with students. We will miss you.

6.  Mark D. Cunningham, Ph.D. said on Oct. 6, 2010

Dean Barbara White is a magnificent example of excellence and erudition. I wish her well in her future endeavors.

7.  Donna said on Sept. 7, 2011

Amazing woman! Understatment at the very least! Awesome! I am honored to have been acquainted and influenced by her in so many ways! Has there been a celebration or any type of recognition? If not, I would love to attend. Please give details. Also, if you have forwarding information for her, please provide.