Luis H. Zayas, a professor at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo., has been appointed dean of the School of Social Work at The University of Texas at Austin.
Zayas' appointment, which is effective Jan. 1, 2012, fills a vacancy created when Dean Barbara White announced her decision to step down after having served as dean since 1993.
"Dr. Zayas has had a long and distinguished scholarly, teaching and administrative career in social work. His appointment will bring great leadership and recognition to our School of Social Work and to the university," said University Provost Steven Leslie. "We are delighted that he has accepted our offer to become dean."
"One of the great honors of this position is to continue to build on the enormous legacy that Dean Barbara White has so firmly established. Joining one of the great faculties of social work as dean is the highlight of my career," said Zayas, who is the Shanti K. Khinduka Distinguished Professor of Social Work at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work and professor of psychiatry in the School of Medicine at Washington University.
Zayas has held administrative positions at Washington University, including associate dean for faculty and director of the Center for Latino Family Research. He has been an active member of the Washington University community, serving on the Chancellor's Coordinating Council on Diversity Initiatives and the Provost's Work Group on Diversity.
He said transferring evidence-based knowledge and skills derived from research to students is important in today's world.
"Once we talked of interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary work," Zayas said. "Now we know that social workers must be prepared for transdisciplinary work. With this in mind, I look forward to the challenges and rewards of collaborating with our faculty and students, and other divisions of the university, to develop and integrate our knowledge to address the complex problems of our nation and our world."
Zayas has also been a visiting associate professor of family medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and a professor in the Graduate School of Social Service at Fordham University, both in New York.
Zayas received his Ph.D. in developmental psychology from Columbia University, where he also earned his master of philosophy and master of arts degrees in developmental psychology, as well as a master of science degree in social work. He received his bachelor of arts degree from Manhattan College in New York City.
He is chair of the research committee for the National Alliance for Hispanic Families in Washington, D.C. and volunteers with local immigrant groups in the St. Louis area.