Dr. Jack Otis, who was responsible as dean for establishing the baccalaureate and doctoral degree programs at The University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work, has died. He was 86.
Otis died Jan. 5 in Nevada City, Calif. A memorial service will be held for Otis at the School of Social Work Jan. 23 at 4 p.m. in the Utopia Theater.
Otis was dean of the School of Social Work from 1965-1977 and professor from 1978 to 1993. As dean, he also established research and training centers in the school and revised the master’s degree program to include an emphasis on community organization and social policy.
“Dr. Otis served as dean during a period of significant growth for the School of Social Work,” said Dean Barbara White. “His intellect, creative vision and leadership created the foundation for the future achievements of the School of Social Work.
“Dr. Otis continued to support the school and its students up to the time of his passing. His contributions will always be recognized and his memory cherished.”
Otis was a consultant from 1961 to 1965 to the President’s Committee on Juvenile Delinquency and Youth Crime chaired by U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. He was deputy director of the Office of Juvenile Delinquency and Youth Development during the Kennedy administration.
Otis was instrumental in establishing national standards for the accreditation of undergraduate social work education and for several years he was a site visitor and member of the Council on Social Work Education Commission on Accreditation. His publications include “Business Civilization and the Family” and “Corporate Society and Education.” His definition of child labor is in the Encyclopedia of Social Work.
In 2007, Otis created the school’s Social Problem and Social Policy Lecture series, which has featured such speakers as Mark A. Potok, director of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project. Potok’s talk on hate crimes drew a large crowd to the university as did another lecture in the series on legalizing drugs.