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.”