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.”