KU School of Social Welfare to be headed by Arizona State University director | News

The University’s School of Social Welfare will be getting a new dean this summer. The school has chosen Michelle Carney, the director of the social welfare school at Arizona State University, to be its new dean.

Carney, who will start at the University in July, according to a new release, has been in charge of Arizona State’s social welfare school since 2014. Before that, she worked as an associate dean at Georgia State University and was employed by a non-profit organization.

These experiences, she told the Kansan previously, put her in a good spot to serve as a dean at the University.

“I’ve had the variety of experiences and I have just an excitement about where I think social work can go,” she said in late April.

The social welfare school has been led by an interim dean since last July, when former dean Peter Smokowski resigned his position following student complaints about how he handled issues of diversity and equity. Professor Stephen Knapp, who was also a finalist for the permanent position, has served as interim dean since then.

As dean, Carney would like to put a focus on evaluating the school’s curriculum. Since the school is going to have to go for reaccreditation soon, she says it’s a great opportunity to look at bringing in new ideas and practices.

“We need to be teaching students to think critically, and we need to be using real world cases and problem solving opportunities so that they can apply content that they’ve learned rather than sort of repeat or regurgitate or spit back content that they have just read,” Carney said in late April.

The School of Social Welfare, one of the University’s smaller schools with 553 students, includes bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate students. According the University news release, the school is the most established social welfare school in Kansas.

Provost Neeli Bendapudi said she is looking forward to what Carney does as dean.

“I’m confident she will guide the school toward new opportunities and partnerships that address student and societal needs,” Bendapudi said in Tuesday’s release.

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