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University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Dean, Helen Bader School of Social Welfare

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee seeks a vibrant, visionary, energetic leader who will build on the School’s past record of success; promote research, education, and service; provide participative and collegial leadership; cultivate internal and external partnerships; support diversity among administration, faculty, staff, and students; and raise funds for the School.

Collaborative ... Dedicated ... Communicator ... Team Player ... Empowering
Engaged ... Facilitator ... Fundraiser ... Seasoned ... Relationship Builder ... Scholarly
Inclusive ... Nurturer ... Budget-Savvy ... Transparent ... Unifier

The Position

As the chief academic officer for the Helen Bader School of Social Welfare, the Dean provides leadership for the School and exercises responsibility for its academic and administrative operations; including budget, personnel, programs, and physical facilities. The Dean establishes a vision in setting priorities, maintaining academic standards, and strengthening faculty scholarship and research.

Areas of responsibility include leadership for undergraduate and graduate programs, as well as outreach and continuing education; establishment and expansion of research, clinical practice, and educational programs; growth of extramural funding and fundraising; cultivation of alumni relations; and building and sustaining strong relationships with internal and external constituents. Working in partnership across the University, the Dean represents the School within the University, the University of Wisconsin System, the external community and region, as well as with alumni and external agencies and organizations. The Dean reports directly to the Provost, is a member of the Academic Dean’s Council, and participates in a shared governance system with faculty and staff.

The Qualifications

The University seeks individuals with a strong record of professional accomplishment; commitment to excellence in research and teaching; and strong management, leadership, and fundraising skills. The Dean must be a visionary educational leader with integrity, a high standard of excellence, and strong community engagement skills.

Required Qualifications


• Doctorate (or equivalent) degree with scholarly qualifications sufficient for appointment as a tenured full professor in a discipline within the School.

• Proven leadership and administrative experience.

Preferred Qualifications

• Potential to improve research and academic quality, ranking, and visibility of the School.

• Record of promoting excellence in undergraduate and graduate education.

• Proven leadership in developing and maintaining scholarly research and extramural funding of faculty and staff.

• Demonstrated ability to prioritize diversity and inclusiveness in the recruitment, development, and retention of faculty, staff, and students.

• Demonstrated ability to work across multiple units and levels of campus governance and administration.

• Proven ability to forge long-lasting community-university partnerships.

• Demonstrated ability to collaborate with local justice or social service systems to advance issues of social justice and system reform.

• Experience in budgeting, including the allocation of resources across units.

• Recognition of the importance of shared governance and dedication to participatory management and transparency.

• Experience with academic planning, enrollment management, and student success.

• Demonstrated success in cultivating relationships and fundraising.

The School

Created in 1965, ten years after the establishment of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee campus, the School was renamed the Helen Bader School of Social Welfare (HBSSW) in 2001 after becoming the beneficiary of one of the largest private grants in UWM history. Helen Bader was a dedicated community advocate and graduate of the School’s MSW program. The endowments for HBSSW total $4.24 million for program support and $1.7 million for scholarships.

The two academic units comprising the School are the Department of Social Work and the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology. Their combined 21 tenure-track faculty and 37 teaching/academic staff serve approximately 800 undergraduate and 350 graduate students. To provide field placement opportunities for social work and criminal justice students, the two departments partner with hundreds of agencies statewide and regionally. The School also provides an administrative home within the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology for undergraduate courses in Military Science, serving both the Army and Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC).

The Department of Social Work offers the Bachelor of Science in Social Work (BSSW) degree, which is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). The Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology offers a Bachelor of Science degree. These are some of the largest social work and criminal justice programs in Wisconsin. At the master’s level, the two departments offer, respectively, a CSWE-accredited Master of Social Work (MSW) degree, which is the largest graduate degree program on campus, and a Master of Science in Criminal Justice (MSCJ) degree. A combined Social Work and Criminal Justice Master’s degree is also available, as are a number of graduate certificate programs and areas of concentration designed to prepare students for specialized practice licenses.

At the School level, the two departments collaborate to offer a PhD in Social Welfare, in which students may follow tracks relating to Social Work and/or Criminal Justice. A Joint MSW/PhD option is also available, and a Joint MSCJ/PhD program is in the approval stage. The goal of the doctoral program is to prepare students for careers as faculty members, researchers, and community leaders. Areas of specialization include Addictions and Behavioral Health, Applied Gerontology, Child and Family Welfare, and Criminal Justice.

The School’s mission is to improve lives and strengthen communities through research, education, and community partnerships. To accomplish this, the School seeks to promote excellence in its degree programs and training initiatives, while emphasizing both accessibility and student retention. Community-based research through collaborations with a wide array of local agencies is also promoted

An important component of both bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in the School is student involvement in agency-based practicum experiences. In any given semester, the Social Work and Criminal Justice and Criminology departments have hundreds of students completing internship placements throughout the region. Participating agencies seek to provide practicum experiences in which students integrate classroom content with practice demands. Through these internships, students develop professional skills by applying relevant theory and research to real-life situations in social service and criminal justice agencies.

Faculty members in both departments maintain intensive involvement in scholarly inquiry. The School has averaged approximately $5 million annually in external awards. In the 2018-19 academic year, it ranked second among all UWM schools and colleges for total-dollar awards, and first in per capita funding. To maintain and expand this success, all faculty have access within the School to the Shared Office for the Administration of Research (SOAR), which assists with applying for and managing awards and furthering faculty members’ pursuit of scientifically rigorous, interdisciplinary projects.

Institutes, offices and research partnerships include:


  • Institute for Child and Family Well-Being – (ICFW) Child and Family Well-Being is a joint initiative of HBSSW and Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. Its mission is to improve the lives of children and families with complex challenges by implementing effective programs, conducting cutting-edge research, engaging communities, and promoting systems change.

  • Office of Applied Gerontology – Applied Gerontology houses the Endowed Chair in Applied Gerontology and manages the Age and Community Scholarship Program. The office promotes optimal aging and strengthens connections with community partners by advancing opportunities in gerontology education, research and training for students, faculty, and the community.

  • Center for Aging and Translational Research (CATR) – Conceptualized and launched in 2013, the UWM Center for Aging and Translational Research brings together multiple disciplines, departments, and colleges to work together to provide a unified and strategic response to advance aging research, education, training, and community engagement.

  • Center for Urban Population Health (CUPH) – CUPH was founded in 2001 and is comprised of UW-Milwaukee, the School of Medicine and Public Health at UW-Madison and Aurora Health Care/Aurora Research Institute. CUPH partners on research, education, and service-related projects. Its mission is to advance population health research and education to improve the health of urban communities.

  • Partners for Health – Comprised of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Helen Bader School of Social Welfare, College of Health Sciences, College of Nursing, and the Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health, UWM Partners for Health is the result of a growing exchange of collegiate knowledge and resources with the public and private sectors. Partners for Health prepares students through interprofessional education; conducts innovative research to help improve the lives of those with physical and mental health issues; promotes healthier living while serving and educating the community; and informs and drives health policies locally and globally.

  • Criminal Justice – In recent years, faculty members and PhD students have collaborated on applied research projects with the Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division, House of Correction, Office of African American Affairs, District Attorney’s Office, Wisconsin State Public Defender’s Office, Milwaukee Police Department, Racine Police Department, Wisconsin Department of Corrections, Waukesha County Criminal Justice Collaborating Council, Legal Action of Wisconsin, as well as local agencies such as the Benedict Center, Sojourner Family Peace Center, and Wisconsin Community Services.

Community outreach programs include:

  • Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment for Substance Misuse (SBIRT) – The SBIRT project is a comprehensive and integrated approach to the delivery of early intervention and treatment services for substance misuse. The School trains teams of masters-level social work students, student nurse practitioners, and medical residents in the SBIRT model.

  • Training for Adoption Competency (TAC) is a 72-hour training program that involves 12 day-long modules. TAC was developed by the Center for Adoption Support and Education (CASE) in collaboration with mental health adoption and child welfare professionals throughout the United States.

  • Milwaukee Child Welfare Partnership – Funded by the Department of Children and Families, the Program provides training and professional development to child welfare professionals in Milwaukee county and foster and adoptive families and group home and home visiting staff statewide. The Program has been operating since 2001 and serves approximately 13,000 training participants annually.

  • Title IV-E Child Welfare Training Program – Funded by the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families, this program provides tuition and other support to BSW and MSW degree training for current and future child welfare workers in southeast Wisconsin. Partner agencies include the Division of Milwaukee Child Welfare, the Community Services Division of Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, SaintA, the Racine County Department of Human Services, and the Walworth County Department of Health and Human Services. The Program recently celebrated its 25th anniversary and has served more than 300 current and former child welfare staff.

  • In cooperation with Bader Philanthropies, the Office of Applied Gerontology organizes training and educational programs on issues that impact older adults, including an annual World Elder Abuse Awareness event.

  • North Central High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (NCHIDTA) Project – The School has a fiduciary relationship with the North Central High Intensity Drug Traffic Area (NCHIDTA). The School employs the civilian members of NCHIDTA through direct funding from the federal government. In return the School receives research opportunities and internship opportunities for students.

For additional information about the College of Health Sciences, please visit

The University

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is one of only two doctoral-granting research institutions in the University of Wisconsin System and is listed among the nation’s 130 top research universities, a category known as R1 by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. In addition, the national Council on Undergraduate Research recently honored UWM with its 2018 Campus-Wide Award for Undergraduate Research Accomplishments.

Founded over 60 years ago in the belief that Milwaukee would need a great public university to become a great city, UWM has a dual research and access mission aimed at serving the diverse needs of Wisconsin’s largest metropolitan area by furthering opportunities at all levels for students who may be financially or educationally disadvantaged. More than one-third of its students are the first in their families to attend college, and 30 percent are students of color. In all, the University educates more than 27,000 students on its three campuses. It is the largest educator of veterans in Wisconsin, with about 1,300 enrolled.

UWM has an estimated economic impact of $1.5 billion annually and is a central catalyst and partner in the Milwaukee 7, a regional collaboration focused on enhancing the economic well-being of the City of Milwaukee and the seven counties that comprise Wisconsin’s southeast region. The University has an operating budget of $689 million, research expenditures of $55 million, and 7,700 employees, including 4,700 student workers. With an international reputation for teaching and research excellence, the University is ranked among the world’s top 500 universities by Academic Rankings of World Universities. The Princeton Review named UWM a 2019 Best Midwestern university based on overall academic excellence and student reviews. The UWM is committed to the full inclusion of LGBT+ campus constituents. Campus Pride Index has consistently named UWM as one of the most LGBTQ-friendly postsecondary institutions in the United States. UWM was the first university in the nation to implement an inclusive housing policy.

UWM’s 199 degree programs include one associate program, 94 bachelor’s programs, 67 masters’ programs, and 37 doctoral programs across 13 degree-granting schools and colleges. UWM has many outstanding centers, institutes, and laboratories. The main campus covers 104 acres on Milwaukee’s east side. The Milwaukee campus has 54 buildings totaling nearly 9 million square feet. An aggressive building program over the past decade provided new facilities including the Kenwood Interdisciplinary Research Complex, Kenilworth Square, and Cambridge Commons, to support strong academic programs in business, architecture, performing arts, and the sciences, as well as student housing and athletics. A new Lubar Entrepreneurship Center and UWM Welcome Center opened in April 2019. Additional campuses serving freshmen and sophomore students are located in Waukesha and in Washington County.

As a doctoral research university, whose mission spans research and access, UWM enrolls a diverse mosaic of students. Fall 2018 enrollment on the Milwaukee campus was 24,955: 20,278 undergraduates and 4,677 graduate students. UWM is the second largest graduate degree-granting institution in the state, with over 3,000 master’s students and more than 1,300 doctoral students per year. Many of these students earn prestigious awards from institutions such as the Ford Foundation, the National Science Foundation, and the Big Ten Consortium for Institutional Cooperation. Alumni include leaders in higher education, government, and research institutions as well as elite private corporations and tribal services and industries. UWM’s students are drivers of Wisconsin’s economy with 75 percent remaining in Wisconsin after graduation. UWM honors diversity both in terms of the student population and the experiences offered to students. Students of color comprise about 30 percent of the overall enrollment making UWM one of the most diverse campuses in the UW System. UWM provides a number of enriching academic and research opportunities and internships for high achieving students at all levels such as UR@UWM, Support for Undergraduate Research Fellows, the McNair Program, and Honors programming.

UWM is one of 26 campuses comprising the University of Wisconsin System. A prominent feature of the UW System, including UWM, is shared governance, a unique system in U.S. higher education that is formalized in state law. Chapter 36 specifies that the faculty, academic staff, university staff, and students have primary responsibility for advising the chancellor regarding academic and educational activities and the formulation of policies, activities, and personnel matters that affect each of these groups within the University community. Such a system of governance requires an administrative environment that cultivates and sustains collaborative, consultative, and inclusive relationships with the University’s faculty, academic staff, and students.

The University recently celebrated the completion of the largest campaign in the institution’s history. The campaign, Made in Milwaukee, Shaping the World: The Campaign for UWM, raised over $251 million and exceeded the original goal by 25%. University staff and students are already seeing the impact of the campaign across the campus, from the launch of the Lubar Entrepreneurship Center and the Northwestern Data Science Institute, to new learning and research spaces, and $37 million for student scholarships. In addition, the University foundation's endowment will grow by $79 million.

The University's Panther Athletics is recognized as one of the top programs in the Horizon League. Since joining the League in 1994, the Panthers have claimed 91 Horizon League Tournament championships and 45 regular season titles. Teams have made 59 NCAA Tournament appearances, and student-athletes have posted a 3.0 or higher GPA for 35 consecutive semesters.
For additional information about the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, please visit

The Setting

The 104-acre main campus is located within a beautiful residential neighborhood on Milwaukee’s east side and features 75 buildings totaling over 8 million gross square feet. An aggressive building program over the past decade provided new facilities including the Kenwood Interdisciplinary Research Complex, Kenilworth Square, and Cambridge Commons to support strong academic programs in business, architecture, performing arts, and the sciences, as well as student housing and athletics.

The campus is a short walk from Lake Michigan, near numerous historic areas, and is located only three miles from downtown Milwaukee. Residents describe the Milwaukee area as a wonderful place to live, characterized by easy access to a wide variety of entertainment, recreational, and cultural activities that support a superb quality of life.

Nestled on the coast of Lake Michigan and only 90 minutes from Chicago, Milwaukee is a vibrant city buzzing with growth. The largest city in Wisconsin and ranked seventh in the top 10 most exciting cities in America, Milwaukee boasts a beautiful lakefront, unique neighborhoods, and many exceptional restaurants. With the world-class Milwaukee Art Museum, the Milwaukee Film Festival, and a thriving music scene, it’s no wonder Milwaukee was named a top 12 art city in the United States.

The Invitation

Application, nomination, questions, confidential conversation.


To apply, please submit a complete curriculum vitae, a letter of application, and a list of at least five references (none of whom will be contacted until a later stage of the search and not without candidate permission). The letter should summarize your professional qualifications and the accomplishments that reflect the skills, background, and experience to be successful in this key position. Successful applicants will provide specific examples of past work experience as it relates to the position responsibilities and qualifications listed above. Send your application materials to me at the email address below. The deadline for receipt of applications is Friday, November 29, 2019. First consideration will be given to those who apply by this date. The position will remain open until filled.

Nominations for this opportunity are encouraged. If a colleague comes to mind you feel might have an interest, please forward your nomination to me at the email address below. In addition, if you have any questions regarding the position or search process, please contact me via email or phone.


Thank you for your consideration,

Gary R. Rhoads
Search Consultant


Or, if you prefer, use the form below.

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For a PDF copy of this position profile webpage, click here.

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is an AA/EOE employer: All applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, disability, or protected veteran status.

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