Joanne Corbin, PhD, looks forward to leading Adelphi's School of Social Work.

Joanne Corbin, PhD, joined Adelphi University on July 17, 2023, as dean of the University's School of Social Work.

Dr. Corbin comes to Adelphi from the University of Connecticut School of Social Work, where since 2020 she served as professor and associate dean for academic affairs. As she begins her new role at Adelphi, Dr. Corbin shares what brought her to the University, highlights her professional achievements and experiences, and discusses some of what she plans to accomplish, including connecting faculty and students to collaborate on critical research topics, as well as connecting the School with other Adelphi colleges and the community at large.

What intrigued you about the School of Social Work and led you to Adelphi? 

What interested me most about Adelphi’s School of Social Work are the important faculty areas of research and scholarship—including, but not limited to, international social work, anti-racism and anti-oppression, practice with individuals and families that have been displaced, practice with youth who have been marginalized, and group work. One aspect that differentiates Adelphi from other schools of social work is the diversity of the faculty and student body, which enhances the points of view that faculty and students bring to their studies.

How do your previous leadership roles align with your new role?

I bring nine years of extensive leadership experience at all program levels, including nationally with the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). I have co-facilitated processes for strategic planning for a school of social work that aligned with the larger university goals. I have been involved in the successful reaccreditation processes for two MSW programs and the accreditation of one BSW program.

I have also initiated and implemented academic vision and goals. As director of the PhD program at Smith College’s School of Social Work, I led an advisory group revising the doctoral program curriculum, developed programs to support doctoral students’ completion of comprehensive exams and dissertation proposals, and mentored doctoral students as they developed their scholarship areas.

As chair of CSWE’s Council on Global Learning and Practice, our committee prepared guidelines for international social work field placements and field study programs, developed international study programs for faculty, and produced teaching modules, articles and presentations on global social work.

I will bring these experiences of implementing change within institutions and nationally to my role as dean.

What are a few of your goals and priorities near and longer term?

I’d say that my overarching goals are to increase and leverage relationships for research and practice, grow and diversify the student body, increase interdisciplinary partnerships, and increase fundraising, all in support of the mission of preparing the next generation of social work practitioners and scholars.

Specifically, I will focus on increasing connections between the School and its community research and practice partners, as well as establishing more interdisciplinary research and practice opportunities between the School of Social Work and other University schools and colleges. I also aim to increase student engagement with faculty research and practice opportunities.

How do your goals align with Adelphi’s strategic goals and the goals of the School of Social Work?

The goals I’ve identified support the University’s mission in terms of creating a transformative learning environment of intellectual rigor, practice-informed research, and community engagement. These goals also strengthen Adelphi’s community relationships and beyond while creating a safe, welcoming space, enabling individuals to achieve excellence.

How do you see the role of social work graduates evolving now and in the future?

The complex nature of the issues facing individuals, families and communities requires that we prepare social workers for interdisciplinary collaborative relationships. Social workers have historically worked collaboratively with educators in public schools or with healthcare professionals in medical settings. We are seeing the need for more interdisciplinary work with the disciplines of public health, engineering, business and others. I look forward to exploring opportunities to strengthen and expand interdisciplinary experiences with social work and the schools and colleges at Adelphi.

What are the most important components of a strong social work program?

Three important components of a strong social work program are the faculty, the students and the communities in which they are situated:

  • Faculty who are committed to research and teaching and who ignite students’ passion for engaging in this discipline
  • Students who are engaged in the learning process through their coursework, as well as through practice experiences, like internships
  • A social work program that sustains and develops relationships with communities, community partners, state partners and other educational institutions

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our community?

I am excited to begin at Adelphi University and look forward to learning more about the University and its strengths.

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