SSW Update from Interim Dean Suzanne Sankar '77SW

July 01, 2015

Suzanne Sankar

Dear School of Social Work alumni,

May 15 marked the 110th Commencement for Simmons College. With 192 M.S.W. graduates, 5 Ph.D. in Social Work graduates, and 16 B.S.W. graduates representing our first undergraduate class, the School of Social Work made a strong showing at the Commencement ceremony in Boston’s Seaport District.  

July 2015 will be the first-year anniversary of the SSW’s innovative online program, SocialWork@Simmons. Dana Leeman, associate professor of practice and program director for the online M.S.W. program and Silvana Castaneda, associate professor and director of field education, are leading the program which currently has students residing in 46 states and the District of Columbia. Simmons SSW now has a national scope and presence that it has never had before. We hope to count on our current national alumni network to help connect our online students with the Simmons SSW community and school traditions. If you’re interested in our new endeavor educating online students, contact Dr. Dana Leeman to learn more. 

Finally, I am happy to announce that the SSW’s eleventh Dean will be Dr. Cheryl Parks. Dr. Parks is currently dean of the Seidel School of Education and Professional Studies at Salisbury University in Maryland. She holds a B.A. in social welfare and psychology from Rhode Island College, an M.S.W. from the University of Washington, and a Ph.D. in social work from Bryn Mawr College. Dr. Parks was the associate dean for research at the University of Connecticut School of Social Work. At Salisbury University, she leads an interdisciplinary school composed of four professionally accredited departments: education specialties, teacher education, social work, and health and sport sciences. 
Dr. Parks worked for 18 years as a practicing social work clinician, administrator, and private practitioner before returning to academia to earn her Ph.D. She brings a deep understanding of social work and social work education to her new position. Dr. Parks will begin her deanship July 27, 2015.

In closing, I’ve been honored to serve as the interim dean for 2014-2015.  We’ve had a great year with several exciting initiatives including the successful roll out of SocialWork@Simmons and the new Behavioral Health Workforce federal training grant. I can confidently say that the SSW is as strong as ever and continues to be a leader in clinical social work and clinical social work education.

Enjoy the summer!


Suzanne Sankar ’77SW
Interim Dean