Simmons Appoints New Dean for the School of Social Work

July 07, 2015

Cheryl Parks

We are thrilled to announce the appointment of Cheryl A. Parks, MSW, PhD, as Dean of the School of Social Work.

Cheryl A. Parks is a social work clinical care intervention expert who specializes in sexual minority identity development. She will arrive at the Simmons School of Social Work on July 27, 2015.

Parks worked for 18 years as a practicing social work clinician, administrator, and private practitioner before returning to academia to earn her PhD. In addition to her expertise in clinical care and sexual minority identity development, she also has studied the intersection of gender, sexual, and racial identities and their impact on mental health and alcohol use among women.

“Growing research opportunities for faculty and students will be a priority in the coming years, and Dr. Parks’s fresh ideas and proven experience in research will serve Simmons well,” said Provost and Senior Vice President Katie Conboy. “Her commitment to diversity, community-engaged service and scholarship, and interdisciplinary collaboration are fully consistent with Simmons’s historic values and future direction.”

Parks comes from Salisbury University’s Seidel School of Education and Professional Studies, where she served as dean. She has published multiple articles, made numerous presentations, and is a sought-after speaker. Parks has received grants and funding totaling more than $3.2 million between 2000 and 2013. Funders have included the National Institutes of Health; Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; Office of Adolescent Health/Administration on Children, Youth & Families; Lesbian Health Fund of the Gay & Lesbian Medical Association; and the Long Term Care Ombudsmen Program, Hartford.

A member of the National Association of Social Workers and the Council on Social Work Education, she has assumed national leadership roles on identity issues. She was a founding board member of BerksTALKLINE, a more than 20-year old hotline for Pennsylvania youth, and was a three-time president of the Connecticut family service agency True Colors, Inc. Parks holds a B.A. in Social Welfare and Psychology from Rhode Island College, an MSW from the University of Washington, and a PhD in Social Work from Bryn Mawr College.

The Simmons Community extends a warm welcome to Dean Parks and is looking forward to her arrival on campus this month!