Meet Interim Dean Leiter

Dr. Val Leiter is the Interim Dean of The College of Social Sciences, Policy, and Practice. In this role, she leads the College as an integrated, collaborative community where a deep concern for the study of society and social relationships is blended with training and research that advances practice and policy.

Photo of Valerie Leiter

Val Leiter teaches courses on medical sociology, research methods, food, drugs, and epidemiology—these topics dovetail with her research on children and youth with disabilities, medicalization, medical devices, and gender and health.

She has received multiple teaching awards, most recently, the Toby Sloane Award for Undergraduate Teaching in 2019 and the Simmons College Dean’s Award for Exceptional Undergraduate Advising in 2010.

Val received the Irving K. Zola award for Emerging Scholars in Disability Studies in 2004 for her work on "Parental Activism, Professional Dominance, and Early Childhood Disability." Her first book, Their Time Has Come: Youth with Disabilities on the Cusp of Adulthood, was published in 2012, a result of her William T. Grant Foundation Scholars project on the "Transition to Adulthood Among Youth with Disabilities." The Sociology of Health & Illness: Critical Perspectives (10th edition), co-edited with Peter Conrad, was published in 2018.

She is active in the Society for the Study of Social Problems, where Val has held multiple leadership positions, including Vice President of the Society. On campus, Val is the Chair of the Department of Public Health, the Director of the Public Health bachelors program, and a member of Institutional Review Board.

Val mentors several students each year on their independent research projects. Right now, she is working with Evangeline Kennedy (Public Health) on her senior thesis on ambiguous loss. She also mentors students as research assistants on her own research projects. Students who are interested in gaining research experience addressing women’s health medical devices are encouraged to email her and make a time to talk.