Meet the Director

Cheryl A. Parks photograph

Cheryl A. Parks brings more than 30 years of experience in clinical social work and academic administration, as well as research and other professional achievements to Simmons University. Appointed Dean of the Simmons School of Social Work in July 2015, Parks comes from Salisbury University's Seidel School of Education and Professional Studies, where she served as dean from 2013 - 2015. Prior to her appointment at Salisbury, she served four years as Associate Dean for Research (2009-2013) at the University of Connecticut School of Social Work where she had been a member of the faculty since 1999.

An expert in clinical social work practice with a specialty in sexual minority identity development, Parks has also studied the intersection of gender, sexual, and racial identities and their impact.

Parks has published multiple articles, made numerous presentations and is a sought-after speaker. She 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 BA 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.