Dr. Michael C. LaSala, PhD, LCSW selected as Dean of the School of Social Work

Dr. Michael C. LaSala

Simmons University is pleased to announce that it has selected Dr. Michael C. LaSala, PhD, LCSW to serve as Dean of the School of Social Work.

Dr. LaSala has been a practicing family therapist and teacher-trainer for more than 35 years. He currently serves as Professor in Rutgers University’s School of Social Work, and has held multiple roles at the institution over the past 25 years – including as Director of both the MSW and DSW programs.

An advanced practitioner with an extensive clinical background, Dr. LaSala impressed the Search Committee with his deep understanding of the field, collaborative approach to leadership, and strong commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. The recipient of several awards for teaching innovation, he shares Simmons’ deep commitment to social work education and the preparation of future leaders in this vital field.

A committed scholar, Dr. LaSala is the author of two books and more than 30 journal articles. His research and clinical specialties center on the couple and family relationships of gay men and lesbians and the role of family influences on the sexual behaviors of gay and bisexual youth. He was a recipient of the American Family Therapy Academy’s 2017 Distinguished Contribution to Social Justice Award.

“Home to the first school of clinical social work in the nation, Simmons University has been a longtime leader in the field – shaping social work education and practice for the past 120 years,” says Simmons University Provost Stephanie Cosner. “I am confident Dr. LaSala’s strong clinical background and commitment to education and social justice will best position our School of Social Work as we continue to prepare graduates to thrive and lead in this changing and complex field.”

"I am extremely delighted to be joining the Simmons team and especially the School of Social Work,” says Dr. LaSala. “Thanks to its outstanding practice and social justice-oriented faculty, the School has a longstanding reputation as a leader in clinical social work education and scholarship, making it a perfect fit for my interests and skill set. That fit in addition to the warm welcome I have already received, makes this move feel like a true homecoming. Simmons University and the School of Social Work have a bright future, and I very much look forward to joining with faculty, administration, staff, students, alums, and community partners to build on its strong foundation to continue and advance its trajectory of excellence."

Dr. LaSala will begin the transition to Simmons during the week of February 5, 2024, and his term will officially begin on July 1, 2024 – when the new, six-school structure officially goes into effect.

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Laura Wareck