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Lynn Videka

Carol T. Mowbray Collegiate Professor of Social Work

Lynn Videka

Lynn Videka, Carol T. Mowbray Collegiate Professor of Social Work, earned a BS degree in nursing with honors from the University of Illinois. She earned her AM and PhD degrees from the University of Chicago. Videka has dedicated her career to advancing social work research and to research leadership.

Her research and teaching focus on effective prevention services for families in the child welfare system and recovery-oriented approaches for people with mental health disabilities. Her scholarship contributes to advancing evidence-based social work practice and to defining social work’s role in integrated health care. Her funded research totals over $11 million from agencies such as the Health Resources and Services Administration, the U.S. Children's Bureau, and the National Institutes of Mental Health.

Videka is a respected university leader. At the University at Albany-SUNY (1981-2009), she was named a Distinguished Service Professor, and served as dean and vice president for research. As vice president for research, she was the university’s chief research officer and facilitated the founding of an RNA Institute, oversaw eight university-level research centers and institutes in atmospheric sciences, social sciences, life sciences and information technology. At New York University, where she was dean of the Silver School of Social Work from 2009-2016, she and the faculty transformed the school with a rededication to social justice, strengthened research and PhD education, launched a DSW program, created the Global MSW program and increased the school's engagement with New York's high need communities.

From 2016-2021, she served as dean of the U-M School of Social Work. She led faculty, staff, alumni, students and community partners in creating a strategic plan with an ambitious interdisciplinary leadership vision. Videka and the faculty diversified students, faculty and staff; renewed the MSW and PhD curriculums with deepened examinations of privilege, oppression, diversity and social justice; increased accessibility of the MSW program with part-time, online, undergraduate-to-graduate-study pipelines and MOOC study options, as well as with need-based financial aid policies; renewed engagement with Detroit and southeastern Michigan communities; and strengthened research that informs social justice. A new generation of 20 social work scholars joined the school during her tenure, and the School continued to be recognized for its excellence and leadership in social work research and education.

Videka is a leader who works to advance social work. She is a member of the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare. She has served in leadership roles including President of the National Association of Deans and Directors of Social Work, Board President of the Institute for the Advancement of Social Work Research, Vice President and Conference Chair for the Society for Social Work and Research, and Executive Committee member of the Saint Louis Group, an association of research-intensive social work schools. She has received international recognition, with a Fulbright Fellowship, Social Worker of the Year Award from the New York State Northeastern Division chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, and distinguished visiting faculty appointments at universities in the U.S., China, and Korea. She considers her highly interdisciplinary education at the University of Chicago to be the transformative experience that prepared her for a career of strong leadership, research and service.

Research Interests/Focus

Peer-helping models for people facing life crises; the effectiveness of social work practice; prevention services, especially to mental health and child welfare populations


Year Degree   School
PhD Social Service Administration University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
AM Social Service Administration University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
BSN Nursing University of Illinois, Chicago

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