This is an archived article.

October 4, 2001

Van Soest to head Social Work

Dorothy Van Soest, professor and associate dean of the School of Social Work of the University of Texas at Austin, has been selected as dean of the School of Social Work at the UW, President Richard L. McCormick has announced.


The appointment will be effective Feb. 1, 2002, subject to the approval by the UW Board of Regents.


“Dorothy Van Soest comes to us with an outstanding background,” McCormick said, “combining visionary leadership with a deep sense of commitment. I am confident that she will continue the tradition of excellence that has made this school one of the very best in the nation.”


Van Soest’s professional career spans 36 years and includes a broad range of experience in social work practice, teaching, academic and practice administration, curriculum development and scholarship. Early in her career, she was a social worker at the Boise Forte Reservation in northern Minnesota and worked for the St. Louis County public welfare agency in Virginia, Minn. She also was a group home coordinator on Long Island and was a Head Start teacher and director in the Bronx, Chicago, and rural Minnesota. She has taught at five different schools of social work over the past 25 years, including the University of Minnesota, Smith College, St. Thomas University/College of St. Catherine, Catholic University, and Texas.


Van Soest received a doctorate from Catholic University in Washington, D.C. in 1994. She has been on the faculty of the University of Texas since 1995. As associate dean, she had oversight responsibility for all academic programs and student services. In addition, she was principal investigator for five community-university partnership projects. She played a key role in developing the school’s Diversity Institute and in revising the master’s program curriculum.


She is the author of five books and currently is co-authoring a book for social work professors on mastering skills for teaching social justice and diversity. Her most recent research project is investigating the lives of the 37 men who were executed by the state of Texas in 1997. She has conducted numerous research projects on teaching and learning related to cultural diversity.


Van Soest’s salary will be $174,000.


Associate professor and associate dean Edwina Uehara will serve as acting dean until Van Soest’s arrival.