Rutgers School of Social Work alumna Dawn Apgar, PhD, LSW, ACSW was named the 2020 Academic of the Year by NASW-NJ. Dr. Apgar is the Chairperson of the Rutgers School of Social Work Alumni Council, having received her MSW degree in 1992 and her PhD in 2002 from Rutgers University. “Ever since graduating with my MSW, I have been committed to educating the next generation of social workers. I have always recognized that quality in social work education helps ensure that individuals and families get effective services. I was a field instructor and part-time faculty member before joining the academy full time. There is nothing more fulfilling than seeing the positive impacts that former students have had on the lives of others," she says.
Dr. Apgar is currently an Assistant Professor at Seton Hall University. She is the director of the undergraduate social work program and serves Assistant Chairperson of the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, Social Work, and Criminal Justice. Dr. Apgar has extensive direct practice, policy, and management experience in the human services field, but is probably best known for her best-selling social work licensure preparation books.
“Being an academic consists of service, teaching, and scholarship. While service and teaching are usually areas that come easily to social workers, they often struggle with scholarship, especially making it accessible and relevant to those in practice. I love teaching social work research. Getting students excited about research methods is a challenge, but I mostly practiced with involuntary clients, so I am used to working through resistance!”
Dr. Apgar served as Deputy Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Human Services from 2010-2017. In this position, she oversaw the Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD), the Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS), the Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired (CBVI), and the Division of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DDHH). At that time, DHS had an $11 billion annual budget and over 15,000 employees. Dr. Apgar has also been an Assistant Professor at Marywood University and the Director of the Developmental Disabilities Planning Institute which is currently at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University.