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Conversation with N. Andrew Peterson Incoming Associate Dean for Research
August 26, 2020

Rutgers School of Social Work is pleased to announce the appointment of three new associate deans effective September 1, 2020 including Associate Dean for Research Andy Peterson.

Peterson will work with faculty on research development, co-lead (with Associate Dean for Faculty Development Victoria Banyard) the school’s postdoctoral training program, and work with Dr. Sheila Borges Rajguru to facilitate the grant submission process. Peterson also will chair the Research Advisory Committee and serve on the Dean’s Advisory Committee, as well as on University and Chancellor led committees with regard to research.

Peterson first joined the School in 1998, and served as associate director of the Center for Social and Community Development, which eventually became the Institute for Families. He joined the faculty in 2001-02 and, after serving at another university for 5 years, rejoined the School’s faculty in 2007. He has since served as founding director of the School’s Center for Prevention Science and co-founder and co-director of the School’s Northeast and Caribbean Prevention Technology Transfer Center, which performs research, training, and technical assistance activities in New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Peterson was the School’s first elected Fellow of the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare, which is the nation’s top honorific society of distinguished scholars and practitioners dedicated to achieving excellence in the field of social work and social welfare. Peterson was also elected Fellow of the Community Psychology Division of the American Psychological Association. He has been conducting applied research on community interventions for more than 25 years. This work has focused on community driven efforts to prevent or ameliorate conditions that cause social and health disparities. 

“I try to effect positive change in communities by understanding their challenges and strengths, the mechanisms through which sociopolitical and physical environmental conditions can be altered, as well as by developing theory and instruments that can explain and measure the process of social change,” Peterson says.

Peterson describes the focus of his new role as identifying emerging social work research priorities, building research clusters/centers, and enhancing support for the School’s current research initiatives.

“We need to continue increasing our tenure track and non-tenure track faculty size to better approximate ratios with key competitor programs and to better align faculty representation with student diversity.” Peterson says.

Peterson also views his role as also helping to ensure that there are strong Inclusion, Intersectionality, Diversity, Equity, and Advance (IIDEA) research foci in the School’s research portfolio. Peterson also wants to help ensure broad, diverse representation of faculty in the School’s research centers and among the general faculty.

“We need to ensure that IIDEA perspectives permeate our research portfolio,” Peterson says.

Other objectives include increasing the School’s performance on key metrics of productivity, such as articles, presentations, and contracts/grants submitted and awarded, as well as increasing external funding for research efforts from diverse funding sources and increasing the effective indirect cost recovery percentage. Peterson also hopes to develop additional grant writing and research management supports, including mechanisms for accessing statistical consultation and editing support, along with budget development and project management training.

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