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Remembering Dr. Paul Glasser, Former Dean of Rutgers School of Social Work and Seminal Figure in the Field
April 15, 2020

Dr. Paul Glasser, former Dean of Rutgers School of Social Work, passed away on Wednesday, April 8, 2020. He was 90 years old. 

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of Dr. Glasser, a luminary in the field of social work,” says Rutgers School of Social Work Dean Cathryn C. Potter. “Dr. Glasser had a profound impact during his tenure at Rutgers School of Social Work. Among many accomplishments, he was steadfast in his pursuit of increasing equality and diversity at all levels throughout the School. His remarkable legacy will continue to live on at the School of Social Work and within the field for generations.”

Born in the Bronx, New York, he graduated from City College at the age of 19 and went into the Army as a medical social worker achieving the rank of First Lieutenant. He received a Master’s in Social Work degree from Columbia University and earned a Ph.D. at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Dr. Glasser was a professor at the University of Michigan from 1958 to 1978 and served as Dean of the Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Texas at Arlington from 1978 to 1988. He then became Dean of Rutgers School of Social Work from 1988 to 1992, stepping down from that role and becoming an Endowed Chair through 2008. He was named emeritus professor in 2008. After retiring, he lived in Israel for several years before returning to New York.

Dr. Glasser was a seminal figure in social work. He was the recipient of three Fulbright Hays scholarships and conducted pioneering research in the areas of group behavior and dynamics, marriage and family, child welfare, and the patient interview process. He authored over 100 articles in social work and was the author of many books, including the classic, Individual Change Through Small Groups (co-edited with Rosemary Sarri, and Robert Vinter), Families in Crisis (co-edited with Lois Glasser), Group Workers at Work: Theory and Practice in the 80s (co-edited with Nazneen Mayadas), and The First Helping Interview: Engaging the Client and Building Trust (with Sara Fine). 

He leaves behind two children, Heather and Frederick, three grandchildren, Joshua, Miriam and Everett, and beloved nieces and nephews, Robin, Amy, and Stephen.

Rutgers School of Social Work Associate Professor Raymond Sanchez Mayers explains, “Besides being a leading figure in social work and social work education, on a personal and professional level, Dr. Glasser was a man of great integrity and intellect. As a dean, he believed in faculty governance and equity. He was a gentleman and a scholar.”

“Paul was a scholar and leader in the social work profession,” comments former Rutgers School of Social Work Dean Mary Edna Davidson. “Paul was also the best of colleagues. He welcomed me as dean with open arms and was steadfastly loyal throughout my tenure.”

Condolences can be sent to Frederick Glasser at 5 Hickory Road, Rocky Point, NY 11778.

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