Dear SSW Community, we share the following message sent from Chancellor Conway on the vital role Dean Cathryn Potter has played over the last ten years and the next steps for welcoming a new Dean to the Rutgers School of Social Work! 

Dear Rutgers University­–New Brunswick Community,

I write to share the news that Dean Cathryn Potter has decided to step down as Dean of the School of Social Work during the summer of 2023, at which point she will have served in that role, with distinction, for a full decade.

Dean Potter will assist my office in the immediate, nationwide search for her successor, and will continue serving through this academic year to ensure a seamless transition for the School of Social Work (SSW).

Dean Potter has led the school in pursuing several important advancements in academic excellence, research excellence, and student success. The school’s research and sponsored projects portfolio has increased to approximately $60 million including multi-year contracts and grants. SSW is a major partner with the State of New Jersey in human services areas including substance abuse treatment and prevention, gambling studies, community-based prevention research, child welfare, children’s mental health, and 0-3 early childhood initiatives. Its federal awards have also steadily increased over time, to $13 million in 2022. The school has made strong progress to achieve the goals of its strategic plan, Toward a More Just Future, which aligns with the Rutgers University­New Brunswick Academic Master Plan. Its enrollment has grown to 2,200 students across four degrees, and its full-time faculty has also grown, with a diverse group of talented researchers and teachers.

The Rutgers School of Social Work is among the few top 20 social work programs located in large public, research institutions, and has a top reputation for excellence in social work education and social work research. Its rankings have improved steadily over the past 15 years, with improvement each ranking year, rising from the mid-30s to 16th in the nation. Dean Potter calls these successes “a tribute to our dedicated faculty and staff.”

Please join me in thanking Dean Potter for leading the School of Social Work to many successes that have benefited our students, the State of New Jersey, and the nation, and in wishing her the very best in her future endeavors.


Francine Conway, Ph.D.

Chancellor-Provost, Rutgers University­–New Brunswick