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Welcome from Dean Cathryn C. Potter

Dear Students,

I am pleased to welcome you to Rutgers School of Social Work. We are very glad you have chosen to join us!

As we continue to endure the effects of COVID-19, the field of social work is proving to be more crucial than ever. Social workers remain on the front lines of the pandemic, providing an array of essential services to many populations, including the most vulnerable among us. Earning a degree in social work will prepare you to help solve social problems, especially in times like these. It will also provide you the opportunity to work across many fields from public health to community organizing. The work you will do after you graduate will be vital to the health and healing of our country – and to our world.

At the same time, we are also in a moment where we, as social workers, are being called to live out our values as professionals and as citizens. Rutgers School of Social Work recognizes that the murders, police brutality, and racial injustices that occurred earlier this year – a continuation of the more than 400 years of violent racism and murder in this land – have caused great suffering across our community. The loss of Black lives, including George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, serve as a painful reminder of the systemic and institutionalized racism that have plagued the United States for centuries. They are also a reminder that we, as social workers, have much more work to do in the fight towards justice. This is a historic moment that we hope can serve as a catalyst to galvanize real and lasting change. Each generation is called anew to stand up against threats to democracy and stand for the vision embodied in our nation’s founding documents. Social workers are always called upon to promote the social justice values that underlie our profession.

For members of an educational community that values social justice, difficult moments and controversial issues are opportunities for conversation, for creative thinking, and for action. Here at Rutgers, you will find fellow students, faculty, and staff who are eager to engage with you on this journey.

At Rutgers School of Social Work, our mission is to develop and disseminate knowledge through social work research, education, and training that promotes social and economic justice and strengthens individual, family, and community well-being in this diverse and increasingly global environment of New Jersey and beyond.

Our faculty members are conducting very interesting research, and our professional part-time lecturers are social work leaders in and outside of the state. Our centers and institute are engaged in the kind of integrative research and practice that the profession is calling out for.

You are the future of social work; you will be creating new pathways for excellence and innovation in the profession. I look forward to watching your careers unfold.

Thank you for choosing social work, and thank you for selecting Rutgers. It will be a pleasure to get to know you over the coming months and years.


Cathryn C. Potter, MSW, Ph.D.
Dean and Professor

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