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The University of Alabama

Vandiver Named Dean of UA School of Social Work

Dr. Vikki Vandiver

Dr. Vikki Vandiver

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Dr. Vikki Vandiver has been named dean of The University of Alabama School of Social Work, said Dr. Joe Benson, UA’s interim provost.

The appointment begins July 15.

Vandiver has served as associate dean for academic affairs at the Portland State University School of Social Work since 2012 and has been a faculty member at PSU since 1992.

She will succeed at UA Dr. Lucinda Roff, who has served as interim dean since 2010 and previously served as dean from 1987-2000.

“Dr. Vandiver’s contributions to the field of social work are extensive, and she’ll be a valuable asset in leading our School of Social Work,” Benson said. “Her experience, both as an administrator and within the classroom, as well as her interests in community mental health practice and policy and health promotion will serve her well.”

Vandiver has extensive clinical and academic experience, including within programs for persons with severe mental illness and in cross-cultural mental health systems. Her additional research interests include: evidence-based mental health practice, traumatic brain injury, health promotion and equine-assisted activities with tribal youth.

She also served as an affiliate professor at Oregon Health and Sciences University School of Medicine, within the department of psychiatry. Additionally, she has served on numerous community and state boards, including a long-standing role as chairman of the board of Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare, formerly Oregon’s largest community-based behavioral healthcare organization.

“I am honored and proud to be joining one of the nation’s top schools of social work housed in a major research university,” Vandiver said. “In particular, I was drawn to the school’s world-class faculty, dedicated staff, innovative curriculum and cutting edge scholarship and research. Both the School of Social Work and The University of Alabama are recognized regionally and nationally for their standards of academic excellence, innovation and dedication to student success.

“I look forward to continuing these traditions and beyond.”

Prior to her academic appointments, Vandiver served in various mental health care positions. In 1980, she joined Texas’ Gulf Coast Community Mental Health & Mental Retardation Center as a casework coordinator within the in-patient psychiatric unit. She was subsequently promoted to program director of the day treatment program and later to supervisor of the mental health case management unit and then to program director of the outpatient mental health clinic.

She previously served as a mental health therapist and technician with Kilgore Children’s Psychiatric Hospital in Amarillo, Texas.

Vandiver holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology and a Masters of Social Work degree from the University of Houston. She earned her Doctor of Public Health from the University of Texas – Health Science Center.

Co-editor of the journal Best Practices in Mental Health, Vandiver also serves on the editorial boards of three social work journals. Author of the book, “Integrating health promotion and mental health: An introduction to policies, principles and practices,” published by Oxford University Press in 2009, Vandiver also edited “Best practices in community mental health: A pocket guide,” published in 2013 and co-authored “Maneuvering the maze of managed care,” published in 1996 by Free Press.

“We owe Dr. Roff our gratitude for returning from retirement to the deanship position during this interim period — a slot she had previously filled so admirably for more than a decade,” Benson said.

The UA School of Social Work is the only educational institution in Alabama offering bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in social work. Additionally, the School was the recipient of the 2013 Program of Excellence Award for the South region, given by the University Professional and Continuing Education Association. 

The School of Social Work has experienced growth in faculty appointments and student enrollment since 2009. On-campus enrollment has grown 19 percent, while distance learning enrollment has grown by 70 percent.

The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.