I am thrilled to be stepping into the role of Dean at the University of Maryland School of Social Work. As I reflect on my first day in the position, I want to share my thoughts and hopes for the SSW community. I wish I could have done this in person but soon, I hope to meet all of you face-to-face.
I knew when I applied for this position back in November 2019, that I was joining a world-class school with dedicated faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community members. Since then, my initial impressions have been consistently confirmed. In every meeting or conversation I’ve had – regardless of rank, position, or longevity – I’ve been impressed with your commitment and investment in the SSW. I am truly grateful to have been chosen and invited to be a part of this vibrant community.
This transition comes at a particularly challenging time with uncertainty in our lives created by two colliding and intersecting pandemics – the COVID-19 pandemic that started this past year and the pandemic of racism that has been with us for over 400 years. My hope is to partner with all of you to continue to imagine and reimagine our work to identify and confront anti-Blackness, intersectional racial inequalities, and address the injustices many have experienced based on your race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation and identity, abilities, gender, position, and age. I ask for your patience as I continue to learn more about the SSW, the university, and our communities as we struggle to address these challenges head-on and in partnership with each other. In the next few months, I intend to engage with many from our community of faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community leaders to determine concrete and measurable steps to move our School forward.
Thank you for your patience during this transition. Thank you too for your incredibly hard work these past several months. Your dedication and commitment to outstanding education, research, and community service is clearly evident and appreciated. I look forward to joining with you as we strive to accomplish our mission of advancing the well-being of populations and communities and promoting racial, social, and economic justice. And I look forward to meeting you all in person (or remotely) soon!
Dean Judy l. Potmus, PhD, MSW