Wayne State School of Social Work welcomes new academic, faculty leadership


The Wayne State School of Social Work is pleased to announce new leadership in the areas of academic and faculty affairs as the 2016-17 academic year gets underway.

Joy Ernst, a Hartford Geriatric Social Work Faculty Scholar and nationally recognized expert in elder abuse, has joined the school as associate professor and associate dean for academic affairs. Most recently a professor of social work and director of the social work program at Hood College in Frederick, Md., Ernst will provide strategic guidance to promote and maintain the academic excellence of the school. Meanwhile, Distinguished Professor Jerrold Brandell, a practicing psychotherapist and psychoanalyst and member of Wayne State’s social work faculty for nearly 25 years, has been appointed to the newly created position of associate dean for faculty affairs. In this role, he will work with school leadership to design and implement the school’s faculty development and mentoring plans.

Ernst’s extensive leadership and research experience include social work positions in agencies serving families and runaway/homeless youth and numerous published articles and book chapters on adult protective services programs, elder mistreatment and self-neglect, and child maltreatment and child welfare practice. She serves on the research committee for the National Adult Protective Services Association and is a member of the board of directors of the National Center for the Prevention of Elder Abuse. As associate dean for academic affairs, she will help lead curriculum design and development, assist with program assessment and renewal activities, assure adherence to accreditation standards, serve as the school’s graduate officer, and coordinate enrollment management activities.

“I am honored to become part of the leadership of the School of Social Work at Wayne State and committed to its urban mission,” Ernst said. “I am impressed by the breadth of programming from baccalaureate to doctoral level education, the school’s commitment to research excellence, and its involvement in interdisciplinary and interprofessional education.”

Brandell, who served as interim associate dean for academic affairs from January to August 2016, has taught at the Wayne State School of Social Work since 1992 while serving as a visiting professor, leading workshops, and lecturing on clinical topics throughout Europe and in China, Israel, and New Zealand. He is a past recipient of Wayne State University’s Distinguished Faculty Fellowship Award, the School of Social Work Award for Outstanding Teaching, and The University of Chicago’s Edith Abbott Doctoral Teaching Fellowship. He is author, coauthor, or editor/coeditor of 12 books, and founding editor-in-chief of the journal Psychoanalytic Social Work, which is currently in its 24th year of publication. He also serves on the editorial boards of Clinical Social Work Journal and the Bulletin of the Michigan Council for Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy Council, and has been recognized as a distinguished practitioner by the National Academies of Practice.

As associate dean for faculty affairs, Brandell will oversee the mentoring plan for tenure track faculty and serve as a consultant and resource for full-time faculty in areas of teaching, student mentoring, service and committee assignments, and school/university culture. He will also facilitate faculty forums, manage the school teaching awards, and participate in faculty orientation. Brandell said the school has enjoyed tremendous growth since the early 1990s, particularly with respect to the cultivation of talented and nationally recognized faculty and the strengthening of its long-standing reputation as Michigan’s “practice school.” In recent years, he noted, the school has welcomed faculty with extensive clinical practice backgrounds, introduced a “clinical scholarship” concentration within its doctoral program, and seen ever-larger numbers of students selecting the “macro” concentration (I-CPL) as they enter their advanced year. Meanwhile, he said, the school’s Center for Social Work Research has attained international prominence, and faculty have become highly sought-after as consultants to governmental agencies and regional and national organizations on a range of critical social problems.

“Although I continue to find satisfaction in teaching, I welcome the opportunity to serve the school in this newly created administrative capacity,” said Brandell, an accomplished jazz musician who plays alto, tenor and soprano saxophone. “I figure that, at least in the beginning, I’ll be improvising a good part of the time, but as any good jazz player will tell you, improvisation often leads to entirely novel ways of looking at familiar things.”

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