Laura Burney Nissen, a faculty member at the Portland State University School of Social Work for the last 14 years, was recently appointed as the school’s dean. She will begin her new position on Monday, Jan. 6.
Nissen replaces David Springer, who took a faculty position at the University of Texas in Austin at the end of the 2012-13 academic year. Nancy Koroloff has been serving as interim dean while the University searched for a permanent replacement.
“It is rewarding to know that after conducting a national search that we had an internal candidate with just the right skills and desire to lead the School of Social Work,” said Sona Andrews, PSU provost and vice president for academic affairs. “Laura's knowledge of the school, the University, our community, and the social work discipline will be a tremendous asset as we move forward. We are delighted to welcome her to this new position,” she added.
In addition to being a professor at PSU, Nissen is the founder and former national director of Reclaiming Futures, an initiative funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to improve the assessment and treatment of teens with substance abuse problems. The program is headquartered at PSU’s Regional Research Institute.
Nissen holds a Ph.D. and a master’s degree in social work from the University of Denver, and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Metropolitan State College of Denver.
PSU’s School of Social Work is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as one of the best social work graduate schools in the country. It is the only graduate social work program in Oregon accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.