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Introducing Dean Laura Nissen

Dr. Laura Burney Nissen has been appointed as Dean of the School of Social Work at Portland State University and will begin her appointment January 6, 2014.

"Dear Friends,
It is a tremendous honor to have been selected to be your dean. Although I am very familiar with the SSW from several vantage points, I'm going to spend my first few months exploring the parts that I don't yet know, revisiting familiar areas with fresh eyes, and asking for your assistance in collectively laying the foundation for renewed strategic direction. I welcome and encourage your input regarding the priorities that should be considered for my first few months. I'll also spend time getting an in-depth orientation to the larger administrative landscape at PSU, and re-connecting with community leaders and other stakeholders through listening sessions.

I believe that my deanship will be successful to the degree that I do a good job of representing the diverse range of interests, ideas and directions that we collectively share. To do this well, I'll need to hear from you. I will be developing mechanisms to have an 'open door' in terms of sessions to talk, as well as online vehicles to make it possible. We have a very busy season ahead, and although resources (especially time) are limited, I hope to find ways of eliciting ideas, promoting dialogue and encouraging collective reflection about the future of our community in ways that are respectful of the time/work crunch we all face.

I want to thank Nancy Koroloff for the 'beyond' leadership role she has assumed within the school. Nancy will be assisting me for a few weeks formally, as part of the transition, and then staying on for some months to help execute all of the 50th anniversary plans. In addition to our other activities - we have a terrific slate of celebrations to look forward to. I also want to thank our extraordinarily hard working Search Committee who has truly gone above and beyond the last few years, and to Provost Andrews and President Wiewel for the opportunity.

Last but not least, I want to acknowledge my husband, Don and my daughter Hannah for their love and
encouragement to take this big leap.

Happy winter term! Thank you for everything that you do. Here's to looking forward to a bright new chapter in the history of our school!"

Laura Nissen, Ph.D., LMSW, CDAC III
Dean and Professor


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