Beth Angell, Ph.D. standing in front of a \"VCU\" letter sign
Beth Angell, Ph.D., said leading the VCU School of Social Work "has been a tremendous honor and privilege."

Social Work dean accepts position at the University of Michigan

Beth Angell has led VCU’s nationally ranked School of Social Work since 2018.

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Beth Angell, Ph.D., dean of the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Social Work since 2018, has accepted the position of dean of the School of Social Work at the University of Michigan effective July 1. 

Angell is the ninth full-time dean in the 105-year history of the VCU School of Social Work, recognized as the oldest school of social work in the South. She previously served as associate professor and chair of the faculty for the School of Social Work at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.

“Leading this school has been a tremendous honor and privilege, even during challenging times,” Angell said. “The past four years have been filled with change, learning and growing together, and I am incredibly proud of how our community adapted, transformed and thrived through unprecedented circumstances. The school is well positioned to emerge strong from the pandemic, with an excellent and dedicated faculty and staff, healthy finances, and a talented administrative leadership team.”

During her tenure as dean, the school developed and launched a fully online master’s degree in social work and a schoolwide effort to embrace a racial justice and equity agenda. Under her leadership, enrollment has grown nearly 50 percent from Fall 2018 to Fall 2021 and currently stands at 1,175 students for Spring 2022. The school has welcomed more than 25 new faculty and staff since 2018 and created supportive structures for faculty development and student success that enabled the school to adapt to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ranked No. 25 overall and No. 1 in Virginia by U.S. News and World Report, the VCU School of Social Work is one of only 56 nationwide to offer bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in the discipline. During Angell’s tenure, the school successfully completed its Make It Real Campaign with gifts and pledges of $3.2 million, exceeding the goal of $2.25 million.

“Although Dean Angell will be missed throughout the university, President Michael Rao, Ph.D., and I are exceedingly proud of her as she takes this significant step in her career,” said Fotis Sotiropoulos, Ph.D., VCU’s provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. “I know that she will continue to do great things at the University of Michigan.”

At Michigan, Angell will lead the No. 1 school of social work in U.S. News and World Report’s latest rankings. The school had nearly 800 students in Fall 2021 and has more than 16,000 alumni worldwide.

Angell earned a B.A. in psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and received both an M.S.W. and a Ph.D. from the School of Social Work, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Sotiropoulos will work closely with Angell over the next few months to launch a national search for a new dean and to appoint interim leadership until a new dean is hired.