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Robin Mama, Ph.D., MSS, Steps Down as School of Social Work Dean

Robin Mama, Ph.D., MSS, LSW, Dean and Professor for the School of Social Work, will step down as dean on June 30, 2023. This announcement was made by Pamela Scott-Johnson, Ph.D., Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, on Thursday, Nov. 8.

According to the Provost’s memorandum, Mama will return to the faculty for the 2023-2024 academic year as a professor, a rank which she earned in 2006. She served as Dean of the School of Social Work for 31 years, 17 of those as the founding dean.

“Under her leadership, the School of Social Work at Monmouth has maintained continuous reaccreditation of both the BSW and MSW programs, with the most recent reaccreditation in February of 2022 for another eight years,” credited Scott-Johnson.

According to the U.S. News & World’s ranking, Monmouth’s School of Social Work is the second highest ranked school in New Jersey, listed in the top 20 percent of participating schools and programs.

Richard Veit, Ph.D., Associate Dean and Professor for the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, emphasized Mama’s part in bringing the School such esteem. “During Dr. Mama’s tenure as dean, the School of Social Work became known as one of the finest programs in the nation. Dean Mama built a vibrant program and brought together an outstanding team of faculty members.”

He added, “In my estimation, the School of Social Work is one of the most highly regarded programs at Monmouth University.”

Just this past fall, the School of Social Work welcomed its inaugural cohort class for the Doctor of Social Work (DSW) in Human Rights Leadership program.

Golam Mathbor, Ph.D., MSS, MSW, Professor for the School of Social Work, explained that Mama was at the helm in enhancing the School’s reputation, as well its selection of graduate programs.

“She was instrumental in developing Monmouth’s MSW program in 1998, not to mention last year’s launch of the DSW program…Likewise, her tireless efforts to transform the Department of Social Work into the School of Social Work in 2008 is praiseworthy,” said Mathbor.

In addition to the academic programs themselves, Mama’s leadership over the School of Social Work has facilitated a number of public projects, like The Coming Home Project for veterans, The Paul Coverdell Peace Corps Fellowship, The Virginia A. Community Garden at Monmouth, just to name a few.

Despite her myriad of accomplishments, it appears Mama’s compassion and character are the most noteworthy to her faculty and program directors.

“She meets with students when they knock on her door; she makes herself available for mentoring and problem solving with faculty; she attends School events, whether day or night, weekday, and weekend…We know we can count on her being there and enthusiastically participating,” started Colleen Beach, MSW, LSW, Specialist Professor.

Beach continued, “She is special because she expects all of us to strive for academic and professional excellence so as to keep our mission of preparing the next generation of social workers first and foremost in our minds.”

“Dean Mama is a class act, who is a tireless advocate for her school, her faculty, and her students, and is well known for her positive leadership style,” concurred Veit.

Michael Cronin, Ph.D., LCSW, Associate Professor and MSW Program Director, elaborated that there are three things that consummate a leader— respect, transparency, and trust— all of which he attributes to Mama.

He began, “First, Dr. Mama is respectful; great leaders treat their teams with respect, thereby earning respect in return. Second, she is transparent; being open and honest makes work more efficient and enjoyable. Lastly, she is trustworthy; leadership requires delegation— trusting one’s team to complete what they are assigned with excellence produces positive morale and mutual respect.”

While Mama has made herself an asset to the School, the faculty look forward to what’s next for the School of Social Work.

Mathbor underscored what Mama’s successor should consider for the School’s future. “The School of Social Work is in good standing and nationally known for its unique programs. However, the School does not represent the demographic attributes of our unique state and country. Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) issues for effective participation of both students and faculty members in School matters need to be strengthened. Her successor needs to build on what the school has already established and to look for new initiatives to sustain current programs and to take the school to new heights.”

Beach reflected on a similar issue to Mathbor, “It is my hope that the School of Social Work will continue its journey towards anti-racism and will thrive as a program that is deeply committed to preparing social work students for a career in human rights based social work. My vision of the future includes creative programming by our faculty that meets the needs of an ever-changing social work workforce, active engagement of the students, and a compassionate administration that embraces and supports our students and us.”

Mama also commented on the School’s future upon her departure, “We have built a solid school with a very good national and international reputation. We are accredited until 2030, so the new dean can come in and work with everyone to do new things and take the school to new heights!”

She noted, “It has been wonderful being the dean of this school. We have an excellent team of faculty, administrators, and staff. There have always been projects or work that we have engaged in over the years that have made this job fun and rewarding.”

“While Dean Mama may have a petite foot, she has an impressive footprint,” concluded Cronin.