Celebrating an uncommon experience

VCU interim dean Gary Cuddeback, wearing a green sweater and blue pants, stands outside by a large planter with colorful flowers, with a VCU sign in the background.
Interim Dean Gary S. Cuddeback, Ph.D., M.S.W., M.P.H.

The School of Social Work at Virginia Commonwealth University recognized its 105th anniversary in 2022-2023. We celebrated our faculty, staff and students who won acclaim for excellence, innovation and passion – in the classroom, in research and in engagement, both at home and abroad.

We were excited to learn in January that Anthony Estreet, Ph.D., was named chief executive officer of the National Association of Social Workers. The 2007 VCU M.S.W. graduate joined us in May as our Commencement speaker. “I can tell you without a doubt that in 2007, this was not even on my radar,” says Dr. Estreet, who credits VCU with equipping him with the skills to succeed. 

We are extremely proud of the global experiences that our faculty, students and a recent B.S.W. graduate participated in this year, spanning three continents, seven countries and more than 45,000 miles. Bridging borders and building connections, these opportunities also showcase the unlimited possibilities, reach and impact the School of Social Work has. Just as importantly, these participants expressed the value of the cultural exchange and the idea of “cultural humility,” de-centering American and Western perspectives.

Closer to home, faculty-led projects are making an impact: a study to prevent adverse childhood experiences in collaboration with the Virginia Department of Health and funded by the Centers for Disease Control; and a training program to better equip child welfare workers to help families impacted by substance use funded by the National Institute of Drug Abuse. Combined with excellent enrollment and a steady increase in research proposals, the school continues to live into its mission of guiding the next generation of social workers while offering impactful research and scholarship.

Together, we’re building knowledge by listening, learning and leading through community-engaged research and scholarship. We are inspired by the diverse backgrounds of our students and the communities we serve. We collaborate across disciplines to innovate solutions to key challenges: disparities in health and behavioral health outcomes, housing access and social injustice. We embrace our Richmond roots and our important connections, as we increase opportunities and access to social work education through our online program formats.

Gary S. Cuddeback signature

Gary S. Cuddeback, Ph.D., M.S.W., M.P.H.
Interim Dean and Professor
VCU School of Social Work