Lawlor to take reins as social work dean

Edward F. Lawlor, Ph.D., dean of the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago, will become dean of the George Warren Brown School of Social Work on July 1, according to Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton.

Lawlor will succeed Shanti K. Khinduka, Ph.D., who last year announced his intention to retire as dean on June 30, 2004.

Edward Lawlor
Edward Lawlor

Highlights of Khinduka’s nearly 30-year term as dean include construction of Goldfarb Hall and renovation of Brown Hall; formation of centers of pathbreaking research in areas such as addiction, mental-health services, social development and in support of American Indians; and remarkable growth of the research portfolio of the social work faculty.

After a sabbatical, Khinduka will retain his position as the George Warren Brown Distinguished University Professor.

“Dean Lawlor’s extraordinary leadership as dean of the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration and his outstanding research and community service make him well-suited to lead the continuing ascent of the George Warren Brown School of Social Work as one of the top institutions for social work education and research,” Wrighton said. “I am pleased that we have attracted such an outstanding leader to build upon the School of Social Work’s strong foundation developed during Shanti Khinduka’s tenure.

“In Eddie Lawlor, we have not only a wonderful academic leader but also an individual who will continue to build interdisciplinary programs of education and research of great importance to society.”

Enola E. Proctor, Ph.D., the Frank J. Bruno Professor of Social Work Research and associate dean for research, chaired the search committee that recommended Lawlor.

“Edward Lawlor has a remarkable record of achievement in scholarship, educational leadership and service to the profession and the community,” Proctor said. “His appointment surely will advance the research, teaching and service missions of the George Warren Brown School of Social Work.

“I will be thrilled to have him as a colleague and intellectual leader for our school.”

Lawlor, a groundbreaking expert and author on Medicare policy, is looking forward to his new post.

“I am honored to be given this opportunity to work with the extraordinarily talented faculty, staff and students of the George Warren Brown School of Social Work,” Lawlor said. “The opportunity to also build new collaborations between GWB and other schools at Washington University, as well as to influence research, policy, and practice from international to local community settings makes this role a unique challenge.”

About Edward F. Lawlor

In addition to serving as dean of the School of Social Service Administration (SSA) at Chicago, Lawlor is a professor at the Irving B. Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies, a senior scholar in the Center for Clinical Medical Ethics and a core faculty member in the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program.

Lawlor has a distinguished record of scholarship in health policy, with expertise in the topics of medical indigence, health-care reform and administration, and policy for the aged and poor.

His groundbreaking work in Medicare policy is recognized for its originality and insightful analysis. Lawlor’s recently published book, Redesigning the Medicare Contract: Politics, Markets, and Agency, looks at Medicare as a social contract between society at large and its most vulnerable citizens. He also is the founding editor of Public Policy and Aging Report, a quarterly journal on policy and research in an aging society.

At SSA, Lawlor’s educational innovations have deepened community involvement for the school, its faculty and students. Through a partnership with the Chicago Public Schools, SSA is developing a new model of social work practice for urban schools.

He also led a partnership with Chicago’s Community Development Associates Inc. to deepen SSA’s role as a resource to neighborhoods around the university.

Just as Lawlor has led SSA to deeper and sustainable community involvement, his own scholarship has been closely linked to community service. From 1993-2000, he served as founder and director of the Chicago Health Policy Research Council, an organization dedicated to monitoring and disseminating information about health-system changes in Chicago. For 10 years, he also served as the secretary of the Chicago Board of Health.

At the request of the American International Health Alliance in Romania, Lawlor led a team of researchers from the University of Chicago to analyze and improve that country’s health-care system in the late ’90s. Recently, he served as vice chair of the Social Service Transition Committee for Rod Blagojevich as he prepared to become governor of Illinois.

Lawlor earned a bachelor’s degree in economics, government and legal studies from Bowdoin College. Before earning a doctorate from the Florence Heller Graduate School for Advanced Studies in Social Welfare at Brandeis University in 1985, he was a research associate at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University for five years.

He joined the University of Chicago faculty in 1985.