Brown School names three new assistant deans

Williams, Mueller and Wills all take on leadership roles

The Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis has appointed three new assistant deans according to Edward F. Lawlor, PhD, dean and the William E. Gordon Distinguished Professor.

Cynthia Williams has been promoted to assistant dean for field education and community partnerships; Nancy B. Mueller has been named assistant dean for planning and evaluation; and Freddie Wills Jr. has been named assistant dean for strategic implementation. The appointments were effective Jan. 2.

“The combination of these three roles, and the talents these three individuals bring, will allow the Brown School to realize its ambitions to be a data-driven, strategic and community-connected school,” Lawlor says. “This vision was developed in the school’s strategic plan, Impact 2020. Our national council has provided support for these positions to advance this work. It takes great people to implement our plan. I am very excited about these appointments for the future of the Brown School.”



Williams has been promoted from Brown School’s Office of Field Education. In her new role, she will be responsible for all facets of the field education program, including developing agency and community partnerships that capitalize on the school’s significant field presence in the community.

She also will assume responsibility for monitoring and maintaining sound competency-based local, national and international educational partnerships and field units suitable for student participation in practica and will work to strengthen partnerships and the design of applied learning experiences for students.

Williams has played a key role at the Brown School for nearly 32 years, including the field education office, where she served as a coordinator, assistant director and then director since 2007. She is a licensed clinical social worker, and certified both by the American Board of Examiners in Clinical Social Work and the Academy of Certified Social Workers. She is a St. Louis Business Diversity Fellow, has extensive teaching and consulting experience, and has given numerous presentations and workshops for the Council on Social Work Education. In 2008, she received the Brown School’s Outstanding Staff member award.

Williams earned a master’s degree in social work from the Brown School and a bachelor’s degree from Concordia University in St. Louis.



Mueller returns to the Brown School after serving as associate director of the Institute for Public Health (IPH) at Washington University. She will plan and evaluate key strategic programs and initiatives of the Brown School, as well as facilitate the school’s external evaluation partnerships with the St. Louis community. Mueller will work with Brown School faculty and staff to build its new evaluation and technical assistance center. Internally, she also will oversee the data, planning and evaluation responsibilities.

Mueller has extensive experience in public health research, administration and evaluation. Prior to joining IPH in 2010, she served as the associate director for the Brown School’s Center for Tobacco Policy Research. While at the center, Mueller led several large evaluation projects and helped build an evaluation training and technical assistance program. She has served on numerous national and local advisory committees, including the state of Missouri tobacco control and chronic diseases programs and became the founding chair of Tobacco Free Missouri statewide coalition in 2007.

Mueller has a bachelor’s of science from Michigan State University. She earned a master’s of public health degree at the University of Texas School of Public Health, and began her career in the Department of Behavioral Sciences at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.



Wills will lead the implementation of Brown’s strategic plan initiatives in Impact 2020. He will work closely with Lawlor on projects such as the Diversity Task Force; manage daily challenges in the dean’s office; and serve as the point person for many of the Brown School’s external initiatives.

Wills worked at the St. Louis College of Pharmacy from 1999-2012, beginning in the admissions office, moving to multicultural student services and, since 2008, serving as director of diversity. As director, Wills was responsible for providing strategic direction for its diversity initiatives while fostering a culture of inclusion.

His achievements at the St. Louis College of Pharmacy include the establishment of: the Middle School Summer Pharmacy Academy; the Walgreens/St. Louis College of Pharmacy Career Explorers Program; the BESt Summer Pharmacy Institute in collaboration with BJC and Express Scripts; the Pathways program; and the Mentor Program. In 2003, Wills received the College Enhancement Award in recognition for outstanding, collaborative work with the community and St. Louis College of Pharmacy.

Wills earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from Southwest Baptist University; a master’s degree in media communications from Webster University and is working toward a doctorate in higher education administration from Saint Louis University.