Peter B. Vaughan, Ph.D., has been selected to replace Mary Ann Quaranta as dean of the Graduate School of Social Service (GSS). Vaughan, who is currently acting dean of the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Work in Philadelphia, will begin at Fordham on Oct. 15. Fordham’s Graduate School of Social Work flourished under the leadership of Mary Ann Quaranta, who in her 25 years as dean moved the school from being relatively unknnown to its current ranking of 13th in the country by U.S. News & World Report.
“This is one of the most exciting academic positions in the country and I’m not just limiting that to schools of social work,” Vaughan said about his new post at Fordham. “What I like about Fordham is its goal is to make New York City more livable for everyone. It doesn’t just use the city as its lab – it works with the community to make improvements that benefit everyone.” Vaughan said he will continue to move the school forward in this area and others. “My goals are to make Fordham’s Graduate School of Social Service what it wants to be,” he said. “Where it’s not broken we’re not going to fix it – and there are very few things here that are broken.”
There are, however, areas that can be even further explored, he said. For example, he was drawn to the school because of its commitment to working for change in the community, an area in which he can see further development. “I was attracted to Fordham because of its mission, its faculty and their research,” said Vaughan. “I really like the notion that Fordham is actively involved in doing good its community and helping to change the kinds of things that oppress and marginalize people. It’s what I see as the future of social work.”
Vaughan has been at the University of Pennslyvania since 1977. Prior to that (1976-1981) he was an associate professor and director of the Life Stress Center at Wayne State University School of Social Work in Detroit, Mich. Vaughan received his master of social work from Wayne State University in 1966 and a master of arts in psychology from the University of Michigan in 1974. He received a doctorate in social work and psychology from the University of Michigan in 1977. Vaughan was chosen from a long list of applicants.
John D. Feerick, who is dean of Fordham’s Law School headed the search for a new dean for GSS, said Vaughan was a committee favorite from the beginning. “The whole committee reacted to the quality of basic goodness and committment to serve others he expressed in every meeting,” Feerick said of Vaughan. “We believe he will embrace, with the greatest of furvor, the traditions and values of Fordham.”
Quaranta will help Vaughan adjust to the new post, as will her predecessor James Dumpson. “My relationship with [Vaughan] is going to be like my relationship with Jim [Dumpson],” Quaranta said. “I will be there to help but not to interfere. I will not criticize, but will be helpful and respectful of his decisions.” Quaranta, who has resigned as dean but has not retired, will work at the Tarrytown campus