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Fordham Announces New Dean of the Graduate School of Social Service


mcphee_350Fordham University has announced the appointment of Debra M. McPhee, Ph.D., as the new dean of the Graduate School of Social Service (GSS). She replaces Peter Vaughan, Ph.D., who will retire at the end of this academic year.

McPhee brings extensive professional experience to her new post, having served for more than a decade in various clinical, academic, and administrative roles. She worked for the last two years as chief operating officer for the Palo Alto-based Planet Hope/, a firm that specializes in online health education and technology.

From 2005 to 2010, McPhee was dean of the School of Social Work at Barry University in Miami Shores, Fla. Before becoming dean, McPhee served for three years as associate dean and had been a faculty member since 1997. An award-winning educator, she taught a variety of courses, from introductory social work practice at the undergraduate level to graduate courses on social policy issues in family and children’s services.

McPhee also held academic lecturer appointments at the University of Toronto and at Ryerson University in Toronto, where she served as field practicum coordinator. In addition, she worked for the U.S. Army in the Netherlands as chief of social work services for the 7th Medical Command and as an instructor in the family advocacy program.

She earned her doctorate in 1998 from the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Toronto, her master’s degree from the School of Social Work at Columbia University in 1989, and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1986.

Her primary areas of research, in which she has published widely, include international health care policy, child abuse and neglect, women and welfare reform, public policy analysis, and professional practice and service delivery.

“In Debra, we have an outstanding new dean who is committed to working closely with the faculty, students, and staff of the Graduate School of Social Service. Together, they will sustain and advance the school’s long tradition of national preeminence in educating skilled, compassionate social workers to serve the human family,” said Stephen Freedman, Ph.D., provost of the University and professor of ecology and evolutionary biology.

“We also acknowledge with deep gratitude Dr. Peter Vaughan, who has served Fordham and the Graduate School of Social Service with great distinction.”


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