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Nancy J. Smyth

Dean and Professor

“Our profession was born in the industrial revolution. Over the past century we've developed a toolbox and perspective that uniquely position us to solve the problems confronting the 21st century. But to do this, we need to integrate our social skills with those of the the digital age.”

Contact Information

680 Baldy Hall
Amherst, NY 14260
Phone: 716-645-1266
Fax: 716-645-3883

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Contact Information

680 Baldy Hall, Amherst, NY 14260 (view map)
Phone: 716-645-1266; Fax: 716-645-3883


  • PhD, Social Work, SUNY Albany
  • MSW, Social Work, SUNY Albany
  • BA, Psychology, SUNY Albany

Professional/Research Interests

Social work in digital environments, psychological trauma; addictions; implementation science, and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR).


Under Nancy J. Smyth’s leadership as dean, the University at Buffalo School of Social Work has integrated a trauma-informed and human rights perspective throughout the master’s curriculum, established the Buffalo Center for Social Research, expanded international education and research, and raised the rankings of the MSW program to top 12 percent in the United States. Since 2005, she has served as co-chair for the Task Force on Disasters & Trauma in the National Association of Deans and Directors of Schools of Social Work and has served as member of the SSW Advisory Board for Trauma Counseling Certificate for over a decade. Dean Smyth also is a past president of the St. Louis Group, the national organization of social work deans at research universities.  

Smyth is a Board Certified Expert in Traumatic Stress through the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress and has worked in both mental health and addiction treatment settings for over 35 years as a clinician, manager, educator, researcher and program developer. Her research, teaching and practice focus on trauma, substance abuse,\ and on working with people recovering from those experiences, including the use of innovative treatment approaches like EMDR and mindfulness meditation.  Most recently she’s been co-investigator with PI Dr. Gerard Connors on an NIAAA grant, Developing Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) for Application in Alcoholism Treatment, as well as co-investigator with PI Dr. Christopher Barrick on Knowledge Exchange and Skills Training for Therapists (NIDA). Past roles include providing consultation on Bessel van der Kolk’s National Institute of Mental Health-funded study of Treatment Outcomes of Fluoxetine vs EMDR in PTSD and study of EMDR in an integrated treatment program in the Thurston County Drug Court.

In the last few years, Smyth has been exploring the implications of digital technologies for social work practice and education. Her vision included expanding the social work profession’s presence on the Internet through the first the first school-sponsored social work podcast, UB’s inSocialWork, interviews that feature social work research and practice. inSocialWork now has listeners in over 200 countries and all 50 states.

Smyth joined the School in 1991 as an assistant professor from SUNY Albany, her alma mater, where she earned a BA in psychology, an MSW and PhD in Social Welfare. She is also an R-level New York State Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW-R), EMDR Certified EMDR Therapist, and EMDRIA Approved Consultant and Instructor. Smyth also has been an affiliated research scientist with UB’s Research Institute on Addictions since 1991.