Dean's Column

From Dean Nancy J. Smyth

Portrait of Nancy Smyth.

It is with mixed feelings that I write my last Mosaics note to you as your dean. I have been on the school’s faculty for over 30 years, serving in this wonderful, impactful position for over 16 of them. Now, per academic custom, I’m choosing to step down—to return to some of the things that being dean necessarily limits: connecting with students through teaching, conducting research to further my understanding, and resuming a deeper focus on my own work alongside colleagues and leaders in our profession.

As a school, we welcome fresh leadership to continue the work we have done to keep the school moving forward with excellence, innovation, and equity.

As usual, it is with pride that we present Mosaics to you, our committed and supportive alumni, community and friends. While it’s still in an abbreviated format, the content reflects our work—the topics that intrigue or challenge us, and our successes. And, as always, we’re eager to share all of this with you. 

Our lead story’s topic—social isolation and loneliness—has been on my mind greatly. The experience of the past year has exposed many cracks in our society. The challenges presented by social isolation, particularly in older adults, was one of them.

Insidious racial and economic inequity are part of what I call the “triple pandemic”—and we are pleased to offer a brief story about one of our alumna; she is active in the important work of increasing equity. You’ll meet Shatorah Donovan, JD ’12, MSW ’11, BA ’07, chief diversity officer for the City of Buffalo.

It has been my honor to lead this school—to have had the trust and collaboration of so many of you. It is my firm belief that “leadership” in our field does not always have to be formal or codified—every social worker has the potential to be a leader in creating solutions for the future.