Cynthia G. S. Franklin, Ph.D.

Cynthia G. S. Franklin, Ph.D.

Associate Dean for Doctoral Education and Stiernberg/Spencer Family Professor in Mental Health

Cynthia Franklin, Ph.D., is the Stiernberg/Spencer Family Professor in Mental Health and associate dean for doctoral education in the Steve Hicks School of Social Work. Franklin also holds a courtesy appointment in the Department of Psychiatry  at the Dell Medical School and faculty fellowships at the Humanities Institute and the  Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk in the Department of Special Education.

Franklin’s career bridges clinical practice, research, teaching, and leadership. She was named one of the 100 most Influential contemporary social work faculty for the overall impact of her more than 200 publications (Journal of Social Service Research, 2019).  Franklin was honored with the Gary Lee Shaffer award for academic contributions to the field of school social work and was also inducted into the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare. Franklin received the designation “Social Work Pioneer” from the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) for her unique dedication and commitment to improve social and human conditions. She was also recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Trained as a family therapist, Franklin is a champion for family and strengths-based, mental health interventions. She is an internationally recognized expert on solution focused brief therapy (SFBT) and mental health in the context of schools. Her career has been devoted to advances in practice and research on SFBT with the aim of helping children, adolescents and teachers in schools.

In 2002, Franklin helped develop a solution-focused, dropout prevention program in Gonzalo Garza Independence High School in Austin, Texas. The program reduces dropout rates and helps students graduate and attend college. Garza High School’s continuous success has resulted in multiple recognitions, including the Texas Education Agency model school program and The United States Department of Education ranking as a top five dropout prevention program.

Franklin regularly serves in administrative and national leadership positions. She is the past president for the Group Advancement for Doctoral Education and the past editor-in-chief of the journal Children in Schools. For the past 7 years, she has served as editor-in-chief for the Encyclopedia of Social Work and managed the migration from a print version of the Encyclopedia to an interactive online version.

Curriculum Vitae (PDF)

Professional Interests

School mental health, solution-focused brief therapy, dropout prevention, at-risk youths


  • Ph.D., University of Texas at Arlington
  • M.A., Spalding University
  • M.S.S.W., University of Texas at Arlington



Social Work Building (SSW)


Mailing Address

The University of Texas at Austin
Steve Hicks School of Social Work
1925 San Jacinto Blvd 2.228
STOP D3500
Austin, TX 78712-0358