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Allan Cole serves as Dean of the Steve Hicks School. He is also the Bert Kruger Smith Centennial Professor in Social Work and Courtesy Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Dell Medical School. 

Leading the Steve Hicks School in its mission to “provide national leadership to promote social and economic justice, alleviate critical social problems, and enhance human well-being,” Dean Cole’s work focuses on helping faculty, staff, and students thrive in research, teaching, learning, and service.  

Dean Cole created the Moritz Center for Societal Impact (CSI) in 2023. Its mission is to align interdisciplinary efforts in research and scholarship, curriculum and instruction, and community partnerships to solve critical social problems and change lives. Dean Cole’s experience and expertise in these efforts help align the School of Social Work with the university’s vision for community engagement and impact. 

As a scholar, Dean Cole is a nationally recognized authority on chronic illness, health humanities, bereavement, and the study of spirituality and religion in social work. The author or editor of 15 books, his latest works include: Jumping to the Skies: Additional Lessons from Parkinson’s Disease (Cascade, 2023); Riding the Wave: Poems (Resource Publications, 2023); In the Care of Plenty: Poems (Resource Publications, 2021); Discerning the Way: Lessons from Parkinson’s Disease (Cascade, 2021), and Counseling Persons with Parkinson’s Disease (Oxford University Press, 2021). 

Dean Cole is also the author of dozens of chapters, articles, and reviews in volumes and journals related to the fields of social work, counseling, and the psychology of religion, and he serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Spirituality and Religion in Social Work: Social Thought(Taylor & Francis). 

Much of Dean Cole’s scholarship and advocacy centers around caring for people living with Parkinson’s disease. He moderates PD Wise, a hub he created for sharing personal stories, experiences, and wisdom gained from living with Parkinson’s, which encourages personal connections and opportunities for learning. 

Dean Cole also serves Chair of the Board of Trustees at Headwaters School 

With more than 20 years of experience in higher education and leadership, Dean Cole is passionate about supporting students and colleagues in a range of efforts related to social work research, teaching, service, practice, and leadership.

Curriculum Vitae

Professional Interests

Social work and chronic illness, health humanities, and mental health.