David W. Springer, Ph.D., LCSW

David W. Springer, Ph.D., LCSW

University Distinguished Teaching Professor and Director of the RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service in the LBJ School of Public Affairs

David Springer is the Director of the RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service in the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin. He is a University Distinguished Teaching Professor at UT-Austin, and holds a joint faculty appointment in the School of Social Work and the LBJ School. He previously served as the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Graduate Advisor (from 2001 to 2011) in Social Work and as the Director of the Inter-American Institute for Youth Justice.  Springer was also Dean of the School of Social Work at Portland State University before returning to UT.

Springer began his professional career as a clinical social worker in community and school-based settings working with adolescents and their families.  In recent years, his work has focused on the reform of juvenile justice systems and the delivery of effective community-based services with youth in the United States and Brazil. His work spans across direct practice, community building, nonprofit management, system reform, research, and leadership.

Springer has conducted research funded by various sources, including the Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institute on Drug Abuse, Hogg Foundation for Mental Health, and the RGK Foundation. He has co-authored or co-edited ten books, with his most recent book entitled Juvenile Justice Sourcebook, 2nd edition (published by Oxford University Press). He has also authored or co-authored over 100 articles, book chapters, and reports. Most of his research and scholarship has coalesced around effective community-based services for youth and families.

He currently serves as the Principal Investigator of Restore Rundberg, a 3-year, $1 million grant from the Department of Justice to improve the quality of life, health, safety, education, and well-being of individuals living and working in the Rundberg neighborhood in Austin.  Part of the Obama administration’s Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative, innovative and sustainable community engagement is at the core of this effort.

Among the many undergraduate and graduate courses that he has taught at UT-Austin over nearly two decades, Springer has been the professor of many graduate courses, including Leadership as a Catalyst for Community Change and Leadership in Human Service Organizations. At the undergraduate level, he developed and teaches a Freshman Seminar entitled The Art of Being Human: Constructing a Life with Meaning, where students explore how individuals create a meaningful and happy existence.  He has received a number of university-wide teaching awards for recognition of excellence in teaching and advising, including the Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award, the Outstanding Graduate Adviser Award, the DAD’s Centennial Teaching Fellowship, and selection into the Academy of Distinguished Teachers.

In 2007, he served as Chair of a Blue Ribbon Task Force consisting of national and regional leaders, which was charged with making recommendations for reforming the juvenile justice system in Texas. In recognition of his work with the Blue Ribbon Task Force, the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), Texas Chapter/Austin Branch selected Dr. Springer as the Social Worker of the Year.

He currently serves on the National Advisory Board of Girls and Gangs for the National Council on Crime and Delinquency, the Advisory Council for Great Wall of China and Children of All Nations Adoption, and the National Scientific and Policy Advisory Council for the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health.

Curriculum Vitae (PDF)

Professional Interests

Juvenile Delinquency and Juvenile Justice Reform; Leadership in Human Service Systems; Community-Based Interventions with At-Risk Youth; Community-Based Research and Intervention Research; Applied Psychometric Theory and Scale Development.


  • Ph.D., Florida State University
  • M.S.W., Florida State University
  • B.A., Florida State University

Teaching History

Faculty Research


Social Work Building

Phone:(512) 471-0512
Fax:(512) 471-9600

Mailing Address

The University of Texas
School of Social Work
1925 San Jacinto Blvd D3500
Austin, TX 78712-0358