The Steve Hicks School of Social Work (SHS) announced that Rebecca Gomez, Ph.D., will join the SHS as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs this summer.

A 2012 graduate of the doctoral program at SHS, Dr. Gomez currently serves as Interim Dean of the School of Social Work at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in Richmond, Virginia, overseeing strategic, financial, and academic decisions for nearly 1,000 students across three academic programs (BSW, MSW, Ph.D.), as well as 38 faculty and 47 staff members. Under her leadership, research funding has doubled in her school. Before beginning her tenure as Interim Dean, Dr. Gomez was Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs at VCU.

“Our school and those we serve will benefit from Dr. Gomez’s depth of knowledge and experience as an academic and professional leader,” said Allan Cole, Dean of SHS. “We continue to fulfill our mission ‘to promote social and economic justice, alleviate critical social problems, and enhance human well-being.’ I look forward to welcoming her back to the 40 Acres, and to working closely with her during this exciting period of extraordinary opportunity for the SHS and the social work profession.”

Dr. Gomez’s research area is child and family well-being, with an emphasis on complex trauma, child welfare workforce development, youth empowerment, substance use and recovery, and the impact of substance use on family systems. After graduating with her Ph.D. from SHS, Dr. Gomez was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Child and Adolescent Policy Research Institute at The University of Texas at San Antonio.

Before joining VCU in 2020, Dr. Gomez served for several years as a senior administrator and faculty member at Our Lady of the Lake University’s Worden School of Social Service in San Antonio. Her roles at Worden included directing the MSW and Ph.D. programs as well as serving as the Worden School’s Director.

“I want to express my profound appreciation to members of the search advisory committee, who conducted a search that was international in scope and that ended with the recommendation of Dr. Gomez,” said Cole. “I also want to thank Dr. Cynthia Franklin and Dr. Sandy Magaña for their excellent work and dedicated service as Interim Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.”

The committee members were: Namkee Choi (chair), Yolanda Padilla, Esther Calzada, Starla Simmons, Stacey Jordan, Monica Faulkner, Tanya Voss, and Marian Mahaffey.