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University of Pittsburgh professor proposed as next dean of School of Social Work

Craig Chamberlain, News Editor
(217) 333-2894;

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Wynne Sandra Korr, a professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Pittsburgh and the interim director of the doctoral program, has been proposed as the next dean of the School of Social Work at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The appointment is pending approval by the university's Board of Trustees at its May 16 meeting in Chicago.

Korr would succeed Jill Doner Kagle, who returned to the faculty in December, and John Poertner, who is serving as interim dean until Aug. 20, when Korr would begin her new duties.

"Dr. Korr brings a vision that emerges from her personal scholarship and an understanding of the additional role the School of Social Work can play on the campus and in the state," said Richard Herman, the provost of the Urbana campus.

Korr began her undergraduate career at the University of Chicago before earning her bachelor's degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1970. She also earned her doctorate in psychology SUNY at Buffalo, in 1975.

From 1975 to 1980, Korr was an assistant subregion director for the Illinois Department of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities. In 1980, she moved to the Jane Addams College of Social Work at the University of Illinois at Chicago, first as director of a training grant and then as a professor beginning in 1982.

After 12 years at UIC, she joined the Pittsburgh faculty in 1994. Along with her professorships in both social work and women's studies, she was the director for five years of the School of Social Work’s doctoral program.

She also was instrumental, according to Poertner, in the creation of the school's Center for Mental Health Services Research, one of several established around the country with funding from the National Institute of Mental Health. The center is dedicated to improving both the quality of care and access to care for underserved populations.

"Social workers provide more mental health services than any other profession," Poertner said. "One thing she brings to us is a lot of mental health expertise that will strengthen that part of our research program, including a lot of research that's relevant to the state." One hope, he said, is that she can help the school to establish a relationship with state mental health agencies similar to that between the school's Children and Family Research Center and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.