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Marilyn Flynn

Our Mission

To be a leader is to have vision – the ability to think differently, stay ahead of the curve and embrace innovation. We have a moral obligation to always have a visionary’s perspective of the social work and nursing professions and produce professionals who are equipped to influence their evolutions.

Our students and alumni are a united community. As a school, we believe in strengthening this community. This was the visionary goal of Suzanne Dworak-Peck, MSW '67, when she endowed our school in September 2016 — to secure our ability to lead in our fields, together.

We are proud of our achievements as a school, but we also recognize that we have great responsibility. Because we send more professionals into the workforce than any other school of social work, we must set the bar high. We must ensure that our graduates in social work and nursing bring with them the most current knowledge, the best critical thinking skills and the courage to face increasingly complex problems.

All of us recognize that social workers and nurses are faced with unprecedented needs for advocacy and commitment to social justice. Many of the populations we serve every day are threatened by potential loss of social support, deportation, unsafe environments, climate upheaval, homelessness and unstable employment. For these individuals, families and communities, we are committed to the advancement of human rights and social justice. We are the voice for those who are oppressed, neglected or exploited.

Social workers and nurses have an opportunity to make major contributions to the course of history right now, and push the boundaries of innovation and creativity in finding solutions to individual and community needs. We will not be able to turn to the solutions upon which we have often relied in the past. We need fresh perspectives, the ability to collaborate in new ways, a clearer presence in public discourse and to direct positive change in health and society at large.

This is why we have committed our curriculum to the science of social work, started a new Doctor of Social Work program to prepare leaders who can develop large-scale solutions, and partnered with the USC Viterbi School of Engineering to create the Center for Artificial Intelligence in Society, benefitting the well-being of people around the world.

Our Department of Nursing emphasizes an integration of the physical, behavioral, social and environmental factors that affect health, believing that social work and nursing can accomplish more for society together than they do separately.

Military social work remains a hallmark of the program, and our Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans & Military Families continues to be at the forefront of expanding our understanding of veteran transition issues and increasing the number of behavioral health providers specifically trained to treat veterans and their families.

Through the Hamovitch Center for Science in the Human Services, the school’s funding exceeds $48 million in research grants for initiatives on aging, behavioral health, child welfare, homelessness, severe mental illness, veterans and military families, and management and policy, which all contribute to the exceptional education of our students and to elevating best practices across the social work and nursing professions.

This is an extremely transformative time for social work and nursing, and our school will continue to position itself on the cutting-edge of curriculum development, research and innovation to ensure our students lead the future with compassion and expertise.

Marilyn Flynn, PhD
2U Endowed Chair in Educational Innovation and Social Work
Dean and Professor of Social Work

Our Mission

The mission of the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work is to promote social justice and well-being at every social level through advanced education, community engagement, interdisciplinary scientific activity, advocacy, and professional leadership.

The school advances its mission through its four academic departments, each of which reflects all of the components of the school’s rich learning environment, with opportunities for value-driven education, student and faculty scholarship, and opportunities for alumni to engage in lifelong learning. Faculty engage in empirical research, innovation and community service, engage our students in scholarly projects, and produce publications, conferences and presentations that focus on needs of vulnerable individuals and communities facing complex challenges in diverse environments.