Dean's welcome

Leading the School of Social Work

Beth Angell, Ph.D., is dean of the VCU School of Social Work, as well as a professor. Dr. Angell joined the school in 2018 and is the ninth full-time dean in the more than 100-year history of the school. 

During her tenure, the school has seen record student enrollment, launched a fully online M.S.W. Program, and navigated the many changes in teaching and serving students during the pandemic. She has supported numerous efforts across the school related to social and racial justice. Dean Angell's full profile and CV » 

A message from Dean Angell

Beth AngellAs dean of the VCU School of Social Work, I have the great privilege of leading a dynamic school dedicated to excellence in educating social workers and developing cutting-edge knowledge to change society. Ours is the South’s oldest social work program – founded in 1917 – and consistently ranked among the nation’s best over the past two decades. U.S. News and World Report currently ranks us No. 28 on its list of best graduate schools for social work

We are one of only 56 schools in the nation to offer bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in social work. A VCU degree – or degrees, as many of our B.S.W. graduates continue with us and earn their M.S.W. – provides the foundation and skills for our alumni to make a difference by improving the lives of individuals, families and communities in a variety of work settings. 

Master's-level students can specialize in micro-social work with a clinical practice focus, or in macro-social work centered around administration, policy and planning practice. Irrespective of their specialization, students obtain the knowledge and skills to engage in social and racial justice advocacy. Our Ph.D. students represent the next generation of social work faculty and researchers, generating, implementing and communicating knowledge to advance social justice, improve human well-being and ameliorate social problems.

Our faculty are a diverse body of educators  and researchers working to dismantle inequitable systems, empower individuals and communities, and promote caring solutions to practical, pressing issues in our society. Our adjunct faculty and field instructors, many of whom are alumni, bring real-world experience into the classroom and internships as they teach and mentor our students. Our student success team are staff dedicated to advising, listening, engaging and holistically supporting our students in the B.S.W. and M.S.W. programs.

As a first-generation college student myself, I am proud that many in our programs also represent the first in their families to attend college. Other students are changing careers, and many of our undergraduate students join us as transfers.”

Our school is striving to be an epicenter for equity, committed to anti-racist practice approaches, and also deeply embedded in supporting our community. With a century of history in Richmond, we are deeply ingrained in the fabric of the city through research partnerships, service projects and student internship placements. 

Whether they are learning in person or online, our students derive a sense of community by building relationships with their peers. VCU students are passionate advocates for community causes and issues around equity and social justice, themes that resonate regardless of location. We expect students will bring a passion and hunger for change to our engaging academic environment, where they will learn the skills needed to effect that change. We challenge our students to think critically and to draw on evidence-based methods of addressing the problems that affect marginalized populations locally, nationally and globally.

Ultimately, our VCU social work graduates are professionals who step up for their communities, speak up when it’s time for hard truths and conversations, and stand up to confront inequity in all its forms. We welcome you to join their ranks.

Beth Angell, Ph.D.
Dean and professor
VCU School of Social Work