Joseph Himle recommended as interim School of Social Work dean

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Joseph A. Himle, associate dean for faculty affairs in the School of Social Work, will serve as interim dean of the school beginning Jan. 1, 2022.

His appointment, pending approval by the Board of Regents on Dec. 9, is being recommended by Susan M. Collins, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs.

Joseph Himle
Joseph Himle

Himle will step in for Lynn Videka, who will step down Dec. 31 after serving as dean since 2016. She plans to take a leave in January 2022 and then return to the faculty.

“Professor Himle is a distinguished scholar and educator with years of experience as a faculty member and an administrator,” Collins said in recommending the appointment. “He has a long and distinguished record of service to the university and the social work community. I am confident that the school will maintain its momentum during this interim period.”

Himle is the Howard V. Brabson Collegiate Professor of Social Work and professor of social work in SSW, and professor of psychiatry in the Medical School.

“It is an honor to serve as interim dean of the School of Social Work. The school has thrived under the stellar leadership of Dean Lynn Videka and I look forward to leading the school until a permanent dean is appointed,” Himle said. “The School of Social Work has tremendous faculty, students and staff who will all join together to guide the school during this transition period.”

In 1987, Himle joined SSW as a field instructor and adjunct lecturer, positions he held until 2005. Additionally, he held several clinical and administrative posts in the Department of Psychiatry from 1986 to 2005. Himle then rose to assistant professor in social work and psychiatry in 2005.

He was appointed in both units as an associate professor in 2009 and was promoted to professor in 2015. In 2017, he was appointed as the Howard V. Brabson Collegiate Professor of Social Work.

Himle has held numerous academic administrative appointments, notably as associate dean for research from 2015-17 and associate dean for faculty affairs from 2018 to the present in SSW. He is a licensed clinical and macro social worker in the state of Michigan.

His research interests focus on mental health intervention research with adults and youth. Himle’s current intervention projects include treatment development projects focused on bringing cognitive behavioral therapy to underserved populations. He also is involved in epidemiological research focused on anxiety disorders in the African American population.

Himle is the principal investigator of a recently completed National Institute of Mental Health multi-site RO-1 grant, “A multi-site systems intervention for unemployed persons with social anxiety.” He has been the principal or co-investigator on a total of 16 research grants funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Other funding agencies include the Michigan Health Endowment Fund, U-M Poverty Solutions, U-M Depression Center, Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation and the Health Resources and Services Administration. His research has yielded more than 150 publications over his career.

Himle earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology, a Master of Social Work degree in interpersonal practice, and a Ph.D. in social work and psychology, all from U-M. He completed an internship in the anxiety disorders program in the Department of Psychiatry in 1983-84.

Collins appointed a 13-member advisory committee in April to aid in the search for the next dean of the school. She asked members of the advisory committee to conduct a broad search and then submit an unranked slate of candidates.

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