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University names new Graduate School of Social Work dean

(9-6-2000) Alberto Godenzi, chairman of the Department of Social Work and Social Policy at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland, has been named the new dean of the Graduate School of Social Work.

Godenzi, a Swiss national and international research expert who speaks five languages and has authored six books on social work, will assume his new role in April. He succeeds June Gary Hopps, who retired in May after 24 years as dean.

In addition to his work as department chairman at the University of Fribourg, Godenzi has served as a professor of social research at Fribourg and as an associate scholar of social psychology at the University of Zurich. He has also taught in the Sociology Department at the University of New Hampshire and in the Department of Child and Juvenile Psychology at the University of Bern in Switzerland. Since 1995, he has served as an international research associate for the Family Research Laboratory of the University of New Hampshire.

Godenzi has worked as a member of the Council of Europešs Commission for Combating Violence against Women, and with UNESCOšs Women and the Culture of Peace Program, as well as the European Network on Conflict, Gender and Violence. He holds a graduate degree in psychology and sociology and a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Zurich.

University President William P. Leahy, SJ, described Godenzi as the ideal person to advance the Graduate School of Social Work. "Alberto Godenzi brings to Boston College high energy, a breadth of experience and a clear commitment to the mission of the Graduate School of Social Work," said Fr. Leahy. "He possesses a strong international background and outlook, as well as a desire to enhance our outreach to Bostonšs neighborhoods."

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Dean Michael Smyer, who chaired the search committee, offered a similar assessment. "Alberto Godenzi is an international leader in the field of social work who has the personal experience and expertise to lead the GSSW in the next phase of its development," said Smyer, the University's associate vice president for research. "His international activities and experience is a particular strength, as well as his understanding of the complexities of practice and the business and policy context that shape the field of social work. We are delighted to welcome him to the BC community."

Godenzi said he looked forward to coming to Boston College and assuming the leadership of the GSSW this spring. "I am very excited about coming to Boston College, which strikes me as a warm and vibrant community with immense opportunities for people to develop personally and professionally," said Godenzi. "To me, the Graduate School of Social Work reflects the core of BCšs spirit in its pursuit of a just society. Clearly, there is a strong tradition and culture at the GSSW that I hope to maintain and enhance, while bringing a more promising future in the face of new opportunities."

Godenzi, who has personally secured more than $1 million in research funding, specializes in violence, conflict resolution and gender issues. He is currently researching the dynamics of non-violent conflict resolution through a grant from the Swiss Federal Science Foundation, while also working on the Socrates Program on Conflict and Peace Issues, funded by the European Union.


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