Marilyn Flynn » Staff

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Marilyn Flynn

Dean USC School of Social Work


Marilyn L. Flynn was first appointed dean of the USC School of Social Work in 1997 and was reappointed in 2011. Under her leadership, the school significantly expanded its Hamovitch Center for Science in the Human Services and recruited a nationally recognized faculty to conduct clinical and intervention studies in health, mental health, aging and child maltreatment. She established a new graduate academic center in San Diego and at the Skirball Cultural Center in West Los Angeles, and then in 2010, launched a full web-based Master of Social Work (MSW@USC) degree program through the new Virtual Academic Center. The school now graduates nearly 40 percent of all social workers in California, and with the Virtual Academic Center, has become the first truly national program in the profession.

Under her leadership, the school received three Congressionally directed appropriations to establish the Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans and Military families, focusing on the mental health needs of servicemembers and their families. The global outreach of the school has expanded to incorporate important research agreements with leading Chinese and Korean institutions, a summer global immersion for MSW students and continuing sponsorship of major international conferences.

Flynn was formerly director of the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research and director of the School of Social Work at Michigan State University. She has held positions of national leadership in the Council on Social Work Education, was for many years president of the St. Louis Group (which represents all North American schools of social work in research-extensive universities) and past president of the California Association of Deans and Directors of Social Work Programs. Currently, she serves as president of the National Network of Social Work Managers, president of the Los Angeles Center for NonProfit Management, board member of the Crenshaw Educational Partnership, and faculty in the Leadership Academy of the National Association of Deans and Directors of Social Work, which is sponsored by the New York Academy of Medicine.

Her academic interests include applications of virtual reality for education and clinical treatment, cross-cultural perspectives on service delivery, and research development for the professions in higher education. She is regarded as an expert in resource development and academic leadership. In 1999, she established the James E. Flynn Prize for Research, an internationally competitive award that recognizes a scholar whose interdisciplinary studies have significantly shaped modern social policy – the first of its kind in the social work profession. She also introduced the school’s International Social Welfare Award for outstanding work in human rights. The first award was given to Mme. Kim Dae Jung, then-first lady of Korea.