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School of Human Service Professions Dean Paula Silver Receives the 2017 Insight into Diversity Magazine Giving Back Award

Paula SIlver
Paula Silver, dean of the 
School of Human Service Professions

Paula Silver, PhD, associate provost for global engagement and dean of the School of Human Service Professions at Widener University received the 2017 Giving Back Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity and inclusion publication in higher education.

The Giving Back Award honors college and university administrators who go above and beyond their everyday leadership duties and “give back” to their campuses and communities. Dean Silver will be featured with 38 other recipients from around the country in the April 2017 Leadership Support and Giving Back issue of the magazine, which publishes online March 15.

Giving Back Award recipients were nominated by their colleagues and selected by INSIGHT Into Diversity based on their outstanding demonstration of social responsibility; involvement with students, faculty, staff, and the community; and commitment to serving underrepresented populations. Each honoree is recognized for his or her passion, dedication, and support for diversity and inclusion.

"Dean Silver has made numerous, significant contributions to university diversity efforts," Widener University President Julie E. Wollman said. "Her work has contributed to the MSW program’s success in attracting and retaining the largest percentage of underrepresented students of any program at the university. The Widener community is richer for her contributions and leadership."

In her previous position as director of the Center for Social Work Education, Silver was responsible for initiating a scholarship program for the MSW Program that was designed in part for students from underrepresented groups. She also led efforts to assess the extent to which the climate in the school is supportive of faculty, students, and staff from underrepresented groups and to suggest ways in which the climate could be improved. She continues to co-chair the School of Human Service Professions’ diversity committee.

During her time at Widener, Silver spearheaded the university's efforts to establish academic and cultural exchange programs with partner institutions in China, which is why she was recently appointed associate provost for global engagement. She places high value in encouraging students to expand their worldview through global learning experiences both on and off campus.

For years, Silver served as chairperson of the university-sponsored Widener Partnership Charter School board. Her leadership was highly praised by board members, the principal, teachers and the parent leadership group for her sensitivity to multi-cultural issues and for promoting an ethos among the students that they can become world changers. 

As dean she also oversees the operation of several clinics and centers designed to serve community members in need. All of these services have grown under her leadership and have further integrated the university with the surrounding community. Silver continues to empower students and faculty to continuously explore ways to ensure that all people receive access to quality care and treatment.

"I am very humbled by this award," Paula Silver, said. "However, the contributions that I have made to diversity at Widener have been made possible by the support of my faculty and staff colleagues. Even though I am the named recipient, promoting diversity has always been a community effort."

According to Holly Mendelson, publisher of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, "The Giving Back Award is being awarded to leaders of institutions of higher education who exemplify what it truly means to ‘give back’ to others. These administrators are role models, and we honor their efforts to promote diversity and inclusion on their campuses and in their communities."

For more information about the 2017 Giving Back Award and INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, visit

Widener University is a private, metropolitan university that connects curricula to social issues through civic engagement. Dynamic teaching, active scholarship, personal attention, leadership development and experiential learning are key components of the Widener experience. A comprehensive doctorate-granting university, Widener comprises eight schools and colleges that offer liberal arts and sciences, professional and pre-professional curricula leading to associate, baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral degrees. The university’s campuses are in Chester and Harrisburg, Pa., and Wilmington, Del. Visit the university website,

INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine is the oldest and largest diversity and inclusion publication in higher education today and is known for its annual INSIGHT Into Diversity Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award, the only award that recognizes colleges and universities for outstanding diversity and inclusion efforts across their campuses. INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine presents timely, thought-provoking news and feature stories on matters of diversity and inclusion in higher education and beyond. Articles include interviews with innovators and experts, as well as explorations of best practices and profiles of exemplary programs. In our Career Center, readers also discover career opportunities that connect job seekers with institutions and businesses that embrace a diverse and inclusive workforce. Current, archived, and digital issues of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine are available online at