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      A Toast to Paula Silver

      Dean Paula Silver Retires After Remarkable Career at Widener

      Raising a Glass

      The Center for Social Work toasts to Dean Paula Silver's 25-year career.

      Paula Silver, dean of the School of Human Service Professions, retired at the end of December after 25 years at Widener University. Her retirement is the culmination of a remarkable academic career that left a lasting impact on the department she oversaw as well as the Widener community at large.

      Silver joined Widener as an assistant professor of social work in 1992. As an educator, Silver stood out for her dedication to the field and innovative vision for interdisciplinary programming.

      In 1998, she was chosen for the role of director of the Center for Social Work Education. As director, Silver successfully raised the student enrollment rate of the Master of Social Work (MSW) program at a time when national enrollment was in decline. With growing enrollment, Silver simultaneously elevated the center’s reputation of excellence in education and preparation for clinical social workers.

      She also spearheaded the creation of the doctor of philosophy program, Widener’s first Ph.D. program, and led the establishment of Social Work Counseling Services (SWCS) internship program, a staple feature of the center and a reflection of the university’s commitment to civic engagement.

      Paula Silver

      Dean Paula Silver

      Paula Silver, dean of the School of Human Service Professions, retired after 25 years at Widener.

      In May 2012, Silver was named dean of the School of Human Service Professions after serving as interim-dean replacing Stephen Wilhite. Among her accomplishments include the implementation of the nationally ranked online MSW program, the launch of the Child Therapy Clinic, the establishment of the nationally recognized and student-lead pro bono Chester Physical Therapy Clinic, and the creation of the Interdisciplinary Sexuality Research Collaborative by the Center for Human Sexuality Studies.

      Silver’s contributions extend well beyond the parameters of the School of Human Profession Services as well. She played a key role in the development, creation and execution of Vision 2015, Widener’s first strategic plan. As the first associate provost for Global Engagement, Silver helped expand international education opportunities for students through the establishment of Widener’s global hubs in Costa Rica and the Netherlands. She also served as chair of the Widener Partnership Charter School board of trustees.

      “Paula’s departure from Widener is truly bittersweet,” said Professor Robin Dole, interim-dean of the School of Human Service Professions. “Paula is the embodiment of Widener leadership and exemplified what it means to be a great leader and above that, a great friend. On behalf of the School of Human Service Professions, we thank Paula for her dedication and contributions throughout the years and wish her best of luck on her next journey.”


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