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Faculty members named “Most Influential” in national study

Four current or former faculty members at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Social Work have been named among the “100 Most Influential Contemporary Social Work Faculty” in a study published by the Journal of Social Service Research.

Sheryl Zimmerman, Ph.D., was ranked on the list as 13th most influential; Mark Fraser, Ph.D., as 38th; Dean Gary Bowen, Ph.D., as 46th; and the late Matthew Howard, Ph.D., as 58th. They are the only faculty members ranked from any North Carolina institution.

Zimmerman is Kenan Flagler Bingham Distinguished Professor; associate dean for research and faculty development; and co-director of the Sheps Center for Health Services Research Program on Aging, Disability and Long-Term Care. Her research addresses the needs of persons with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias, and she was recognized in 2016 as the nation’s top-ranked social work scholar in the field of aging. She serves as co-editor of the Journal of Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine.

Fraser, who retired in 2018, was Tate Distinguished Professor for Children in Need; associate dean for research; and founding director of the Jordan Institute for Families. He is known for his research on risk and resilience in children and families; intervention design; and aggressive behavior in childhood. He has served as an editor of the Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research.

Bowen is Kenan Distinguished Professor and was named dean of the UNC School of Social Work in 2016. He has led research on issues concerning military families (with a focus on building capacity in communities to provide social support for military members and their families) and on school success, serving as co-director of the School Success Profile project. He is a past president of the National Council on Family Relations.

Howard, who died in 2018, was Daniels Distinguished Professor for Human Services Policy Information and associate dean for doctoral education. His research focused on substance use disorders, particularly among youth, and on behavioral addictions. Over his career, he authored more than 400 publications and served on the editorial boards of nearly 60 academic journals. In 2016, he was recognized as one of the top 40 social work researchers in the United States with high impact on social and health issues.

The study examined the research impact of 2,204 social work faculty members from 76 university doctoral programs in social work that participate in the Group for the Advancement of Doctoral Education. Using a measure called the H-index, the study assessed both the quantity (numbers of scholarly works published) and the quality (frequency with which those works were cited by other researchers) of the faculty members’ research impact.

Bruce Thyer, Thomas Smith, Philip Osteen and Tyler Carter authored the study, which was published online Feb. 18, 2019.

The study results and the full “Top 100” list is available at Taylor & Francis Online: