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UNC School of Social Work’s Chapman named 19th president of GADE  

by Chris Hilburn-Trenkle 

Associate Dean for Doctoral Education Mimi Chapman will make history in July when she begins a two-year term as the president for the Group for the Advancement of Doctoral Education in Social Work (GADE).  

Founded in 1977, GADE boosts research and educational efforts and works with national organizations while promoting equitable, inclusive and just social work education. Its membership includes 87 research doctorate programs, including 77 in the United States.  

GADE has emerged as a thought leader in the social work community, providing networking opportunities for social work doctoral students, advancing programs, and celebrating research, teaching, leadership, service and more. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Social Work established its doctoral program in 1993; it has been a member of GADE since that time.  

Chapman will be the 19th president of the organization, but the first from the School.  

“It was really an honor to be asked to run for the office and certainly to be selected,” Chapman said. “I feel really good about that and affirmed by that. I’ve really enjoyed being involved with GADE since I came into this role as associate dean for doctoral education. It’s an organization that means something to me, so it feels really good to be in a leadership position there.”  

Chapman was the first graduate of the School’s doctoral program, and later returned to the School as an assistant professor in 2001. Her research has focused on various topics including child and adolescent well-being, child maltreatment and social work practice. Her work has been cited in national outlets such as The New York Times, and she has received various accolades including the 2016 Edward Kidder Graham Award, given annually by UNC-Chapel Hill to a faculty member who displays outstanding service.  

More recently, Chapman collaborated with Sandra Reeves Spears and John B. Turner Distinguished Professor of Social Work Trenette Clark Goings, Assistant Professor Rachel Goode, and a number of doctoral students on a study examining women of color who were essential workers during the coronavirus pandemic. From there, the group looked at coping patterns, including what kinds of coping behaviors individuals were engaged in, and if there were differences in coping patterns by gender or by racial ethnic group, as well as the relationship between food insecurity and binge eating for women of color. Chapman also continues her arts-based work through photovoice work with a team in the Galapagos Islands and in an evaluation in collaboration with Assistant Professor Orrin Ware of “Every Brilliant Thing,” a play recently staged throughout campus. 

Chapman — who was named associate dean of doctoral education in 2018, succeeding Matthew Howard in the role — has taken on a leading role with GADE since then. Chapman completed a one-year stint as secretary of the organization’s board of directors, has an active role as the chair of the marketing and communications committee, and sits on the constitution and bylaws committee.   

In her incoming role, Chapman will serve on the Social Work Leadership Roundtable. The Roundtable includes the presidents of Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR), Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), and Association of Social Work Boards, among a few other key social work organizations. Together, this roundtable tackles emerging issues in the profession.    

“What I’d like to bring to the role of president at GADE is to support doctoral program directors so that they can nurture the future leaders of the profession,” she said.   

Chapman pointed out the work of both the doctoral students and the faculty at the School who have helped UNC-Chapel Hill’s doctoral program become one of the strongest in the country.   

“It has taken years of sustained effort on the part of many dedicated faculty,” Chapman said. “In some ways, me being the president of GADE is a result of all the work that has come before. 

“Having someone in our School in such a leadership role for the profession continues to showcase UNC as a leader in social work education and as an organization.”