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Expert in forensic mental health named dean of College of Social Work

James J. Clark

Florida State University has named an expert on forensic mental health as dean of the College of Social Work.

James J. Clark, who has served as professor and director of the School of Social Work in the University of Cincinnati’s College of Allied Health Sciences since July 2012, will begin work at Florida State on July 20.

“Dr. James Clark is an outstanding scholar and administrator who really understands the importance of community outreach in social work,” said Sally McRorie, interim provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs at FSU. “I am confident that Dean Clark will continue to build excellence in every aspect of the College of Social Work and will be a great addition to our community.”

Clark will succeed Nicholas F. Mazza, who has served as dean of the College of Social Work since 2010. Mazza will step down in July and retire this fall. McRorie commended Mazza for his commitment and dedication over his years of leading the college.

“Nick and the faculty have helped the College of Social Work to grow in student numbers, particularly graduate students, and to become increasingly known for quality research and programming,” McRorie said.

In his focus on forensic mental health, Clark works at the nexus of the justice, mental health and child welfare systems. He has published in the areas of substance abuse, criminal justice and child traumatic stress, and he is currently co-editing book for the American Bar Association on best practices in death penalty mitigation.

“I am very honored and excited to be joining such an accomplished faculty and staff at Florida State University,” Clark said.“I have been overwhelmed by their warmth and hospitality and their enthusiasm about advancing the College of Social Work. I am very much looking forward to working closely with Interim Provost Sally McRorie and the FSU leadership team.”

Prior to his tenure at the University of Cincinnati, Clark held numerous faculty and administrative positions over 21 years at the University of Kentucky College of Social Work. He served as the Constance Wilson Professor of Mental Health from 2006 to 2012, associate dean for research from 2004 to 2012, and director of the doctoral program from 2002 to 2004. He also held a joint appointment as associate professor with the Department of Psychiatry in the University of Kentucky College of Medicine from 2000 to 2012.

Clark earned a doctorate in clinical social work from the University of Chicago in 1995, a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Kentucky in 1983 and a Bachelor of Arts degree, summa cum laude, from Siena College in New York in 1980.

Throughout his career, Clark has designed and provided behavioral health consultation and educational programs for judges, lawyers and other court personnel.He served as a member of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network’s Justice Committee from 2008 to 2012, as the lead member of the Council on Social Work Education’s National Research Integrity Workgroup from 2006 to 2012, and as an appointed member of the National Federation of Clinical Social Work’s Forensic Social Work Committee from 2003 to 2007.

Clark is a member of the Council on Social Work Education, the National Association of Deans and Directors of Schools of Social Work, the Kentucky Society for Clinical Social Work, the Society for Personology and the Society for Social Work and Research.