Mazza named dean of College of Social Work

Nicholas Mazza

Florida State University Provost and Executive Vice President Lawrence G. Abele has announced the appointment of Nicholas Mazza as dean of the College of Social Work effective immediately.

Mazza, the Patricia V. Vance Professor of Social Work, has served as interim dean since C. Aaron McNeece retired in 2008. Under his leadership, the College of Social Work has gained a national reputation for its research and service in the areas of gerontology, family violence, health and social welfare, as well as its distance learning and international programs.

"Professor Mazza is an exceptional scholar and a gifted teacher, and he has provided steady leadership to the college during the past two years," Abele said. "He is the obvious choice to help the college move forward as it builds on its strengths of teaching, research and service."

Mazza, who in 2008 was named "Professor of the Year" for the third time by
the Association of Student Social Workers, said he will draw from the collective strengths of the faculty as he assumes the role of dean.

"I will maintain my commitment to advancing the College of Social Work as a student-centered institution with a service and research agenda that makes a difference in the lives of the most vulnerable members of our society," Mazza said. "The contributions of faculty, staff, students and alumni form a shared story of excellence in clinical practice, social policy and administration."

Mazza, whose research focuses on the arts and social work practice, was awarded the Morris Morrison Excellence in Education Award at the 30th Annual National Association for Poetry Therapy Conference earlier this year. In 2009, Mazza was named Social Worker of the Year by the Big Bend unit of the Florida chapter of the National Association of Social Workers.

A licensed clinical social worker, marriage and family therapist, and psychologist, Mazza has helped advance the practice and research of students from multiple disciplines and levels. He has served on 75 doctoral committees and advised a student who recently won an FSU Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Award.

In addition to an extensive publication record including articles, chapters and poetry, Mazza is the author of "Poetry Therapy: Theory and Practice" and co-editor of "Death and Trauma: The Traumatology of Grieving." He has served as the founding editor of the Journal of Poetry Therapy since 1987 and is a member of the editorial boards of the Journal of Family Social Work; Traumatology; Arts in Psychotherapy; and the Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare.

He earned his doctorate from FSU in 1981 and worked as coordinator of a counseling clinic for students and a visiting professor at FSU before becoming an assistant professor in 1985. After being promoted to associate and then full professor, Mazza was named the Patricia V. Vance Professor in 2005.

As the oldest and most established social work program in Florida, the college is ranked as one of the best in the nation. It offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees designed to produce outstanding leaders in social work practice, research and education.