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Pitner selected to lead UAB Department of Social Work

  • June 22, 2021

Ronald Pitner, Ph.D., ACSW, has been named the chair of the Department of Social Work in the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s College of Arts and Sciences.

ronald pitnerRonald Pitner, Ph.D., ACSW, has been named the chair of the Department of Social Work in the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s College of Arts and Sciences.

Dr. Pitner received a Master of Social Work and a Ph.D. in Social Work and (Social) Psychology from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. He also earned an M.A. in Experimental Psychology from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.

He currently serves as the interim dean in the College of Social Work at the University of South Carolina, where he is also the I. DeQuincey Newman Endowed Chair for Peace and Social Justice and the director of the I. DeQuincey Newman Institute in the College of Social Work. Dr. Pitner previously served as the associate dean for curriculum in the College of Social Work.

Prior to joining the College of Social Work, Dr. Pitner worked at a global market research firm where he managed research projects focused on consumer health care practices and pharmaceutical brand perceptions and attitudes. Moreover, prior to his industry experience, Dr. Pitner was on faculty at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis.

“The College is very fortunate to attract a candidate with Dr. Pitner’s academic profile and significant leadership experience,” said Kecia M. Thomas, Ph.D., dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “I am confident that under his leadership, the Department of Social Work will continue to experience growth in its undergraduate and graduate programs while extending the department’s reach throughout the community, the state, and the world. Dr. Pitner’s career is a model of engaged scholarship for the College as well as for the university community.”  

Dr. Pitner’s research interests are broadly defined in terms of social cognition, stereotypes, prejudice, stigma, social cognitive aspects of interpersonal forms of violence, and youth and community based civic engagement. His primary area of research focuses on residents’ understanding of neighborhood violence and safety, as well as how neighborhood civic engagement can be used to help make such neighborhoods safer for residents who live there. His secondary area of research is focused on diversity, social justice, and multicultural and anti-oppressive social work practices. Dr. Pitner currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina.

“The Department of Social Work at UAB is one of the few health social work programs in the nation, and it is well-positioned to become one of the preeminent programs,” said Dr. Pitner. “I am very excited to work with the faculty to make this one of the strongest programs in the nation.”