Gautam N. Yadama, assistant vice chancellor for international affairs and professor at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis, has been named dean of the Boston College School of Social Work. Yadama will begin his term in July. He succeeds Alberto Godenzi, who is retiring as dean after 15 years of service.
Yadama, an internationally respected researcher whose interdisciplinary work has focused on understanding the social and environmental challenges of the rural poor in South Asia and China, has conducted extensive community-based research throughout India, China and Nepal.
Yadama said he was delighted to join Boston College and lead the faculty at the School of Social Work. “The Boston College School of Social Work is highly visible in the profession for its emphasis on tackling key challenges in social work,” said Yadama. “Its faculty have been significant in shaping the grand challenges for social work and taking on intractable and perennial problems confronting our most vulnerable and disenfranchised. The school is pursuing social work practice rooted in place to generate social innovation, integrate immigrants, explore race and place to provide stable lives for African American children, empower disadvantaged youth, and realize environmental justice in urban spaces.
His research examines the overarching questions of how communities successfully self-govern and collectively provide essential public goods and common-pool resources vital for their livelihoods; how government and non-governmental organizations engage and collaborate with these communities; and how social and ecological interactions influence the sustained implementation of household and community interventions to overcome social dilemmas and improve wellbeing.
A gifted scholar and teacher noted for curricular innovation, he has won Distinguished Faculty Awards from both Washington University and the Brown School of Social Work. Fluent in English, Telugu and Hindi, Yadama has also served as director of international programs at the Brown School of Social Work and as a visiting professor in India, Azerbaijan, Mongolia and the Republic of Georgia.
The author of the recent book Fires, Fuel and the Fate of 3 Billion: The State of the Energy Impoverished, he currently serves as an advisory group member with the Implementation Science Network for the National Institutes of Health, addressing the issue of household air pollution around the world.
In announcing the appointment, Provost and Dean of Faculties David Quigley praised Yadama as a leader whose reputation for interdisciplinary collaboration in the field of social work will benefit Boston College. “The search committee and I are confident that Gautam Yadama is the right leader for the School of Social Work,” said Quigley. “His experience in the communities of Cleveland, metro St. Louis and around the globe, his vision for the field of social work, and his imaginative approach to cross-school collaborations all resonated with faculty, staff and students. I expect that colleagues across campus will quickly come to value Gautam as an important partner.”
Born in India, the son of a United Nations administrator, Yadama came to the United States with his family after high school. He received his bachelor’s degree in management from Wilkes University in Pennsylvania, and master’s and doctoral degree in social policy and planning from Case Western Reserve University.