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About Our Dean

Alan J. Dettlaff was appointed Dean of the Graduate College of Social Work and inaugural Maconda Brown O’Connor Endowed Dean’s Chair in May 2015. Prior to joining the University of Houston, Dean Dettlaff served on the faculty of the Jane Addams College of Social Work at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He received his bachelor’s degree in social work from TCU, and master’s in social work and Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Arlington.

Dean Dettlaff’s work has focused on improving outcomes for children and youth in the child welfare system through examining the factors contributing to racial disparities, improving cultural competence, and influencing statewide responses to racial disparities. His research and consultation with state child welfare systems has led to significant policy and practice improvements that have resulted in reductions in the overrepresentation of African American children in these systems. Dean Dettlaff has also conducted groundbreaking research to identify and understand the unique needs of immigrant Latino children and families involved in child welfare. This research resulted in the first national data on the presence of Latino children of immigrants in the child welfare system and their risk exposure.

Dean Dettlaff serves as Chair of the Council on Social Work Education’s Commission on Education Policy and led the process of revising the Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards that took effect in 2015. He was named Volunteer of the Year by the Council on Social Work Education in 2014, and was inducted into the 2015 Class of Fellows of the Society for Social Work and Research.

Dean Dettlaff is co-editor of Addressing Racial Disproportionality and Disparities in Human Services: Multisystemic Approaches, published by Columbia University Press, and Child Welfare Practice with Immigrant Children and Families, published by Routledge. He serves on the editorial boards of Child Welfare, Child Abuse & Neglect, and Journal of Public Child Welfare. He is a member of the advisory board of the State Policy Advocacy and Reform Center (SPARC), and serves on the Alliance for Racial Equity in Child Welfare of the Center for the Study of Social Policy, and the Solutions Taskforce of the National Alliance for Hispanic Families.

Dean Dettlaff lives in Houston with his husband, former TCU football player, Vince Pryor, and their dog, Alexi.

Contact Information

Room: 212 Social Work Building
Phone: 713-743-7819
Current Curriculum Vitae


Click here to view current Curriculum Vitae with selected publications.