Social work director?s job is ?serendipitous?

By By Katie Valentine

By Katie Valentine

The hiring of the new director of the bachelor of social work program was a serendipitous experience.

Patrick Panos was working at BYU a year ago as a professor in social work, but that wasn’t going to last. BYU announced in 2007 that the undergraduate program would end in the 2009-2010 school year, moving Panos and other professors to different departments on campus. Panos said his life is in social work and he didn’t want to leave it.

Last year, Panos attended a luncheon at the U with his parents. Panos’ mother was bragging about her son’s accomplishments when two people at the table said they were on the College of Social Work committee, Panos said. The committee members asked Panos to apply for the director position because their director would be retiring in January 2009.

“I’m not sure I would have applied if my mother hadn’t talked me up,” Panos said.

The U was exactly the kind of school that Panos wanted to work for because it has high research activity8212;though he was applying for jobs out of state because he heard the U was under a hiring freeze.

“It was just serendipitous all around,” Panos said.

Panos met with Jannah Mather, dean of the College of Social Work, several times through the application process. One of the first things that Panos is changing is bringing more research to undergraduate students. Students graduating from the College of Social Work will need to supply information to people who give them funding.

“Our goal is that students produce or co-author a journal article by the time they graduate,” Panos said.

He is also working on expanding social work to have more of an international impact. During the next year, students will write proposals for an international certificate that will bring community development to Bolivia, HIV/AIDS prevention to Kenya and Street Kids, a children’s development program, to Mexico.

Another proposal is being written for distance education, which will provide help to parts of the state that need it but haven’t been reached.

Panos said he appreciates the faculty at the U. The administration has been more supportive than previous experiences, he said.

The College of Social Work also has two new directors. Both were promoted from other positions because the college is under a hiring freeze. Moisés Próspero and Camille Anthony are co-directing the Utah Criminal Justice Center, which works in conjunction with the S.J. Quinney College of Law and the College of Social and Behavioral Science to provide students with the ability to conduct research. They will replace the directors who left last semester.

Próspero had a position in the S.J. Quinney College of Law, which works with the center. He is the center’s research director. Anthony was working with the program and was given a promotion to executive director.

The center also works with the College of Social and Behavioral Science, as well as the state government.