The dean of UofL’s Kent School of Social Work has transformed the school into one of the nation’s elite programs, consistently earning high rankings in U.S. News and World Report’s annual college guide and most recently rated 8th among all social work programs in the U.S. by 

He is the longest-tenured dean of social work in the country, with 30 years of experience, 17 of them at UofL. He’s helped in the reaccreditation of programs at Boston College and the University of Pittsburgh, and assisted Syracuse University in reorganizing its social work department.

“Other schools across the nation aspire to create what Terry built at UofL,” University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Dean of Social Work Jack Richman said. “He’s built the infrastructure at Louisville that produces excellent practitioners, as well as recruits high-level researchers that produce evidence-based outcomes that we can use to better serve our clients. He knows where social work has been and where it is going – and that makes him a huge player in the field.”

Singer’s idea of recruiting researchers as a tool to combat social problems was considered cutting-edge by academia when he came to UofL in 1997, as was the dean mentoring program he established to guide newer deans through the maze of a changing academic field.

 “In order to be successful, deans need to share their experiences, especially to newcomers – which is why I established the dean mentoring program through the National Association of Deans and Directors of Schools of Social Work,” Singer said.

But the changes don’t stop there. As the need for experienced, properly trained social workers continues to rise, higher education needs to keep pace in a technology-driven world.

“Technology is having a huge impact on how we teach and learn, Singer said. More students are looking for online graduate programs, while social media is changing how we interact with each other. We need to figure out how to maintain high academic and professional standards while meeting marketplace demands. It’s a big challenge, but it’s one we are facing head-on.”