Professional News

College of Social Work Names New Dean

Photo of Justin Miller
Justin "Jay" Miller. Mark Cornelison | UK Photo.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 29, 2019) Justin "Jay" Miller has been selected as the next dean of the College of Social Work (CoSW) at the University of Kentucky, pending approval by the UK Board of Trustees.

“It is such an honor to be selected to serve as the next CoSW dean. This is an exciting time for the university and for the college," Miller said. "I am extremely thrilled to be working with CoSW faculty, staff, students and alumni to forge an impactful path forward.”      

Miller is at the helm of many endeavors in the CoSW and brings passion to his work as an educator and scholar. He is currently the associate dean for research, an associate professor and director of the Self-Care Lab. Miller has spent his career committed to improving the lives of children, families and the professionals who serve them.

“We are thrilled to welcome Jay Miller into this new role. His impressive tenure in the college, extensive leadership experience and high level of respect he has generated among his colleagues makes him the ideal candidate to lead the college forward," Provost David W. Blackwell said. "Announcements like these remind us that the brightest days, for the college and the university, are ahead."

Miller earned his bachelor's degree in social work from Western Kentucky University. He also graduated with a master's degree in social work from Spalding University and a doctoral degree in social work from the University of Louisville.

After completing his undergraduate degree, Miller worked for Kentucky’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services and oversaw social service initiatives for the Department of the Army.

Miller also takes great pride in his research to determine how to best change the system. His academic interests focus on child welfare, youth involvement in juvenile systems and organizational wellness, areas in which Miller has published a number of research papers, books and conducted national and international presentations and lectures. He has been involved in a long line of inquiry that examines self-care among academicians and institutional factors that contribute to overall wellness.

Miller continues to be heavily engaged in foster care advocacy. He serves as president of Foster Care Alumni of America – Kentucky, where he consults and leads a myriad research projects and initiatives. Miller also serves as chairperson of the Kentucky Board of Social Work, among a host of other service endeavors.  

A past recipient of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services’ Paul Grannis Award, Miller also is a 2014 inductee into the College of Health and Human Services Hall of Fame at Western Kentucky University. Miller recently received the 2019 Children’s Bureau Champion Award for his research on addressing workforce issues.  

Miller succeeds Ann Vail, who has served as interim dean of the CoSW since 2015.

"During my tenure as dean, CoSW will remain fervently committed to actualizing the mission of the university," Miller said. "To meet this aim, the college will focus on conceptualizing and delivering an accessible, world-class social work education, fostering a culture of engagement, and strategically investing in teaching and research infrastructure. Ultimately, for our faculty, staff, students and alumni, we hope to create and sustain an ideal environment in which to be educated, employed and engaged."  

Miller will begin his tenure as dean July 1.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion two years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. The Chronicle of Higher Education judged us a “Great College to Work for," and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for three straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.