School of Social Work Names Dr. Ande Nesmith New Director

Nesmith, who has been serving as interim director of the School of Social Work since Sept. 1, 2021, impressed the search committee with the clarity of her vision for the School of Social Work, her experience in social work in the community before becoming an academic, and her passion for intersectional challenges within social work, including racial equity and environmental justice.

“Her depth of character, humility about her own achievements and successes, and her diplomacy during challenging times wins people over,” said Dr. MayKao Y. Hang, vice president of strategic initiatives and founding dean of the Morrison Family College of Health. “She is a leader who stays centered on our mission and truly loves our School of Social Work.”

Nesmith brings more than a decade of experience teaching within the St. Thomas social work program, during which time she has been a strong and consistent advocate, mentor and leader for her students and colleagues.

“Her commitment to students, scholarship and the ethics of the social work profession have been evident throughout her tenure with the School of Social Work,” said Dr. Katharine Hill, associate vice provost for faculty advancement and research and former director of the School of Social Work. “She is a caring and thoughtful leader, and I am certain that the School of Social Work will thrive with her at the helm.”

Prior to serving as interim director of the School of Social Work, Dr. Nesmith was the undergraduate social work program director. Her scholarly work has focused on the areas of vulnerable youth and emerging adults, as well as environmental justice – work that she will continue as director.

“I’m appreciative of the opportunity to lead the School of Social Work as we aim to educate social workers in this new era of uncertainty in the world, still optimistic of a more just, healthy, and inclusive society and global community,” Nesmith said. “I’m incredibly lucky to get to work with such brilliant, capable, and hardworking people who are genuinely passionate about our profession and the students and community members we serve.”