Cheryl A. Parks, Ph.D. appointed as Associate Dean for Research at the University of Connecticut School of Social Work

Cheryl A. Parks, Ph.D. has been appointed as Associate Dean for Research at the University of Connecticut School of Social Work.  In this role, Dr. Parks will facilitate and coordinate social work and interdisciplinary research and scholarly activities, generate significant external funding, and provide assistance to faculty with funding proposals and scholarly presentations.  “The position of Associate Dean for Research is a major step forward in support of the School’s research mission”, says Salome Raheim, Dean of the School of Social Work.

Establishment of the Office of Research and Scholarship (ORS) is a major new initiative under the leadership of Dr. Parks.  ORS provides a broad array of pre- and post-award services designed to expand the research, scholarship and external funding portfolio of the School of Social Work. Details of services and resources available through the Office of Research and Scholarship are described on the School of Social Work web site. Faculty and staff may access these resources by contacting Dr. Parks at or by calling 860-570-9296.

Dr. Parks joined the social work faculty as an Assistant Professor in 1999.  She was promoted to Associate Professor in 2003 and Professor in 2009.  Prior to her academic appointment at UConn, she was an Assistant Professor for two years at Florida State University School of Social Work. She received her doctorate in 1997 from the Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research at Bryn Mawr College, and her Masters of Social Work from the University of Washington in 1978.

Before entering academe, Dr. Parks’ career included eight years as a private practitioner and ten years in agency-based practice settings as a social work clinician and administrator in mental health, substance abuse and child welfare. Throughout her tenure as a faculty member in both the M.S.W. and Ph.D. programs, Dr. Parks has taught courses across the curriculum and has advised students in both programs. Most recently, her teaching has focused on qualitative and quantitative research methods, advanced statistics, qualitative analysis, and substance abuse.  Dr. Parks’ primary research focus is on issues related to lesbian identity and alcohol use, lesbian parenting, and age, gender, and racial/ethnic differences in alcohol use patterns and problems.  Dr. Parks has published extensively and presented her research in local, state, national, and international venues.

Dr. Parks has been extensively engaged in service to the School, University, profession and community.  As Chair of the School’s Academic Planning Committee, she played a major role in the development of the School’s 2009-2014 Academic Plan. The Plan will serve as a roadmap for the School’s growth and development and inform resource allocation decisions during the next five years. “Professor Parks’ appointment as Associate Dean for Research fulfills a key action step in achieving the research goal of the academic plan”, remarks Dean Raheim.

Dr. Parks is a current member of the University’s Graduate Executive Council. In 2009, she served as a member of the Provost’s Online Education Task Force and on the Social Sciences Review Panel, Faculty Large Grant Program.  As a member of the National Association of Social Workers and the Council on Social Work Education, Dr. Parks has assumed a leadership role on issues affecting LGBT individuals. She served as a Commissioner on CSWE’s Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Expression from 2000 – 2006 and as a member of the NASW National Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Issues since 2006. Dr. Parks’ affiliations with other professional organizations include membership within the Academy of Certified Social Workers, the Society for Social Work and Research, and the Research Society on Alcoholism. Locally, Dr. Parks is President of the Board of Directors for True Colors, Inc., a family service agency addressing the needs of LGBTQ youth and families in Connecticut.

Dr. Parks is a Reviewer for the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, Consulting Editor for Families in Society and is on the Editorial Review Board of the Journal of Gay and Lesbian Social Services.