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Robert Hawkins

Assoc Dean - Human & Social Sc

He, Him

Associate Dean for Academic and Faculty Affairs

Professor of Social Work

Academic and Faculty Affairs

Caldwell Hall NA


Dr. Robert L. Hawkins (Brandeis University, 2002) is a Professor of Social Work and the Associate Dean for Academic and Faculty Affairs in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. He has research and teaching expertise in poverty and welfare, social capital use and development, race and social policy, human behavior, policy analysis, and community participatory research (CBPR). He also has extensive programming, research, and teaching expertise in race and racism, diversity, oppression, and privilege. Dr. Hawkins’s research has touched many shores from rural communities to urban centers in the United States and around the world. He has built a body of work that examines the complexities of race, gender, and social capital on the lives of low-income individuals and families of color. Following Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, he conducted a three-year, collaborative ethnography of families of color. He also developed an innovative CBPR study in rural municipalities in the Philippines. In advancing this project over several years, Dr. Hawkins worked with local residents in conducting community needs assessments, financial decision-making research, and a collaborative ethnography emphasizing women’s health and domestic violence prevention. Dr. Hawkins has done similar collaborations in China, Thailand, and Germany. Further, he is part of a multidisciplinary research team utilizing the multiphase optimization strategy (MOST), a framework for developing efficient and cost-effective interventions. This NIDA-funded study examines how to optimize an intervention for vulnerable African Americans populations living with HIV. Dr. Hawkins is also the Co-PI on a $2.3 million NIH grant to use the MOST framework with vaccine hesitant African American and Latinx front-line workers.

Dr. Hawkins was previously the Academic Dean for Academic and Faculty Affairs at the Silver School of Social Work at New York University, where he was on faculty for 18 years. For 14 of those years, he held an endowed chair in Poverty Studies, which he first received prior to earning tenure at NYU. He was also the former Assistant Dean and Director of Undergraduate Education at NYU Silver.

His research and teaching have been widely acknowledged. At NYU he was a recipient of the NYU Distinguished Teaching Award, NYU MLK Teaching Award, the Silver School of Social Work Distinguished Teaching Award, the Dorothy Height Award for Distinguished Faculty, and the NIH New Investigator Award. He was selected by The Robert Sterling Clark Foundation to join the Sterling Network NYC, a multidisciplinary network of New York City leaders working together to tackle the challenge of increasing economic mobility. Dr. Hawkins was also selected to be a member of the Expert Working Group Member, German Marshal Fund in the United States. Currently, he serves as the Editor-in-Chief of the journal Social Work Research, an National Association of Social Work (NASW) publication


PhD Social Policy Brandeis University 2002

Area(s) of Expertise

Poverty studies, social capital, race and cultural identity, social policy analysis, community participatory research, historical racial trauma, human behavior