Hesselbrock Named First
Zachs Chair of Social Work
By John Wray
Michie N. Hesselbrock , professor and
director of research at the School of Social Work since 1991, has been named the first Zachs Chair of Social Work.
She also has been appointed director of the new Ph.D. program in social work at the Greater Hartford campus. The program will start this September with the first five students and will admit five new students each year.
The chair and doctoral program are funded by a $1 million grant from UConn alumna Judith M. Zachs and her husband Henry M. Zachs.
"I am delighted that Michie Hesselbrock has agreed to serve as first Zachs Chair of Social Work at UConn," said Judith Zachs. "Michie's distinguished career as a leader in social work education and research over more than 20 years has demonstrated her outstanding qualifications for this post, qualities that will make UConn's new Chair and doctoral program in social work one of the finest of its kind in the country and the only program of its kind at a public university in New England."
Hesselbrock was appointed after a national search. "Our national search revealed that our own faculty member, Michie Hesselbrock, was the most qualified candidate for this position," says Kay Davidson, dean of social work. "Fortunately for us, Michie also brings extensive knowledge of UConn, the School of Social Work, and the professional social work community of Connecticut to her new role."
Hesselbrock received her bachelor's degree cum laude from Texas Wesleyan College in 1969, her master's in social work from the University of Texas-Arlington in 1971, and her Ph.D. in social work, psychiatric epidemiology and substance abuse from Washington University-St. Louis in 1978.
She joined the UConn faculty as assistant professor in the psychiatry department at the UConn School of Medicine in 1978, a post she held until 1986 while doing research in the field of alcohol and substance abuse. She continued as a visiting professor at the medical school from 1986-91, during which time she was also associate professor and program coordinator for the master's in social work program at Southern Connecticut State University.
Since 1991, when she was named professor and director of research at the UConn School of Social Work, she has continued her research, and has taught courses in substance abuse, research methods, introduction to social work, the psychopathology of adult development. She also has integrated seminars on mental health and substance abuse, and served as a mentor and advisor for graduate students and postgraduates in the field.
Her many professional publications report the results of more than 20 years of research - supported by some $3 million in federal funds - into the etiology and treatment of addictive behaviors, such as alcoholism and drug abuse.
Much of Hesselbrock's research, and many of her publications have been co-authored with her husband, Victor Hesselbrock, PHS Chair of Addiction Research and director of the federally-funded Alcohol Research Center at the UConn Health Center's Department of Psychiatry, the oldest continuously funded program of its kind in the nation.
Michie Hesselbrock is currently president of the Connecticut chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. She has played a leadership role on many key committees at the UConn School of Social Work, including those on development, research, doctoral planning, and strategic planning. And she participates in a wide range of editorial review boards for scholarly journals in her field.
Hesselbrock says she is honored by the appointments. She has hoped for many years that a doctoral program would be established at the school.
Judith Zachs was an adjunct professor of geriatric social work at Southern Connecticut State University when the two first met. "She was a wonderful instructor and a dedicated professional, and I look forward to her continued guidance and support," says Hesselbrock. "Thanks to Judith and Henry, our new doctoral program in social work will enable us to offer our outstanding graduate students the full range of opportunities right here within the University of Connecticut."
Judith Zachs is a clinical social worker who received her master's in social work from UConn in 1977. She and her husband Henry have been frequent contributors to the UConn School of Social Work and were also responsible for the recently dedicated Zachs Community Room at the school. They also established a program to promote Judaic Studies within the school, and have participated in many other important initiatives.
Judith Zachs is also on the Campaign steering committee, and co-chairs the School of Social Work's development committee with Howard Dickstein (CLAS '71). The Zachs are lifetime members of the UConn Foundation Founders Society. Lifetime membership in the Society recognizes donors with a significant record of giving to the University.