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School of Social Work Welcomes New Dean

Social Work Month is off to a momentous start with the official welcoming of the sixth dean of the Ethelyn R. Strong School of Social Work, Dr. Isiah Marshall Jr. To mark this occasion, a Welcome Reception was held at the Murray Center in Downtown Norfolk in his honor while also shining a light on the student scholarship fund.

Graduating senior Tracy Korenteng-Mensah welcomed Dr. Marshall by saying, “I know the students that are coming behind me are in great hands.” This added to the call for support of the School of Social Work scholarship fund and stressed the importance of uplifting the next generation of aspiring social workers.

In 1960, social work became a major at Norfolk State University. The School of Social Work namesake, Dr. Ethelyn Ratcliff Strong, played a significant role in the School’s progress and success during her time as the founding dean. Each speaker who took the podium relayed the profound work Dr. Strong has done in the community and as an educator. This ‘strong’ legacy will be continued with the appointment of Dr. Marshall.

photo of the NSU Dean of Social WorkAs a native of Houston, Texas, Dr. Marshall earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology with a minor concentration in Biology in 1996 from Texas Southern University in Houston (TX). In 1998, Dr. Marshall earned a Master of Social Work from Howard University (D.C.) and subsequently he earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Sociology (concentration in Urban Sociology and Criminology) also from Howard University in 2008. From 2014-2016, Dr. Marshall was named a Health Leadership Fellow with the Health Foundation of Western and Central New York.

“We are honored to have Dr. Marshall as a part of our team with his expertise in research interests in Gerontology, African American males, social work education, disabilities, international social work practices, and LGBTQIA+ people of color,” said Norfolk State President Dr. Javaune Adams-Gaston.

Dr. Marshall’s vision for the School of Social Work is to maintain academic excellence, develop student skills, research, conduct studies, and communicate the School of Social Work message to the community and beyond. “I find it an awesome opportunity to be your sixth dean and thank you for entrusting me to lead you to excellence,” stated Dr. Marshall.

In June 2022, Dr. Marshall began his tenure as Dean and Professor of the Ethelyn R. Strong School of Social Work.

To support Dr. Marshall's vision and the School of Social Work students, please visit and select Ethelyn R. Strong School of Social Work as your designation.

Check out this Flickr Album to see photos from the event.