About the Dean

Interim Dean and Professor of Social Work Sara Sanders, University of IowaInterim Dean Sara Sanders

Dr. Sara Sanders serves as the Interim Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS), as well as its Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

Dr. Sanders is a Professor in the School of Social Work. She earned her PhD in social work from the University of Maryland in 2002 and joined the University of Iowa faculty in January 2003. Dr. Sanders was awarded the Distinguished Professor Award in the School of Social Work four times and was awarded the President and Provost Award for Teaching Excellence in 2015. Dr. Sanders was also named a Dean’s Scholar in 2011, named a fellow of the Gerontological Society of America in 2013, and named an Emerging Leader in Professional Practice by the Social Work Hospice and Palliative Care Network in 2013. She served as the Undergraduate Program Director in the School of Social Work from 2011-2015 and as its Director from 2015-2019. Dr. Sanders was also an Administrative Fellow in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences from 2018-2019. 

Dr. Sanders has published multiple articles in the area of gerontology and death and dying. She presents nationally on topics associated with grief and loss; professional boundaries and ethics; and caregiving for older adults. Her current work involves end-of-life care in prisons. She is currently co-authoring a book on grief and loss that will be published in 2021. Dr. Sanders is a co-author of an edited book titled Gerontological Social Work and the Grand Challenges:  Focusing on Policy and Practice (2019).

The Dean of the College provides educational leadership for the college's teaching and research missions, promotes the academic quality and welfare of the college's faculty and students, and directs strategic-planning processes and allocation of the budget. The dean works closely with the college's elected Executive Committee on collegiate policy and budget issues and consults with the associate deans on all general policy questions. Associate Deans are Christine Getz, Associate Dean for Graduate Education and Outreach and Engagement; Cornelia Lang, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education; Roland Racevskis, Associate Dean for the Arts and Humanities; Maggy Tomova, Associate Dean for the Natural, Mathematical, and Social Sciences; and Joshua Weiner, Associate Dean for Research.