Sara Sanders

Associate Dean for Strategic Initiatives and Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Sara SandersDr. Sara Sanders serves as the Associate Dean for Strategic Initiatives and the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS). In this role, Dr. Sanders provides leadership to CLAS and its departments around strategic planning and implementation of key initiatives; serves as a liaison between CLAS and other University of Iowa entities around joint initiatives to benefit students, faculty, staff, and the larger community; partners with departments to develop and implement DEI initiatives; and coordinates DEI activities at the collegiate level. 

Dr. Sara Sanders is a Professor in the School of Social Work. She earned her Ph.D 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. Dr. Sanders served as the Undergraduate Program Director from 2011-2015 and as the Director of the School of Social Work 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).

Contact Brittany Ogden, (319-467-1977), to schedule an appointment with Associate Dean Sanders.