July 28, 2006

Miah named School of Social Work director

by K.C. Jaehnig

 CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Mizanur R. Miah, who has overseen Southern Illinois University Carbondale's School of Social Work since 2002, became its official director July 1. The appointment is subject to ratification by the SIU Board of Trustees.

"As the University tries to gain national recognition, it is important to appoint leaders who are nationally and even internationally known," said Patricia B. Elmore, interim dean of the College of Education and Human Services, which houses the school.

"Dr. Miah is a leader among leaders: an excellent scholar who serves on a number of editorial boards of the most prestigious journals in the field; a member of the Commission on Accreditation of the Council on Social Work Education, which accredits all schools of social work in the United States; an excellent fundraiser who has brought a $5.8 annual grant from the state's Department of Children and Family Services into the University; and an administrator who works extremely well with all his colleagues."

Miah joined the SIUC faculty in 1985 as a lecturer after earning his doctorate there. He previously led the School of Social Work as interim director from 1992 to 1994. During his second stint in the director's chair, he saw the school through re-accreditation, a credential it received in 2004.

Miah noted that the school had achieved much in the last few years but said achievements also bring new challenges.

"Our enrollment is steadily going up, which means we need more qualified faculty to teach them," he said.

"We also want to stabilize enrollments at a level where we can maintain the faculty-student ratio and the quality that gave us the reputation we enjoy.

"We'd like to see more diversity among our students. While we are above both the University and the state average with African-American students, we did not have as much success with Hispanic students. This is an important group, soon to be one of the country's largest minorities."

"We have good graduation rates — 96 percent of our graduate students complete their programs and 80 percent of undergraduates do so — but you can always do better."

"And while we're proud of our international initiatives (the school has links with three universities in Miah's native Bangladesh and one in Russia), we'd like to expand."

Miah has received an honorary professorship from the Moscow State Academy for Technological and Human Services for his work in helping set up a social work curriculum there. He was the first American to receive such an award.

Before immigrating to this country, Miah served as associate professor and chair of sociology at Bangladesh's Chittagong University.

In addition to his academic work, he serves as a consultant for the United Nations Funds for Population Activities and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency.

Miah earned bachelor's and master's degrees in 1964 and 1965 respectively from the University of Dhaka in Bangladesh as well as master's degrees from the University of California, Berkeley in 1969 and from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1998.

Retaining high-quality faculty is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint the University is following as it approaches its 150th anniversary in 2019. 

Mizanur R. Miah

Mizanur R. Miah
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