Former State Labor Secretary joins School of Social Work

Roberta Gassman

News from our partners in the School of Social Work

Professor Jan Greenberg, Director of the School of Social Work, welcomed Roberta Gassman, Wisconsin’s longest serving labor secretary, to the School of Social Work faculty as a Senior Fellow.

Gassman – who is a two-time alumna of the Social Work program – served in the Cabinet of Governor Jim Doyle as Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development from 2003 through 2010.  At UW-Madison, she will be teaching graduate students.

“Roberta Gassman is recognized as a leader and expert on employment and workforce and economic development issues, and as someone often asked to address national and state audiences, she will be an excellent addition to our school and a great resource for students and social work practitioners across the state.  Her career embodies the true spirit of ‘the Wisconsin Idea’” said Greenberg.

“I’m extremely pleased to be joining this School of Social Work, one of the best in the country,” said Gassman, “to combine my passions for mentoring tomorrow’s leaders and, as a part of ‘the Wisconsin Idea’, helping social workers and policy makers best address the economic challenges now faced by so many children, families and communities.”

Gassman has also worked as a social worker and has held additional senior leadership positions in state, city and county government and in the private sector.

She earned her B.A. in social work, with distinction, and her M.S.S.W. from the UW-Madison and has won many Wisconsin public service and professional awards, including being honored by the School of Social Work with its “2010 Distinguished Alumni Award”, which includes the establishment of the “Roberta Gassman School of Social Work Opportunities Fund” and the “Roberta Gassman Distinguished Lecture Series”.

She has been named a “Woman of Distinction” by the YWCA and among “Madison’s 25 Most Influential” and “Madison’s Top 100 Women” by Madison Magazine.

Gassman has held numerous national and state professional and community leadership roles and is an elected member of the National Academy of Social Insurance and the Overture Center Foundation Board of Directors. She is also a member of the Downtown Rotary Club of Madison and TEMPO.

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