Jennifer Manuel Appointed New Associate Dean at School of Social Work

Manuel brings a long history of research, scholarship and service to community to her new role.

UConn School of Social Work associate dean for research poses for a photo on the UConn Hartford campus on Sept. 1, 2022. (Sydney Herdle/UConn Photo)

Following a national search, UConn’s School of Social Work is pleased to announce that Jennifer Manuel, Ph.D., will serve as the next associate dean of research. Manuel will succeed former associate dean, Michael Fendrich, who served in the role since August 2014. Fendrich has taken a non-academic research position with the Advocate Aurora Health Research Institute, effective this past June.

“Advancing inclusive and impactful research and scholarship is one of the pillars of our new five-year strategic plan,” says Dean Nina Rovinelli Heller. “With her extensive experience, I am confident Dr. Manuel will help grow our School’s scholarly productivity and impact, incorporating a diverse range of research and scholarship while promoting work that addresses interconnected, systemic oppression.”

Manuel began her career in social work at Texas Christian University where she earned her B.S. in Social Work. She later earned an M.S. in Advanced Clinical Social Work Practice and a Ph.D., awarded with distinction, in Advanced Social Work Practice at Columbia University. Until her appointment at UConn School of Social Work, Manuel was an associate professor at Silver School of Social Work at New York University, where she also directed the New York State Office of Mental Health Evidence-Based Project, a partnership that trains social work students in recovery-oriented, evidence-based practices for adults diagnosed with serious mental illness.

“I am honored to serve the School of Social Work in this capacity, and I look forward to partnering with talented faculty, staff and students to help create an inclusive research and scholarship environment aimed at addressing systems of oppression and increasing equity and inclusion in our solutions for social change,” Manuel says.

Manuel brings a long history of research, scholarship and service to community to her new role. She has authored more than 30 papers published in peer-reviewed journals and several book chapters. She is the principal investigator or co-investigator of several research projects funded by state or federal agencies, such as the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Institute of Mental Health, and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the National Council of Behavioral Health. Her research broadly addresses service access, engagement, and transitions among individuals with substance use, mental health, and other critical needs (housing, employment, health, trauma).

Most recently, Manuel completed a NIDA-funded study of Critical Time Intervention versus enhanced discharged services to reduce the risk of relapse and homelessness among individuals leaving long-term residential substance use treatment. Her current research involves using multilevel interventions to address substance misuse and overdose risk among youth and families living in communities disproportionately impacted by drug overdoses, HIV and associated drivers of disparities. Manuel’s background positions her well to support and advance our university/state agency partnerships with CT Departments of Children and Families, Mental Health and Addiction Services, Social Services and the Office or Early Childhood.

At NYU, Manuel taught a range of courses for master’s and doctoral students. Her service to community includes serving as a facilitator of an Anti-Racism Team Discussion at the Maria Droste Counseling Center in New York, a research consultant for Road Recovery, a nonprofit for young people with addiction, and a member of the Social Policy Committee of the Society for Social Work and Research.

Manuel’s appointment at UConn began on July 29.