On September 29, 2021, Dean Judy L. Postmus presented her annual State of the School Address. HIghlighting the many accomplishments made over the last 12 months, Postmus strived to showcase the many great aspects of the School and its future.

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Getting to Know the Dean

When school resumed in August, the School’s new dean, Judy Postmus, had just arrived. And to a deserted campus. For someone whose leadership style and work is grounded in collaboration, this posed a particular challenge. This page is one means she’s working to overcome it. This living, evolving page offers a glimpse of who she is and how she arrived here at the University of Maryland. It’s also a means to share with her a personal welcome or even concern. If you haven’t already - we invite you to get to know the Dean.

I felt the oppression and injustice and I wanted to help. I didn’t want to rescue people; I wanted to partner with them—to work with them."

— Dean Postmus

About Judy

Judy L. Postmus began her term as dean of the University of Maryland School of Social Work (UMSSW) on July 1, 2020. Selected after a nationwide search, Postmus succeeded Richard P. Barth, PhD, MSW, who had served as the school’s dean since 2006.

Postmus joined UMSSW after 14 years with the School of Social Work at Rutgers University. She was a professor as well as associate dean for faculty development and strategic initiatives (2018-2019) and associate dean for research and faculty development (2019-2020).

Postmus’ research has focused on the physical, sexual, and economic victimization of women. At Rutgers, she was the founder and director of the Center on Violence Against Women and Children (2007-2018), which works to eliminate physical, sexual, and other forms of violence against women and children — and the power imbalances that permit them — through multidisciplinary research, education, and community engagement.

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Select Research
While Dean Postmus has published dozens of papers over her career, considering her commitment to research that truly benefits people and communities, we are sharing a glimpse at a small collection of work in which she is most proud.

Postmus, J. L. (Ed.) (2013). Sexual Violence and Abuse: An Encyclopedia of Prevention, Impacts, and Recovery. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO. 

Postmus, J.L., Hoge, G.L., Breckenridge, J., Sharp-Jeffs, N., & Chung, D. (2020). Economic abuse as an invisible form of domestic violence: A multi-country review. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 21(2): 261-283. DOI: 10.1177/1524838018764160. 

Postmus, J. L., Plummer, S. B., & Stylianou, A.M.* (2016). Measuring economic abuse in the lives of survivors: Revising the Scale of Economic Abuse. Violence Against Women, 22(6): 692-703.  DOI: 10.1177/1077801215610012. 

Postmus, J.L., Hetling, A., & Hoge, G.L.* (2015).  Evaluating a financial education curriculum as an intervention to improve financial behaviors and financial well-being of survivors of domestic violence: Results from a longitudinal randomized controlled study.  Journal of Consumer Affairs, Spring: 250-266.  DOI: 10.1111/joca.12057.

Postmus, J. L. (2015). Women from different ethnic groups and their experiences with victimization and seeking help. Violence Against Women, 21(3): 376-393. DOI: 10.1177/1077801214568254. 

Her Path to SSW

Year Details


Dean Postmus enrolls at Calvin College Florida International University; she knows she wants to help people and thinks becoming a doctor is the best path.


A part-time job as a hospital ward clerk changes her mind; she changes her major to nutrition and transfers to Florida International University, swayed by the issue of food insecurity.


Joining a Miami-based nonprofit, she begins work in Liberty City, a Miami neighborhood with entrenched poverty and a history of riots and racial injustice.


Realizing she needs an education beyond nutrition to help bring about real change, she enrolls at Barry University School of Social Work and begins work on her MSW.



Takes on her first executive leadership becoming Executive Director of the Domestic Abuse Shelter in Marathon in the Florida Keys.


With almost 15 years in the field under her belt, Dean Postmus decides to pursue a PhD with the intent of joining academia to help guide meaningful research and helping prepare the next generation of social workers.


Publishes her first academic paper: Analysis of the Family Violence Option: A strengths perspective in Affilia: Journal of Women and Social Work. It’s based on a paper for a policy class in the PhD program.


PhD in hand, the Dean accepts her first assistant professorship position at the School of Social Welfare, University of Kansas.


Dean Postmus heads back East, joining Rutgers University as an assistant professor and establishes the Center on Violence Against Women and Children.


Under her leadership, the Center is recognized by the Obama White House as “a leading research institute” in their “Not Alone” report. Center is also recognized by the Mary Byron Foundation in awarding the “Celebrating Solutions” award.



Postmus becomes the Associate Dean for Faculty Development & Strategic Initiatives which morphs into the Associate Dean for Research & Faculty Development at Rutgers, School of Social Work.


Postmus accepts the Deanship at the University of Maryland, Baltimore School of Social Work.