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USD Nursing Briefs
Lawler Named Dean of the
School of Health Sciences at USD
Michael J. Lawler, Ph.D., M.S.W., has
been named dean of the School of Health
Sciences. Lawler began his new duties as
dean in late 2011.
Lawler previously served as chair and
professor of USD’s Social Work Program.
He has three decades of experience as a
social work practitioner, administrator,
educator and researcher, and served more
recently as director of the Center for
Human Services, co-director of the Center
for Public Policy Research and department
chair at the University of California, Davis.
In addition to being the principal
investigator for a number of federal, state,
tribal and county grants, Lawler developed
several outreach, education and research
centers at UC Davis to address social
welfare policy and practice. His published
articles, book chapters and public policy
papers address a range of social welfare
issues including child maltreatment, child-
parent relationships, juvenile justice and
human services education.
Lawler received the 2011 Career
Achievement Award from the National Staff
Development and Training Association,
an affiliate of the American Public Human
Services Association. He was awarded
the 2010 James H. Meyer Distinguished
Achievement Award by the UC Davis
Academic Federation and was a finalist for
the 2010 Pro-Humanitate Literary Award
presented by the Center for Child Welfare
Policy of the North American Resource
Center for Child Welfare. He earned a
Ph.D. in human development from UC
Davis, master of social welfare degree
from University of California-Berkeley, a
bachelor’s degree in psychology from Lewis
and Clark College and he is a Licensed
Clinical Social Worker. •
Linda Benedict, M.A., B.S.N., associate
professor of nursing and director of the
Sioux Falls campus, retired in June 2012
after nearly a decade with the University
of South Dakota. Benedict joined the
Department of Nursing at USD in 2003.
We are thankful for Professor
Benedict’s years of service to nursing
education in South Dakota,” said Carla
Dieter, Ed.D., R.N., F.N.P-B.C., chair
of USD’s Department of Nursing. “The
lessons she imparted to her students will
help ensure top-quality health care for
patients throughout the state and beyond
for years to come.”
Prior to her time at USD, Benedict
Director of Sioux Falls Campus Retires
served as a nursing practice specialist for
the South Dakota Board of Nursing and an
instructor of nursing at South Dakota State
University. She has also served as a member
of several professional organizations,
including the South Dakota Organization
of Nurse Executives, the South Dakota
Nurses Association and the National League
for Nursing.
Benedict has published in the areas
of quality and safety improvement in
health care and presented on curriculum
development and improvement. In 2010,
she was awarded the South Dakota Nurses
Association’s Distinguished Service Award. •