Lawler begins his duties at USD this month. He previously served as the director of the Center for Human Services, co-director of the Center for Public Policy Research and department chair at University of California-Davis Extension.

“Dr. Lawler brings a wealth of experience in social services,” said Brian Kaatz, PharmD, dean of the School of Health Sciences. “He has extensive grant and international experience and has received several awards for his work. We are thrilled to have him assume our leadership position for the Social Work Program.”

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 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.

Lawler earned degrees (Ph.D.) in human development from UC Davis, (M.S.W.) from UC Berkeley, (B.A.) in psychology from Lewis and Clark College, and he is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. He and his wife, Kimberly, have an adult son attending college. A photo of Lawler is available for download at

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