July 30, 2010

The Columbia University School of Social Work (CUSSW) is pleased to announce that Dr. Vicki Lens, Associate Professor of Social Work, has been awarded tenure by Columbia University.

Dr. Lens’ research has focused on administrative justice and the intersection of law and social policy. In particular, she has examined administrative, social, and legal processes and procedures to determine whether and how they impede or enable public agencies toward the fair distribution of benefits. Her research has been concentrated specifically on illuminating dimensions of two study interests: 1) administrative justice and fair hearings and 2) administrative justice and bureaucratic practices. In the case of the latter, her inquiries have pursued and analyzed the wrongful denial of benefits to clients. Dr. Lens has drawn from her law and her social work backgrounds to examine the intersection of these two disciplines, specifically exploring how judicial interpretations affect the implementation of social policy. Her research has extended to three states and has pursued a rounded perspective, examining the roles and behaviors of judges, hearings officials, and clientele.

Dr. Lens has published in top tier law and social work journals, providing important insights into the factors that can distinguish courts and administrative mechanisms, what occurs in these structures and vehicles, and, most importantly, outcomes for clients. Her exceptional productivity in the pursuit of her research agenda, her enthusiastic teaching, and her outstanding service to the School have been particularly noteworthy as is her receipt of a National Science Foundation grant awarded for the period 2009-2011 for the examination of administrative justice as it may be meted out in public welfare bureaucracies. With her receipt of tenure, Dr. Lens will continue to provide our students and the profession the distinct benefit of a perspective informed and enriched by legal conceptualizations and analysis, adding even greater dimension to the multidisciplinary character of the School and its offerings.

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