Associate Professors Sharon Milligan and Rob Fischer appointed to Grace Longwell Coyle Professorship

Sharon Milligan and Rob Fischer headshots side-by-side

Professor Grace Longwell Coyle (1892–1962) made a profound impact on the study of social work group work and its practice. Her books and presentations were seminal to promoting group work education and the important analysis of group leadership, group dynamics and elevating social work leadership. The Grace Longwell Coyle Endowed Professorship was established in 1965 “to perpetuate the concept of the dedicated faculty member.”

We are delighted to appoint two long-serving and dedicated faculty members to this professorship for a five-year term beginning July 1.

Sharon E. Milligan joined the Mandel School faculty in 1982. She has devoted much of her academic career to institution building and embodies and excels at what it means to be a dedicated faculty colleague at the school and university.

Dr. Milligan was promoted to associate professor with tenure in 1988 and became chair of the MSSA program from 1989 to 1990. From 2007 to 2021, she served with distinction as associate dean for academic affairs and student services and chair of the MSW program. While carrying these major academic responsibilities, she also assumed the role of chair of the MNO program from 2012 to 2018. In 2021, Dr. Milligan again answered the call for dedicated service and assumed the role of interim dean of the Mandel School from July to December.

Robert L. Fischer joined the Mandel School in 2001 as a senior research associate, became an associate professor in the tenure track in 2017 and tenured in 2020. He has authored more than 60 peer-reviewed publications and generated more than $15 million in extramural grant funding as principal or co-principal investigator. Dr. Fischer has served as director of the MNO program since 2012 and was appointed chair of the program in 2018. He is the sole full-time faculty member teaching in the MNO degree program, and it is his dedication and leadership that led to it being in the inaugural cohort of accredited nonprofit masters programs in 2019 and its continued growth.

Additionally, Dr. Fischer has been co-director of the Center on Poverty and Community Development since 2005. He has also been an active member of the school’s steering committee, curriculum committee, budget committee, library committee and has served as chair of a standing committee on the faculty senate. Dr. Fischer has been a generous institution-builder at the Mandel School and CWRU and a frequent contributor to the academy.

Please join us in congratulating Drs. Milligan and Fischer on their major career accomplishments.