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Hello, as the Dean of the College of Applied Social Sciences, I am excited to welcome you to Dominican University. If you are reading this letter, you must be exploring careers that are focused on helping people and helping communities. Our College is the proud home of the School of Education, School of Information Studies, School of Social Work, and special programs such as a Bachelor of Professional Studies in Human Services, Labor Relations, Criminal Justice Administration, Public Administration, Disability Advocacy, Sustainability Studies, Legal Studies, Training and Development, a Master of Arts in Mediation and Conflict Resolution as well as a Master of Arts in Trauma-Informed Leadership, and a PhD in Applied Social Justice. We have a range of undergraduate programs including those that provide a more traditional experience and those that serve a variety of populations and situations. Our graduate programs are appropriate for full-time and part-time students, and we’re home to the only two PhD programs at Dominican University. All of our programs maintain the rigor and quality, and relationship building that Dominican University is known for, and all of our programs provide a range of face-to-face and online options, as well as diverse field and professional experiences.

As our name implies, our College is focused on the application of knowledge and skills. Our excellent faculty are active researchers, active contributors to policy development, and have a rich and diverse experience in their fields. Our classes provide direct exposure to the populations, materials, and environments where you can apply learning and develop experience. I like to say that we accompany students along their academic path, providing mentorship and support beyond mere instruction (instruction that is of the highest quality!). There are many institutions that offer degrees, few that offer the community like ours that will welcome you and sustain you through your studies and along your careers.

True to our mission, we are committed to creating accessible pathways to credentials and professions, and to providing equitable learning and working experiences within those pathways. To the latter, we recognize that we are uninvited inhabitants on Indigenous lands that Dominican University and surrounding communities occupy. Our campus is located on the ancestral, traditional, and contemporary lands of many tribes, including the Ojibwa, Chippewa, Menominee, Potawatomi nations and more. As scholars and educators we are committed to working with Indigenous peoples and others to resist and dismantle the ongoing logics of settler colonialism that simultaneously seek to erase and consume knowledges, land, and other resources of Indigenous peoples. Further, we believe that Black Lives Matter, that our Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) designation is more than a box we check but an identity we live, and that there is no room in our programs and the professions we serve for passive anti-racism. The work that we do in the College and the professions that we develop students for has direct impact on relieving the oppression of minoritized groups (especially the working class, immigrants, people of color, LGBTQ communities, and women)—and together we can create better outcomes for all of our students, faculty, staff, and communities where we live and work.

Our goal is not only to prepare you for a successful career after graduation, but to have an impact on your career and your communities after each class. We provide you with relevant knowledge and abilities, and provide employers with appropriately trained and motivated individuals. We have an extensive employer network that values the type of education you receive here in the College. Our strategic location in the suburbs of Chicago (within 10 miles of downtown) allows us to leverage our close connections with the surrounding communities to expose our students to experiential education and to career development opportunities.

The College of Applied Social Sciences is committed to anti-racism and that includes supporting research and conversations that disrupt structures in higher education that normalize and facilitate oppression, that enable and activate equity-minded practice, and that helps us all develop in our critical consciousness around social justice.

If you’ve gotten this far, I encourage you to explore the website further and learn more about our specific programs. Also, continuing your education is all about finding a good fit, so I would suggest planning a visit to campus (or a virtual visit!) for one our information sessions or an individual visit. I think you’ll find that Dominican University is a special place and that the College of Applied Social Sciences is uniquely suited to support your efforts to obtain and/or advance a career that directly impacts individuals and communities. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me directly if I can answer any questions or help talk through your ideas and concerns about pursuing a degree.


Jake Bucher, PhD
Founding Dean, College of Applied Social Sciences
Dominican University