When Grover “Cleve” Gilmore retires June 30 as dean of the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences after nearly two decades in the role, another longtime Mandel School leader will helm the school on an interim basis.

Sharon E. Milligan, associate dean for academic affairs and student services, associate professor of social work, and chair of the Master of Social Work (MSW) program, will serve as interim dean as of July 1. 

“Dr. Milligan possesses a wealth of experience and knowledge, and I am confident that her expertise and years of service to the Mandel School will serve us well during this important time of transition,” Provost Ben Vinson said. “I am very much looking forward to working with her to maintain and build upon the momentum that the school has already achieved.”

A member of Case Western Reserve University’s faculty since 1982, Milligan led the school through curriculum and degree name changes and spearheaded the online social work master’s degree. She has served as associate dean for academic affairs and student services for 14 years.

“We are very fortunate to have such a well-prepared person serve as interim dean,” Gilmore said. “Sharon’s commitment to our students is unsurpassed—her experience as a teacher, scholar and most importantly, as a social worker, inform all of her decisions. The school is in very good hands.” 

Milligan teaches graduate courses in community development, social welfare policy and research methodology. Her research interests include urban poverty, the evaluation of neighborhood change initiatives, and systems change research. She also has directed several funded research projects focusing on health and minorities, including a study that uncovers technology for evaluating conditions and assets in low-income communities. 

Milligan began her career as a social service coordinator for the Chicago Housing Authority’s Child Development Program. Ever since she has been continuously involved in the social work, community development and public health fields. Among her roles have been a program developer, researcher, teacher and consultant to government and nonprofit agencies for women, children and the elderly. 

“I am looking forward to bridging the leadership of the Mandel School as we search for a new dean,” Milligan said.

Last summer, she was reappointed to the Council of Social Work Education’s Katherine A. Kendall Institute for International Social Work Education. She also serves as a representative of the International Association of Schools of Social Work, a non-governmental organization of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs’ Committee on Ageing.

Milligan received her PhD and MPH from the University of Pittsburgh, her MSW from the University of Illinois at Chicago, her MS in Community Development from the University of Louisville, and her BA from Spelman College.

Milligan is president of the Friends of African American Art, an affiliate group at the Cleveland Museum of Art that is committed to building awareness of art and artists of the African diaspora. She is also a member of the McGregor Foundation’s board of directors, an organization based in East Cleveland that supports successful aging and provides healthcare and living options to older adults at multiple locations across Cuyahoga County.