Meet the Dean

Meet the Dean Justin “Jay” Miller


Justin “Jay” Miller was appointed Dean and Dorothy A. Miller Research Professor in Social Work Education in July 2019. At the time of his appointment, Dean Miller was the youngest dean in the country. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Western Kentucky University, Master of Social Work from Spalding University, and PhD from the University of Louisville.

Dean Miller is dedicated to a host of social issues and community outreach, a passion which he brings to his work as an educator and scholar. His research and academic interests focus on child welfare and youth involvement in juvenile systems. His work has shaped practice with foster youth and has informed a myriad of policies and practices related to participatory engagement with youth and families. Dean Miller has practiced in a variety of different contexts at local, state, and federal levels.

In addition to child welfare, Dean Miller is actively leading research related to self-care and wellness. In 2017, he founded The Self-Care Lab (SCL). SCL is the first known lab specifically dedicated to empirically investigating self-care among helping professionals. Dean Miller has conducted groundbreaking research on broad ranging self-care and wellness research with social workers, educators, nurses, law enforcement, teachers, and attorneys, among others. Through this work, Dean Miller demonstrates his commitment to address potentially toxic employment conditions.

Dean Miller is actively involved in a variety of community service endeavors and has served as the co-founder/past president of the Louisville Association of Social Workers, founder of the Jefferson County Foster Care Peer Support Program and the Kentucky Chapter of the Foster Care Alumni of America. Dean Miller has also led Kentucky’s Children Justice Act Taskforce, Citizen’s Review Panel, and Juvenile Justice Advisory Board. In 2016, Dean Miller was appointed to the Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice by OJJDP Administrator Robert Listenbee. This committee was tasked with reviewing mandates associated with juvenile justice and making systems improvement recommendations to the United States Congress and President. Currently, Dean Miller serves as the Chairperson for the Kentucky Board of Social Work, a post to which he was appointed by Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear, and President of the Board at St. Joseph’s Children Orphanage.

The impact of Dean Miller’s work has been recognized regionally, nationally, and internationally. Dean Miller is a past recipient of the Paul Grannis Award, Kentucky’s highest public child welfare practitioner honor. In addition, he has received the Sunny Andrews Award for Outstanding Commitment to Regulatory Board Service from the Association of Social Work Boards, the Supporting the Workforce Award from the Children’s Bureau, and is a 2014 inductee into the College of Health and Human Services Hall of Fame at Western Kentucky University, among other awards and recognitions.

Dean Miller has authored numerous juried papers, reports, and briefs. Notably, Dean Miller co-authored Activating a Teaching-Learning Philosophy: A Practical Guide for Educators (CSWE Press) and co-edited The A-to-Z Self-Care Handbook for Social Workers and Other Helping Professionals (White Hat).

Last, but certainly not least, Dean Miller is a loud, proud foster and kinship alum!

You can follow Dean Miller’s work via Twitter @DrJayMiller1. If you would like to meet with Dean Miller, please feel free to contact Xana Plum, Executive Assistant.