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Three SSW professors retiring with long service to community, UTA

Philip Popple, Professor; Jan Finch, Associate Professor in Practice; Peter Lehmann, Professor Photo by Ruben Espiricueta
Philip Popple, Professor; Jan Finch, Associate Professor in Practice; Peter Lehmann, Professor Photo by Ruben Espiricueta


Three School of Social Work professors will retire this year.

Philip Popple, Jan Finch and Peter Lehmann served a combined total of more than 100 years as educators.

Dr. Popple directed the BSW program from 2006 to 2015 and has been a professor for more than four decades. He will retire at the end of the spring semester, colleagues said.

Among many accomplishments, Dr. Popple led the search committee for the new School of Social Work dean in 2009. Popple was interim dean at the time. His search committee eventually recommended Scott Ryan, who continues to serve today as dean of the School.

Since 2013, Dr. Popple has reviewed the work of peer scholars from around the world as a member of the Editorial Board for the Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare.  The journal is published quarterly and offers articles on topics ranging from gender, race, homelessness, cultural diversity, health and mental health.

He has served on numerous School of Social Work and university committees, including Academic Standards and Undergraduate Curriculum committees, for which he was elected by peers to serve.

Dr. Popple is co-author of the popular Social Work, Social Welfare and American Society, a text used in introductory social work classes. It is in its eighth printing and continues to receive positive reviews from students who purchase the text from online merchants for their classes.

Janet Finch will also retire at the end of the spring semester, she says. Finch has been a Social Worker for more than 45 years and has taught at UTA for two decades.

In 2017, Dr. Finch became the School of Social Work’s first professor in practice to be promoted from assistant to associate professor in practice. Social Work professors in practice have a higher teaching course load per semester, teach and engage in clinical practice, and conduct significant community organization engagement and service.

Dr. Finch is co-chair of the United Way’s Health and Advisory Committee. She has been active with the organization since 2013, providing leadership in grant development and review and oversight of United Way programs.

Dr. Finch also serves on a county-wide board that reviews and makes recommendations on HIV grants. She was named to the position in 2013 by Glen Whitley, Tarrant County’s chief elected officer.

Dr. Finch joined the School of Social Work initially as an adjunct professor in 1999 and in 2011 was selected to become a full-time faculty member. Most recently, she taught “Treating Parent-Child Relationships” and “Foundations of Social Policy.” Though she is retiring, she will continue to teach several online classes in the fall as a part-time professor and adjunct, she has said.

Peter Lehmann, who most recently taught “Direct Practice with Children and Families,” and had been in the School of Social Work for nearly 25 years, retired at the end of the fall 2018 semester.

Dr. Lehmann served as a board member of the Crime Victims Council of Tarrant County.

He also served on numerous School and university committees, including on the University Accreditation Committee. He has been a reviewer for both the Journal of Family Violence and the Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research.

The School of Social Work will welcome nine new faculty members in August (one Associate Professor, five Assistant Professors and three Assistant Professors in Practice).

News Topics: Faculty, General