New Faculty – Dr. Adam Brown

Dr. Adam Brown will join the Silberman School of Social Work in Fall 2016 as Assistant Professor. Immediately prior to joining Silberman, Dr. Brown completed his doctoral work at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration (SSA), receiving his Ph.D. in Spring 2016.

Dr. Brown is a scholar and practitioner of clinical social work who has spent his career in many diverse clinical settings working to prevent sexual violence. His research focuses on young men, primarily adolescents from vulnerable communities, who commit sexually violent acts. In particular, he studies the factors that contribute to sexually violent behavior among these young men; the links between this behavior and other violent or nonviolent criminal behaviors; and the role that clinical social work can play in preventing it.

“Understanding is key,” Dr. Brown says. In his research and clinical work, he has consistently sought “to develop profiles and typologies…a nuanced understanding of the types of men who commit these offenses, and therefore get ahead of the behavior.”

Dr. Brown’s dissertation project demonstrated that, while almost all perpetrators share being victims of some form of neglect, young male abusers and their cases differ widely from individual to individual. This heterogeneity contrasts the homogeneity of their treatment, both legal and social, as a singular deviant group.

Before entering academia, Dr. Brown spent many years as a social worker counseling troubled youth and families, which remains his clinical practice area today. In this capacity, particularly working with young sexually violent men, he met children who had been neglected and mistreated profoundly before committing their own abuses. He found that no adequate services were provided to address those backgrounds or intervene in a manner that would change behavior.

“Someone who committed an abuse at 14 or 12 years old,” Dr. Brown explains “was being treated the same way we treat [grown men] with very different profiles.”

For Dr. Brown, teaching students in the classroom and working as a clinician in the field are not just complementary activities; they create one another. He gets “very excited about getting students excited about how research must come from practice and how practice can produce great research.” At Silberman, he will continue to develop his core research agenda, while deepening his and his students’ collaborative engagements in the fields of clinical practice, youth welfare, and anti-violence social justice.

Dr. Brown is very excited to come to Silberman, where he will teach clinical practice. “What excites me most,” he says, “is that it’s a public school that is top ranked for training. It is great to be joining a community so diverse and rich, not just in terms of race but also age, experience, and more. The education is much stronger when the room doesn’t all look the same.”

The Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College is so pleased to welcome Dr. Adam Brown to the faculty.