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Laura Nissen, PhD

Laura Nissen, PhD

Dean and Professor Laura Burney Nissen has been a member of the PSU/School of Social Work community since 2000.   She began her tenure at PSU in a leadership role with the national Robert Wood Johnson Foundation initiative Reclaiming Futures which has successfully introduced recovery-oriented and youth-specific systems of care to youth with SUD in the juvenile justice system.

Laura has a long-term commitment to innovative systems change and credits the use of a futures lens with the extended and continuous success of the Reclaiming Futures initiative and its ability to energize and provide architecture to a complex and interdisciplinary juvenile justice reform effort that has continued a decade beyond its original “demonstration” phase.

She has brought futures thinking into the School of Social Work in the form of the school’s first strategic plan in its 55-year history.  She recently completed her training as a foresight practitioner with the Institute for the Future and has spoken on futures thinking in social work and social change at the National Association of Deans and Directors of Schools of Social Work and other venues locally and nationally.    

Laura remains active in the addictions policy arena as a member of the Oregon Governor’s Alcohol and Drug Policy Commission and is actively engaged in research on the intersection of the arts and social change.  She is also a calligrapher/bookbinder and a lover of waterfalls.

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