Marilyn Flynn

Contact Information
University Park
City Center
Department of Study 
Community, Organization, and Business Innovation
Research Interest 
Diversity/Cross Cultural
2U Endowed Chair in Educational Innovation and Social Work
PhD, University of Illinois at Urbana
MSW, University of Illinois at Urbana
BA, Roosevelt University

MARILYN L. FLYNN is a transformational leader whose career has spanned appointments in higher education; consulting on strategic planning for county governments and nonprofit organizations; practice in mental health and school social work; and membership on numerous boards at the local, national and international levels.

She was appointed dean of social work at the University of Southern California in 1997, only the second woman to hold this position in the school’s nearly 100-year history.

Flynn created the first military social work specialization in a major civilian research university, introduced ground-breaking changes in field education for the more than 3,000 students now enrolled at USC and started the first career services program for social workers focused on non-traditional occupational settings. She also greatly expanded the Hamovitch Center for Science in the Human Services and established the nationally respected Flynn Prize for Social Work Research. In 2012, she received the International Sarnat Award for Public Advancement of Social Work, an award conferred by the National Association of Social Workers in Washington, D.C. In 2013, she was the inaugural recipient of the USC Provost’s Prize for Educational Innovation. Flynn also received from President Obama the National Award for Community and Volunteer Service.

She helped found the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare, where she is currently serving on the Grand Challenges Executive Planning Committee, and was the first president of the St. Louis Group, representing most U.S. schools of social work in major research institutions. Flynn is also faculty member of the New York Academy of Medicine Leadership Training Program and organizer of the Islandwood Roundtables, designed to advance science in the social work profession, doctoral education and the professoriate.

As president of the board of directors for the national Network for Social Work Management over the past five years, she organized, funded and implemented the 2008 Institute on Management Training, and expanded regional membership of the organization to include new chapters in San Diego, Los Angeles and New Jersey. Flynn is also recent past president of the board for the Los Angeles Center for Nonprofit Management and past president of the board for the Fisher Art Museum in Los Angeles.

Flynn received her MSW and PhD from the University of Illinois at Urbana, with specializations in social work, social policy and public finance.

Awards and Distinction
Community Angel Award, Drew Child Development Corporation (2014)
Blue Ribbon Commission on Child Protection, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors (2013)
President’s Volunteer Service Award, Corporation for National and Community Service (2013)
Provost’s Prize for Innovation in Educational Practice, University of Southern California (2013)
International Rhoda G. Sarnat Award, National Association of Social Workers Foundation (2012)
More awards