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Have You Met Rutgers-Newark?

Chair of the Department of Social Work and a community activist with a passion for helping students

For Dr. Phylis Peterman, giving back to students and to the community is academic.

A highly respected teacher and mentor, Peterman was awarded Rutgers’ highest honor for innovative teaching and mentoring, the Warren I. Susman Award for Excellence in Teaching, in 2001. In 2009 Peterman received the Rutgers College Class of 1962 Presidential Public Service Award from Rutgers President Richard McCormick. The award honors members of the faculty, student body, or staff for volunteer service to government, professional and scholarly organizations, or the public. Peterman was honored for her service as a member of the New Jersey Board of Social Work Examiners and her leadership of the South Orange Civic Organization, among other contributions.

Peterman's special interests include mentoring relationships and communication skills, multicultural issues and church as a support network. A Newark native, she is a much-sought-after guest speaker at area schools and community organizations.

“I want to give students an idea of what they can achieve if they work hard, stay focused, and seek higher education.” Peterman also challenges them to set high goals for their futures, much as she did as a Newark schoolgirl.

Peterman’s community activism extends to programs that benefit adults as well. Over the years she has been active as a trustee of the South Orange-Maplewood Community Coalition on Race, the Dubois Scholars Program and the South Orange-Maplewood Adult School.

Peterman holds the bachelor's degree from Howard University, a masters in social work from Rutgers University and a doctoral degree in social work from Columbia University.