Research & Biography

Neil Guterman is the Dean, Mose & Sylvia Firestone Professor, and director of the Beatrice Cummings Mayer Program in Violence Prevention at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration. He joined the University of Chicago faculty as professor in 2006 and was appointed dean at SSA in 2010.

Professor Guterman is internationally recognized for his research and scholarly work on issues related to child abuse and violence prevention. Preventing child maltreatment before it occurs and advancing violence prevention strategies form a special focus of Professor Guterman’s research.

He has written more than 50 articles, is the author of Stopping Child Maltreatment Before It Starts: Emerging Horizons in Early Home Visitation Services (Sage, 2001), and is co-editing a second book on child abuse prevention that is expected to become the reference work for the field. Professor Guterman also has served as consulting editor to leading professional journals including Child Abuse and Neglect, Social Work, and the American Journal of Public Health. He currently is a member of the editorial board of Child Maltreatment. Such media outlets as the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, and Time magazine have cited Professor Guterman’s research and expert perspectives.

His research studies on child abuse prevention have been funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institutes of Health, the Children’s Bureau in the Department of Health & Human Services, and a number of private foundations, including the McCormick Foundation, the Pritzker Early Childhood Foundation, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, the Pew Charitable Trusts, and the Oscar G. & Elsa S. Mayer Family Foundation.

Professor Guterman’s “second generation” research on home visitation services is testing ways to improve on the mixed outcomes reported in earlier studies on such services. For example, he has been studying how building social networks for parents might help them better manage the challenges of parenting. In addition, Professor Guterman has been examining the role of fathers in child maltreatment, and he is currently conducting a multi-site clustered randomized trial in Chicago that widens the predominant focus of early home visitation services from the mother-child relationship to a more inclusive focus on both mothers and fathers.

As director of the Beatrice Cummings Mayer Violence Prevention Program at SSA, Professor Guterman established the nation’s first violence prevention training program in a school of social work. This program prepares students to think and act strategically and proactively, and implement evidence-based strategies that are effective, practical, and results-oriented. SSA graduates from the first cohorts have assumed leadership positions in violence prevention settings around the U.S., including home- and center-based early prevention services, school-based youth and domestic violence prevention programs, and advocacy and community-based organizations.

Professor Guterman is a sought after speaker at state and local governmental bodies, foundations, human service organizations, and legal firms. In addition, he has served as an expert consultant to the U.S. Attorney General’s Office, the U.S. Surgeon General's Office, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the International Society for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect, Prevent Child Abuse America, Children’s Trust Funds, the National Conference of State Legislatures, as well as state public defender's offices regarding issues related to violence and victimization of children.

Before joining the faculty at the University of Chicago, Professor Guterman served on the faculty of the Columbia University School of Social Work from 1993-2006, where he was Associate Professor and Chair of the Doctoral Program. Prior to this, he was a Lady Davis Postdoctoral Fellow at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He has provided direct clinical social work services to children and families in a wide variety of family and child service settings in Michigan, California, Israel, and New York City.

His leadership positions at the University of Chicago include appointments on the university’s Civic Engagement Steering Committee and Beijing Center Governing Committee, and the Chapin Hall Board of Directors. He also serves on the advisory board of the Human Research Center on Nonprofits in China at Rutgers University School of Social Work. In addition, Professor Guterman serves on the Board of Directors of BPI (Business and Professional People for the Public Interest).

Professor Guterman holds a Ph.D. in Social Work and Psychology from the University of Michigan, an M.S.W. in clinical practice with families and children from the University of Michigan, and a B.A. in psychology with highest honors from the University of California, Santa Cruz.