Dialogue, Deep Dives and Dogs: Brown School Dean Reflects on First 100 Days

Community Engagement; Faculty

As of Thursday, Nov. 9, Dean Dorian Traube celebrates her 100th day as part of the Brown School community. Her initial 100 days have been dedicated to listening, learning and establishing priorities. Since her official start on August 1, Dean Traube has engaged with faculty, staff, students, and community partners to examine and understand the organizational landscape. Additionally, she’s had the pleasure of spending time with the WashU Police Comfort Dogs Brookie and Bear.

Here, Dean Traube reflects on her journey thus far and shares her insights into the road ahead:

What has life been since you assumed the role of dean on August 1st?
BUSY. But also fun! I have met so many people, learned so much about St. Louis, WashU, and the Brown School. I never have a dull moment because I know I will face a new challenge and a new opportunity everyday.

What drew you to the Brown School and this position?
The excellence of the Brown School students, faculty, and staff. This is a school of people willing to take on major societal challenges and they have the bold belief that they will solve these issues. They make me believe anything is possible on this team.

What do you see as the most significant opportunities for the Brown School in the coming years?
We have amazing opportunities to advance equity and impact in social work, social policy, and public health. The world has changed since COVID and we have the unique opportunity to continue to lead the field to respond to the most pressing needs impacting our communities.

What has been the most surprising aspect of your experience at the Brown School?
Meeting Bear and Brookie, the Wash U Police Department mascots. They are doing some amazing community organizing and emotional support. I never expected two puppies to have such a fan base.

From your perspective, what are the significant challenges confronting the Brown school? What keeps you up at night?
I worry about our students. I want to make sure they feel supported and able to do the important work facing society… and I want them to be paid a fair wage for doing this very important work. 

If you weren’t in academics, what type of career would you pursue?
I would be a kindergarten teacher. I love early childhood and early childhood education. The smallest learning opportunities are magical. 

Tell us about any unique items on your desk or in your office space.
I have a framed note that my best friend sent me when I was announced as the Dean of the Brown School. It says, “You rock and you deserve this!” I also have a small sign that says “@#$%^&*&” just because I think it is funny.

What things have you come to quickly love about St. Louis (food? places)?
I love Corner 17 and it is also my kids’ favorite restaurant. I think Forest Park is magical. I have not experienced a true autumn in 17 years so I am very excited about it.

What are three things people should know about you?
I am proud to be a social worker, supporting children and families is a deep passion of mine, and I believe kindness is one of the most important human qualities.

What’s your favorite way to de-stress after a taxing day?
Spending time with my children or taking a walk in Forest Park.