Justin Bucchio

Justin Bucchio.

Feb. 11, 2021 – Fairleigh Dickinson University’s School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences is launching a brand new, fully online, Master of Social Work (MSW) program beginning in the fall of 2021. Justin Bucchio, Ph.D., MSSW, has been appointed as founding director.

Bucchio comes to FDU from Middle Tennessee State University, where he worked as an assistant professor and the director of a three-school MSW collaborative program. Prior to academia, he worked in the fields of child welfare, medical social work, mental health, addiction, developmental disabilities, at a private practice as a behavior therapist and in psychiatric social work.

Here’s five things to know about Bucchio:

He was a foster youth in Massachusetts.

“My history with the field of social work started at a young age, as a foster youth in Massachusetts,” says Bucchio. “My experiences with social workers, while in care, provided insight into the career path I wanted to pursue. I always admired the abilities of the social workers I worked with and they demonstrated a skill set I wanted to possess to help others.”

He grew up with a Laotian family.

 “I spent a significant portion of my life living with a Laotian family and have learned much about the culture, including the language and food,” he says. 

He met his Laotian family when he was a young adolescent living in Lowell, MA. “They took me in as their own.”

When Bucchio was 20 years old, his Laotian family decided to move to Nashville, TN, and he decided to go along.

“I made the quick decision to make the move and it changed my life. It was in Tennessee I discovered my love for college and completed all of my studies. My Laotian family really changed the trajectory of my life, and I am extremely lucky to have them,” says Bucchio.

He’s creating the MSW program from scratch.

“The program’s design and curriculum are being developed from scratch, however, I based much of the framework on my previous experiences,” Bucchio says.

His primary goals relate to the successful launch of an online MSW program that is capable of providing the knowledge and skill set necessary for future practitioners to work in various roles and settings.

“Preparing students to work as competent advanced generalists excites me, and being able to contribute to the future of the profession remains my main target.”

Bucchio noted that having the MSW program housed in the School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences affords the unique opportunity to collaborate with various professions, focused on delivering quality and innovative health care. “Being able to advance the direction of newer approaches to the delivery of social work interventions, that include interdisciplinary approaches, remains a major focal point of this program,” he says.

The program will enroll its first class of students during the fall 2021 semester! 

He felt connected to FDU from day one. 

“Once I met the Dean and [directors] in the School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and they shared their vision for the school, I was hooked and wanted to be part of this amazing interdisciplinary approach to educating future health professionals,” he says.

“I also fell in love with the Florham Campus as soon as I stepped onto its grounds. I really felt a strong connection to FDU from even the beginning.”


Bucchio owns a miniature Schnauzer puppy named Zen.

He’s the owner of a puppy and seeks adventure! 

“I have a puppy named Zen. He is 4 months old and is a miniature Schnauzer. He is very smart, inquisitive and has been an incredible companion during the pandemic.”

Bucchio also enjoys hiking, reading and exploring new cultures and cuisines. Outside of the office, you can typically find him hanging out with friends and family and seeking out new adventures.