David Springer

David Springer headshot


RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service

University Distinguished Teaching Professor

Education Research Areas Teaching Areas
Ph.D., Florida State University Philanthropic, Nonprofit, and Community Leadership Policy Management and Leadership (including nonprofits)
MSW., Florida State University Mental Health Policy, Philanthropy, and Practice Policy Development   
B.A., Florida State University Criminal and Juvenile Justice   


David W. Springer, Ph.D., LCSW, is the director of the RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service and a university distinguished teaching professor in the LBJ School, with faculty affiliations in social work and psychology.

He began his career as a clinical social worker, providing mental health services to youth and families. He completed his Ph.D. in social work from Florida State University and joined the faculty at UT Austin in 1997. Springer has served in numerous leadership roles at UT Austin, including: interim dean of the LBJ School of Public Affairs (2021), and associate dean for academic affairs and graduate advisor of the Steve Hicks School of Social Work (2001- 2011) where he was also co-founder and director of the Inter-American Institute for Youth Justice. He currently serves as the faculty mentor for LBJ School students interested in nonprofit management, philanthropy, and community engagement.

Springer and the RGK Center team prepare the next generation of nonprofit and philanthropic leaders to achieve their desired social impact in building a diverse and vibrant global civil society. Bridging public policy, community building, and direct practice, Springer’s research and teaching coalesce around collaborative leadership to promote mental well-being and resilient communities. In addition to his graduate seminars at the LBJ School, he teaches a freshman signature course, Designing a Happy and Meaningful Life, where students examine more deeply how to live with intention and purpose. Springer has received a number of university-wide teaching awards, including the Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award, Outstanding Graduate Advisor Award, and selection into the Academy of Distinguished Teachers.

Springer has been recognized for his leadership in the field and impact on society: Fellow of the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare; Fellow of the Society for Social Work and Research; Nonprofit Times Power & Influence Top 50, a national list of the top working executives in the nonprofit sector; Social Worker of the Year, National Association of Social Workers (NASW), Texas Chapter/Austin, for his work on juvenile justice system reform; among the 100 most influential social work journal authors by the British Journal of Social Work; and distinguished alumni in social policy and administration by the Florida State University, College of Social Work.




Contact Information

Office Number:
SRH 3.328 (3rd floor)

LBJ School of Public Affairs
2315 Red River Street
Austin, Texas 78712-1536