The Crimson White Print Edition - September 21, 2023

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4B<br />

culture<br />

UA welcomes new faculty members to the School of Social Work<br />

Anna Hill<br />

Leah Peacock<br />

Contributing Writer<br />

<strong>The</strong> University of Alabama’s<br />

School of Social Work<br />

welcomed 12 new faculty<br />

members this fall. <strong>The</strong> new<br />

members of the School of<br />

Social Work include assistant<br />

professors, instructors and<br />

associate professors from<br />

various research fields and<br />

areas of expertise.<br />

<strong>The</strong> School of Social Work,<br />

established in 1965, is located<br />

in Little Hall and offers four<br />

degree programs in social<br />

work.<br />

<strong>The</strong> School of Social Work<br />

aims to “lead the country in<br />

community-engaged research<br />

in health, behavioral health,<br />

and social and economic<br />

justice solutions for Alabama<br />

and the nation,” according to<br />

its website.<br />

With new faculty, the<br />

School of Social Work strives<br />

to maintain its mission<br />

of “ending adverse social<br />

conditions and promoting<br />

societal well-being through<br />

teaching, research and<br />

service.”<br />

“I came to UA because<br />

of the School of Social<br />

Work’s mission and vision<br />

to be active participants<br />

in interdisciplinary and<br />

community-engaged research<br />

and practice,” Lindamarie<br />

Olson, an assistant professor<br />

in the School of Social Work,<br />

said.<br />

Olson specializes in<br />

exploring how childhood and<br />

trauma change the brain,<br />

specifically with justiceinvolved<br />

adolescents or<br />

those in the child welfare<br />

system. Olson explained<br />

the importance of finding a<br />

school that looks at the public<br />

impact its work has, and how<br />

the University fits the criteria.<br />

“UA has the resources,<br />

community partners and<br />

infrastructure to make this<br />

vision a reality,” Olson said. “I<br />

am excited to join a diverse<br />

group of scholars, researchers<br />

and practitioners leading the<br />

charge for change to happen!”<br />

<strong>The</strong> School of Social Work’s<br />

focus on community research<br />

and impact has not gone<br />

unnoticed. Hyunjune Lee, a<br />

new assistant professor in<br />

the School of Social Work,<br />

shared how the University’s<br />

community-engaged research<br />

caught his eye during the job<br />

search process.<br />

“I learned that UA,<br />

especially the School of Social<br />

Work, has strong ties with<br />

the local communities here,<br />

which I very highly value,”<br />

Lee said. “I thought that this<br />

would be a place where I<br />

could learn and grow in terms<br />

of conducting research that<br />

could actually benefit the<br />

communities and people<br />

we serve.”<br />

Lee’s area of expertise<br />

includes the behavioral health<br />

of children and adolescents,<br />

and he looks forward to<br />

building his research agenda<br />

over the next couple of years<br />

at the University. Ultimately,<br />

Lee’s goals for the school<br />

year include settling into<br />

Tuscaloosa and learning more<br />

about the school, his students<br />

and his fellow staff.<br />

Dalila John, a clinical<br />

assistant professor, was also<br />

welcomed into the School<br />

of Social Work this fall,<br />

bringing with her a wealth<br />

of knowledge and a tangible<br />

passion for her profession.<br />

Little Hall is the main building for the School of Social Work. CW / Natalie Teat<br />

John was interested in<br />

coming to the University to<br />

advance her career because of<br />

the opportunity to join such<br />

an established university<br />

with a multitude of resources,<br />

services and support, as well<br />

as the opportunity to conduct<br />

research.<br />

At the University, John<br />

has taken advantage of the<br />

opportunities to engage in<br />

research by examining the<br />

retention and recruitment of<br />

racially diverse faculty.<br />

“For me, I like that the<br />

social work profession is<br />

diverse,” said John. “It’s a field<br />

in which you can pretty much<br />

work just about anywhere,<br />

and so it allows students<br />

to really explore various<br />

different areas.”<br />

Currently she teaches<br />

one class, SW 500, Social<br />

Welfare Policy. <strong>The</strong> course is<br />

designed to help students<br />

understand the importance<br />

of policy, policy development,<br />

policy implementation and<br />

policy analysis to ensure its<br />

intended purpose is fulfilled.<br />

“I entered this field because<br />

I was really into recognizing<br />

the issues related to equity<br />

and justice,” John said. “So,<br />

with this particular Social<br />

Welfare Policy course, we can<br />

look at some of the challenges<br />

we face in this world and how<br />

it’s connected to policy, so we<br />

can think about things from a<br />

much larger scale.”<br />

Apart from her academic<br />

responsibilities, John also<br />

helps to better students and<br />

their chances of success<br />

after graduation with the<br />

organizations she is involved<br />

in. She serves as the advisor<br />

of the Graduate Social Welfare<br />

Organization, a student group<br />

within the School of Social<br />

Work for graduate students,<br />

and the co-adviser for Phi<br />

Alpha, an honor society for<br />

students in the social work<br />

program.<br />

John shared that the<br />

thing she was most excited<br />

about this year was building<br />

connections with students,<br />

faculty and staff, and getting<br />

to know the University better.<br />

Transitioning into a new<br />

area can be challenging,<br />

and learning to navigate<br />

a workplace can be<br />

intimidating. New members<br />

of the School of Social Work<br />

highlight the welcoming<br />

environment and reassuring<br />

energy they have received<br />

since arriving at the<br />

University.<br />

“I am feeling good about<br />

the institutional and personal<br />

support that I have,” said Lee.<br />

“I feel good about the work<br />

culture.”<br />

Similarly, Olson expressed<br />

her gratitude to her<br />

colleagues as she navigates a<br />

new school and city.<br />

“<strong>The</strong> warm welcome<br />

and southern hospitality I<br />

have received has made the<br />

transition to Alabama so<br />

much easier than expected,”<br />

she said.

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