Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

UA welcomes new faculty members to the School of Social Work

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

The University of Alabama’s School of Social Work welcomed 12 new faculty members this fall. The new members of the School of Social Work include assistant professors, instructors and associate professors from various research fields and areas of expertise. 

The School of Social Work, established in 1965, is located in Little Hall and offers four degree programs in social work. 

The School of Social Work aims to “lead the country in community-engaged research in health, behavioral health, and social and economic justice solutions for Alabama and the nation,” according to its website 

With new faculty, the School of Social Work strives to maintain its mission of “ending adverse social conditions and promoting societal well-being through teaching, research and service.” 

“I came to UA because of the School of Social Work’s mission and vision to be active participants in interdisciplinary and community-engaged research and practice,” Lindamarie Olson, an assistant professor in the School of Social Work, said.  

Olson specializes in exploring how childhood and trauma change the brain, specifically with justice-involved adolescents or those in the child welfare system. Olson explained the importance of finding a school that looks at the public impact its work has, and how the University fits the criteria. 

“UA has the resources, community partners and infrastructure to make this vision a reality,” Olson said. “I am excited to join a diverse group of scholars, researchers and practitioners leading the charge for change to happen!” 

The School of Social Work’s focus on community research and impact has not gone unnoticed. Hyunjune Lee, a new assistant professor in the School of Social Work, shared how the University’s community-engaged research caught his eye during the job search process.  

“I learned that UA, especially the School of Social Work, has strong ties with the local communities here, which I very highly value,” Lee said. “I thought that this would be a place where I could learn and grow in terms of conducting research that could actually benefit the communities and people we serve.” 

Lee’s area of expertise includes the behavioral health of children and adolescents, and he looks forward to building his research agenda over the next couple of years at the University. Ultimately, Lee’s goals for the school year include settling into Tuscaloosa and learning more about the school, his students and his fellow staff.  

Dalila John, a clinical assistant professor, was also welcomed into the School of Social Work this fall, bringing with her a wealth of knowledge and a tangible passion for her profession.  

John was interested in coming to the University to advance her career because of the opportunity to join such an established university with a multitude of resources, services and support, as well as the opportunity to conduct research.  

At the University, John has taken advantage of the opportunities to engage in research by examining the retention and recruitment of racially diverse faculty.  

“For me, I like that the social work profession is diverse,” said John. “It’s a field in which you can pretty much work just about anywhere, and so it allows students to really explore various different areas.” 

Currently she teaches one class, SW 500, Social Welfare Policy. The course is designed to help students understand the importance of policy, policy development, policy implementation and policy analysis to ensure its intended purpose is fulfilled. 

 “I entered this field because I was really into recognizing the issues related to equity and justice,” John said. “So, with this particular Social Welfare Policy course, we can look at some of the challenges we face in this world and how it’s connected to policy, so we can think about things from a much larger scale.”  

Apart from her academic responsibilities, John also helps to better students and their chances of success after graduation with the organizations she is involved in. She serves as the adviser of the Graduate Social Welfare Organization, a student group within the School of Social Work for graduate students, and the co-adviser for Phi Alpha, an honor society for students in the social work program. 

John shared that the thing she was most excited about this year was building connections with students, faculty and staff, and getting to know the University better. 

Transitioning into a new area can be challenging, and learning to navigate a workplace can be intimidating. New members of the School of Social Work highlight the welcoming environment and reassuring energy they have received since arriving at the University.  

“I am feeling good about the institutional and personal support that I have,” said Lee. “I feel good about the work culture.” 

Similarly, Olson expressed her gratitude to her colleagues as she navigates a new school and city.  

“The warm welcome and Southern hospitality I have received has made the transition to Alabama so much easier than expected,” she said. 

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