Audrey Bailey


Transforming Competencies in Anti-Racism, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion: A Relational-Cultural Theory Approach in Social Work Education


In recent years, the imperative issued by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) for engaging in anti-racism, diversity, equity, and inclusion (ADEI) in practice has become increasingly critical, particularly early in social work undergraduate programs. This presentation will provide a summary of the presenter’s capstone project that includes three scholarly products: a systematic literature review, a conceptual paper, and a practice application paper. The products explore the integration of Relational-Cultural Theory (RCT) and Transformative Learning Theory (TLT) as a framework to enhance competencies in ADEI within social work education. The first product of this capstone project, a systematic literature review, was performed to discover the benefits of using a relational approach in teaching and learning environments to increase students’ competencies in ADEI. The second product, a conceptual paper, provides the rationale for using an RCT framework to support TLT. Finally, the third product proposes applying a curricular guide using an RCT approach to transformative learning to enhance cultural humility, mutual engagement and understanding, and mutual empathy and foster collaborative and empowering learning environments while merging theory and practice. By incorporating an RCT-focused curricular guide to advance transformative learning, teachers and students can develop a deeper understanding of the relational and systemic aspects of racism and enhance their competencies in promoting ADEI in their practice.


Audrey Bailey is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker and Supervisor (LICSW-S) in Alabama. Her educational background includes a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of North Alabama and a Master of Social Work from the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa. She is a Doctor of Social Work candidate at the University of Kentucky with a concentration in social work education. Ms. Bailey’s research interests include the application of relational-cultural theory to student growth and development, adult learning, social work licensing, formerly fostered youth in higher education, and reducing barriers to higher education. Her capstone focuses on improving social work competencies in anti-racism, equity, diversity, and inclusion through relational learning, emphasizing self-awareness, mutual empathy, and cultural mindfulness.

Ms. Bailey teaches in the BSW and MSW programs at the University of North Alabama in Florence, Alabama. She also serves as a program manager for Embrace Higher Education. As a social work practitioner and educator focusing on transformative, relational learning, her goal is to instill in students empathy, cultural competence, and the transformative power of authentic human connections. She advocates for students’ educational success, rights, and well-being. She is passionate about encouraging and supporting students as they navigate the challenges that higher education may bring.