WASHINGTON, D.C. – For 85 years, University of Kentucky College of Social Work (CoSW) faculty have conducted cutting-edge research aimed at addressing society’s most challenging social conditions. The impact of that research was on full display at the 2024 Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR) Annual Conference from January 10-14.
The SSWR Annual Conference reflects a broad range of research interests involving over 500 symposia, workshops, roundtable, and paper and poster presentations. This year, CoSW faculty presented over 20 juried presentations, covering an array of topics including health disparities, trauma and family adversities, school bullying, child wellbeing, and the toll of economic stress among single mothers of young children.
“Research is relationships. In addition to sharing my work with social work scholars, educators, and students, I get to learn about the work that others are doing in my research area,” Dr. Sheila Barnhart, associate professor, shared. “Additionally, I get to learn about novel or lesser-known methods for investigating problems and it helps me generate new questions and ideas, which strengthen my work.”
As part of the Forward, Together Strategic Framework, CoSW has made substantive investments in supporting research efforts consistent with UK’s Research Priorities Initiative. By piloting these initiatives, the CoSW has made significant strides in supporting the submission of extramural proposals, extending professional development opportunities, and judiciously allocating resources, all key elements of this endeavor.
And it appears this is paying off.
Among CoSW attendees was faculty member Dr. Laneshia R. Conner, who was awarded and recognized for her exceptional research achievements during the gathering. Her research, “Black Experiences Matter: Reflections on Black Faculty Interactions with Black Administrators,” was featured in the Journal of Social Work Education in 2022.
“I hope that our work inspires the academy broadly, and social work education,” Conner said. “I envision this work making long-term impacts on the recruitment, retention, and advancement of Black social work professionals in the academy at all levels.”
From 2018 to 2023, CoSW’s extramural research funding has grown over 350%. From 2018 to 2022, proposal submissions increased nearly 200%. Faculty scholarship and dissemination activities – such as presentations at SSWR – have also continued to grow.
You can learn more about SSWR, and see a full list of CoSW presenters, by visiting the SSWR Conference website here.