Vanessa Drew-Branch recognized for excellence by Society for Social Work and Research

Drew-Branch, an associate professor of human service studies, co-authored an article about Black faculty experiences in higher education selected for recognition in the organization's 2024 Excellence in Research Award

Vanessa Drew-Branch, associate professor of human service studies, was among a group of scholars recently recognized for excellence in research by the Society for Social Work and Research.

Drew-Branch was co-author of “Black Experiences Matter: Reflections of Black Faculty Experiences with Black Administrators,” with Laneshia R. Conner of the University of Kentucky, Yarneccia Dyson of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and V. Nikki Jones, of Middle Tennessee State University. Their article was published in the Journal of Social Work Education in 2022.

The Society for Social Work and Research selected the article for honorable mention among papers submitted for the 2024 Excellence in Research Award. The society typically selects two articles for recognition each year and awards research that “advances knowledge with direct applications to practice, policy, and the resolution of social issues.”

Noting that the experiences of Black faculty with Black administrators is understudied, the team acknowledged historic adversity toward Black faculty in higher education and the need for greater support for Black faculty and those from other underrepresented groups. Study participants reported having more autonomy and positive interactions, more support and more understanding from their administrators.

“More efforts are needed to increase and amplify the positive interactions and behaviors that draw in Black faculty and staff. This is especially important for Black faculty/staff who are under the leadership of administrators who look like them,” they wrote.

They indicated that future research should collect additional data, as well as information from Black administrators and how they view their roles working with Black faculty.

The team will be recognized at the 2024 Society for Social Work and Research Jan. 10-14 in Washington, D.C.