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GCSW Welcomes New Faculty Members

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Two scholars whose research addresses issues within marginalized communities and highlights a commitment to racial justice

September 4, 2019

(HOUSTON,TX) -- The Graduate College of Social Work (GCSW) welcomes two new faculty members whose work and research reflect the GCSW’s vision of achieving social, racial, economic, and political justice, local to global.

New Assistant Professor Donte Boyd received his PhD in Social Welfare in June 2019 from the University of California, Los Angeles. He earned his MSW from Washington University in St. Louis and his B.A. in Political Science from the University of California, Riverside. Boyd's research utilizes an ecological approach to understand how family and school experiences, and contextual factors interact with one another to shape positive health behaviors and HIV prevention within Black communities.

“I have always wanted to be at a University/College that believes in addressing social and racial justice, locally and nationally among marginalized and oppressed groups,” said Boyd. “I’m excited to expand the knowledge on HIV, Black families, Black adolescents, and other health disparities to students, staff, my faculty colleagues, and to the greater Houston area through a racial justice lens.”

Also joining the GCSW as a new faculty member is Assistant Professor Charles Lea. Dr. Charles Lea received his PhD in 2017 from the University of California, Los Angeles. He earned his MSW from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and a B.A. in sociology from the University of California, Berkeley. Lea’s research investigates how environmental and individual risk and protective factors shape the life trajectories and outcomes of young Black men and boys who are at risk and involved in the juvenile and criminal justice systems. He joins the GCSW from the University of Washington where he served as Assistant Professor of Social Work.

“What attracted me the most to the GCSW was its explicit focus on race. My research centers around Black boys and men, so being able to join a community of researchers who lead with race and address the systemic issues tied to it is priceless,” said Lea. “I’m a first-generation college student, so being able to go into a college space and see people who look like me on faculty and in the student body is very important. I want to give back to my community and to those who may be in situations similar to my own.”

“I hope to raise more awareness for the issues that significantly impact minority groups through research and teaching. Only through this sort of work will we be able to visualize and measure the significance of social justice in our lives.”

Alan Dettlaff, Dean and Maconda Brown O’Connor Endowed Chair, said, “I am thrilled to welcome Dr. Boyd and Dr. Lea to our faculty. At the Graduate College of Social Work, our priority is to amplify issues of race and racial justice. The work of Dr. Boyd and Dr. Lea addresses critical issues that are focused on developing solutions to bring about change. I am excited to be a part of the impact they’re going to make and the change that will result.”