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Experienced Leader Chosen to Head UA School of Social Work

Dec. 18, 2020

Dr. Schnavia Smith Hatcher has been selected to lead The University of Alabama’s School of Social Work as dean beginning Aug. 1, 2021.

Hatcher, a Selma native, comes to UA after serving as director of the School of Social Work at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She was selected following a nationwide search for an innovative, future-oriented and facilitative leader with a high scholarly profile.

“Dean Hatcher’s outstanding educational background and experience in social work, her commitment to student success, and her dedication to addressing critical issues in the community make her an ideal leader for UA’s School of Social Work,” said Dr. Jim Dalton, UA executive vice president and provost.

Hatcher holds a doctorate in social work from the University of Kansas, a master of social work from the University of Georgia, and a bachelor of psychology degree from Spelman College.

She has authored numerous publications, reports and presentations and held faculty positions at the University of Kansas, University of the District of Columbia, Prince George’s Community College, Bowie State University, and the University of Georgia. She also served as UGA’s bachelor of social work program director.

Hatcher was the founding director of the Center for African American Studies at the University of Texas at Arlington from 2012 to 2016, where she also worked as an associate professor of social work and criminology and criminal justice. She joined the University of North Carolina at Charlotte as the inaugural director of the School of Social Work, director of the Race and Social Equity Academy, a professor of social work and an honors and graduate faculty member.

“I am honored to join UA because of the stellar faculty, staff and alumni committed to preparing social workers to be social change agents who will promote individual and societal wellbeing,” she said. “The School of Social Work is highly visible for fostering student success and responding to critical challenges facing our most vulnerable in the region, nation and globe. I appreciate its unique history and distinctive strengths, and look forward to continuing the momentum of education, research and service.”

Hatcher will replace Dr. Lesley Reid, who has led the school in an interim role for the past two years and will continue serving until Hatcher arrives on campus.

“I want to thank Dr. Reid for her dedicated and committed leadership,” Dalton said. “She has and will continue to provide steady guidance through the transition, and her hard work is appreciated.”

The UA School of Social Work, established in 1965, is the only one of its kind in the state of Alabama that offers BSW, MSW, DSW and PhD degrees in social work. The school’s master’s program ranks among the country’s top accredited social work graduate programs and the doctorate program is the only one in the state.