Professor and proponent of service-learning will retire

Wednesday, Apr 28, 2021

By Valerie Fields Hill 

School of Social Work

Jim Langford
              Jim Langford

Social Work Associate Professor of Practice Jim Langford, who came to UTA after working as a hospital Social Worker and mental health counselor, will retire this summer, he has announced.

Langford, who is a licensed clinical social worker and licensed professional counselor, will leave his position at the end of the summer term. He has taught at UTA since 2012.

Langford is among five professors who will be honored at an end-of-year Social Work faculty and staff gathering on May 4. The five professors will receive plaques, among other recognitions, commemorating their years of service to students, and to the university.

Social Work professors Randy Basham, Maria Scannapieco, Pamela Fox and Catheleen Jordan also are retiring in 2021. All have taught or served as administrators for years within the School of Social Work.

“Jim is passionate about Social Work and educating our future leaders and he will be missed by the students and colleagues,” Dean Scott Ryan said. “He has been instrumental in expanding our Service-Learning program and outreach to community organizations.”

Before coming to UTA, Langford worked as a hospital Social Worker for 11 years at Cook Children’s Medical Center helping young patients and their families cope with kidney transplant diagnoses and end-of-life decisions. He also taught Social Work courses at Tarrant County College.

The years of experience working in various areas of Social Work, he said, “allows me to share my passion for the profession…and my fervent belief that, oftentimes, students need as much encouragement and empowerment as they need information about the field of Social Work.”

At UTA, Langford teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses, including “Introduction to Social Work,” “Social Work Practice” and “Generalist Micro Practice.”

Among his more memorable classroom moments, he said, were those in which students presented “passionately on topics of social justice” and where his lectures “morphed into student dialogues and students catching a glimpse of themselves as helping professionals.”

“I leave as convinced as ever that Social Work education needs to be more than teaching about Social Work,” Langford said. “It is about creating a safe space for nurturing student self-awareness.”

Langford is a faculty advisor to undergraduate student leaders and the Yes Plus student organization. He serves on the Aging Specialty Faculty Committee and previously has served on several other committees, including the Non-tenured Track Faculty Search Committee and the Professional Standards Committee.

Upon retirement, Langford expects to spend more time with his aging parents and his three grandchildren and will occasionally teach a Social Work course, he said.