Asst. Professor Named New Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Thursday, Sep 02, 2021

By Valerie Fields Hill 

School of Social Work


 Assistant professor Dr. Jandel Crutchfield  
Assistant professor Dr. Jandel Crutchfield
Photo courtesy of Dr. Jandel Crutchfield


In direct response to the results of a strategic planning initiative within the UTA School of Social Work, Dean Scott Ryan has named Dr. Jandel Crutchfield as the school’s first Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI).


During the Spring of the 2020-2021 academic year the School of Social Work faculty and staff engaged in focus group discussions to inform their new strategic plan. One of the deliverables called for an individual to lead DEI efforts within the school, which will be Dr. Crutchfield’s role with this appointment.


Dr. Crutchfield is an assistant professor in the School of Social Work where her research, teaching, and service primarily focuses on issues of racial justice in sectors including education, health, and economics. 


Crutchfield also explores the impacts of intersectionality in the pursuit of social justice for marginalized populations. She has received federal funding to build trainings for workforce development on equity and facilitates trainings on cultural competence within the local community in addition to sharing her expertise with local DFW media. 


She teaches Social Work in Schools and Diverse Populations courses, in addition to leading students in their own thesis and dissertation research.


At UTA, Dr. Crutchfield currently serves on the university’s diversity, equity, and inclusion committee and recently joined the Diversity Certificate Advisory Committee to build a certificate program in diversity that will be offered to faculty and staff. 


Dr. Crutchfield serves as part of the national steering committee for the 13th Grand Challenge for Social Work eliminating racism, where she co-chairs the webinar committee in its delivery of webinars covering the impacts of racism on the other 12 Grand Challenges for Social Work. 


In her new role, Dr. Crutchfield will promote inclusive excellence within the school, while also looking outward to supporting campus progress toward DEI goals, all while facilitating community partnerships beyond campus boundaries that also uplift DEI work. 


“I am thankful for the input from the strategic planning process last spring. I believe there are actionable steps that will move the school toward a higher level of inclusivity. I also think part of my role is to bring attention to the good work being done by faculty and staff that highlight our efforts to support DEI in three main buckets: inward, outward, and beyond the school,” said Crutchfield of how she views the role.


She will report to Social Work Senior Associate Dean Debra Woody.


Dr. Woody said the position is important and comes at a critical time.


“Institutions across the country are looking to build stronger learning environments where students from a variety of diverse backgrounds are able to come together thrive, learn, grow and become empathetic leaders and advocates” Dr. Woody said.


“We believe the best learning environments are those in which students gain knowledge from their peers who offer different lived experiences and varied perspectives,” she said.


“Dr. Crutchfield can help to facilitate this type of learning and peer environment.”


Dr. Crutchfield’s appointment comes on the heels of universities and Social Work programs across the nation revamping their efforts to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion within their own programs and in their service to the community.  


Indeed, the accrediting body of all social work higher education programs, the Council on Social Work Education, is hosting its national meeting this fall under the theme, “Leading Critical Conversations: Racial, Economic, and Environmental Justice.”


“The School of Social Work has been a leader in this area for many years within UTA, our community and the larger profession. The appointment of Dr. Crutchfield will allow us to continue and extend these efforts. We are delighted that this new role has become a realization, pushing us to the forefront of social work programs responding to these important issues,” said Dr. Ryan


Dr. Crutchfield begaher new position Sept. 1.