Social work professors to be honored for teaching excellence

Friday, Mar 01, 2024

By Jaelon Jackson
School of Social Work

SSW professors honored for teaching excellence 
From Left to Right: Dr. Sophia Fantus, Professor Karen Magruder,
and Dr. Ling Xu

Three Social Work Professors have been selected as award winners for the spring meeting of the University Faculty and Associates here at the University of Texas at Arlington.

Sophia Fantus, Karen Magruder and Ling Xu from the School of Social Work will receive awards for teaching excellence.

“Karen, Ling and Sophia reflect the rich culture of academic and teaching excellence we try to achieve every day and with each student in the School of Social Work,” Dr. Kirk A. Foster, dean of the School of Social Work said.

Dr. Foster, who began his tenure as dean of the school Feb.1, reflected on how the social work professors honor their commitment to students and the community.

“The fact that we have three professors recognized for their teaching excellence is testament to our collective commitment to our students and the communities they will serve,” Dean Foster said.

Magruder, an assistant professor of practice, will receive the President’s Award for Excellence in Distance Education Teaching. Magruder be recognized for her commitment to improving online education, student success, and innovative teacher training.

“I’m so grateful for this recognition,” Magruder said.

Magruder is a recognized leader in the School of Social Work and across the campus in improving online instruction for students and professors.

Professor Magruder’s teaching interests include advanced micro, direct practice courses in aging, environmental justice, green social work, MSW foundation courses, human behavior theory and social welfare policy.

“This award motivates me to continue striving to humanize distance education, engage our fully online students with meaningful connections, and seek innovative ways to help our scholars learn from anywhere,” Magruder said.

Fantus, an assistant professor, will receive the Piper Professor Award for her research work focusing on the intersection of social work, bioethics and public health.

Dr. Fantus’ teaching interests include courses related to diverse populations, qualitative research methods, death and dying, healthcare ethics and health equity.

Xu, an associate professor, will receive the President's Award for Excellence in Teaching - Tenured.

Dr. Xu is a well-known and award-winning leader in social work aging, gerontology and geriatric health care published research.

Professor Xu’s research and teaching has helped make UTA’s Master of Social Work Aging specialty rank among the best in the country. Xu’s work focuses on social work practice with older adults, intergenerational relations and aging, health and mental health in later life, cross-cultural research, human behavior and the social environment.

The university community is invited to join in the celebration at the spring meeting April 23 at 4 p.m. in the Rio Grande Ballroom of the E. H. Hereford University Center, where the esteemed educators will be recognized for their outstanding achievements in teaching.