James Madison University

Two Social Work Professors Honored at Annual Meeting

By: Lori News ‘15
Posted: February 6, 2015

Every year the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) holds a meeting for social work educators and students. During the annual meeting, the Women’s Council hosts a networking breakfast to honor members for mentoring a colleague in the social work field. This October, two of the 39 honored were JMU professors Dr. B.J. Bryson and Dr. Lisa McGuire.

PHOTO: McGuire and Bryson

Bryson was nominated by her mentee, Dr. Victoria Anyikwa, an associate professor from the School of Education and Social Services at Saint Leo University. Before coming to JMU, Bryson taught Anyikwa at Barry University in Miami Shores.

Bryson was asked by Anyikwa to serve on her dissertation committee because of Bryson’s extensive knowledge of intimate partner violence. Anyikwa’s dissertation focused on intimate partner violence and the relationship to communities of color and diversity. Bryson explained that they had a lot of “conversations about how some people take things for granted in majority cultures and how to capture that (things taken for granted) in her research.”

In her mentor nomination, Anyikwa described Bryson as a “tireless feminist scholar, always engaging in ways to push the envelope in lifting women’s voices, with a particular focus on the intersections of race and gender. Whether it’s in the classroom or out, her message is the same: women’s voices must be heard.”

After the completion of her dissertation, Anyikwa graduated and began working as a social work professor, but still relied on Bryson for help with the next steps in her career.

“I respect her wisdom to the point where I continue to seek it on my journey in academia. She is a true feminist leader and scholar who should be recognized for her work in feminist thought,” Anyikwa said.

In addition, Dr. Lisa McGuire was nominated by her mentee, Dr. Kathy Lay, an associate professor from the School of Social Work at Indiana University (IUSSW). McGuire had been an associate professor at IUSSW for many years when she first met Lay.

In the beginning of the mentoring relationship, McGuire helped Lay become more familiar with the culture of the social work program and the university. IUSSW has an emphasis on research and publication, and as McGuire explains, “We needed to make sure we were researching and publishing our teaching.”

Through their mutual interest in the teaching process they were “assigned to team-teach a course that grew into a productive collaboration, eventually resulting in a curricular innovation, multiple publications and development of innovative pedagogy around reflection,” explained McGuire.

They worked on a focus group analysis of reflection papers to determine what students are getting out of their teaching and how to enhance their learning. Their collaboration resulted in publications in the Journal of Professional Development in Social Work and the Journal of Addiction Studies.

“The mentoring she provided, early in my tenure at IUSSW, influenced the development of my teaching philosophy, research, and service,” Lay explained.

Currently, McGuire and Lay are working on another conceptual idea about the pedagogy of reflection and are in the process of determining where to publish their findings.