Conceptualizing Anti-Racist Social Work Pedagogy

Practical Ideas for Increasing Faculty Capacity, Reflexivity, and Ability


  • Allison Buzard College of Social Work, University of Tennessee Knoxville



anti-racism, social work, social work education, pedagogy


Studies have suggested that faculty in higher education lack the preparation, training, tools, and collaboration to be effective anti-racist educators. This conceptual paper presents a new framework for social work faculty to consider as they evolve their anti-racist pedagogy. The history of the priorities and professionalization of social work is explored along with the origins and theoretical influences of social work education and accreditation, the inequitable system and structure of higher education, and the racial identity, lived experience, and education of individual educators. The proposed conceptual framework centers on practical strategies for increasing faculty capacity, building faculty reflexivity, and scaffolding faculty ability for social work anti-racist pedagogy. Strategies for increasing faculty capacity include professional development and training, places to process, and policy and support. Strategies for building faculty reflexivity focus on applying racial consciousness, assessing values, and adopting humility. Strategies for anti-racist pedagogy skills include building intentional class culture, braving collaborative learning, and banking on resistance. This paper concludes with discussions about anti-racist capacity-building for social work educators and broader implications for social work education in the United States.


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