Dr. Ahfiya Howard is chair and assistant professor for the School of Social Work. Howard earned a doctorate degree in Public Health from JSU in May 2020.
When asked why she pursued a terminal degree, Howard stated, “At the time, I was employed at Central Mississippi Correctional Facility as a mental health therapist. I learned a lot about infectious diseases, terminal illnesses and health care policies and management. I became intrigued with the various avenues of public health. Therefore, I decided to obtain a doctorate in the field of public health.”
She continued, ” It is my aspiration to help bridge the gap between Social Work and Public Health by adding to the body of literature through publications, research studies and securing grants.”
The title of her dissertation is Compassion Fatigue and Compassion Satisfaction among Mental Health Professionals in Central Mississippi.
Brief summary: Nationally and in Mississippi, legislators continue to reduce mental health budget reductions while shifting services from inpatient care to community-based organizations. These budget reductions have led to increased caseloads for workers who are already burdened with unrealistic deadlines and overwhelmed with feelings of inadequacy regarding their abilities to deliver services. My study examined the positive and negative impacts of workload changes among mental health professionals working in community-based mental health agencies in central Mississippi. Licensed and certified mental health professionals (N= 91) from central Mississippi completed the Professional Quality of Life Scale Version 5. Results revealed no significant differences among budget reductions and/or workloads, gender, or working at a community mental health center. However, the study found statistical significance with respect to income, age, county of employment, occupation, and race. Recommendations included the development of job wellness programs, use of self-care evaluations and changes to organization and federal policies to reduce occupational burnout and stress.
Howard has been an employee at the university for six years. She earned all of her degrees from Jackson State.
- Bachelor of Social Work
- Master of Social Work
- Doctor of Public Health
Howard provided sound advice for students interested in obtaining a doctorate degree, “Students should be certain they are ready to conduct research, become upper-level administrators and/or focus on clinical practices. In addition, students should plan to have time to complete the degree requirements in a timely manner.”
Dr. Sherita Tompkins is visiting instructor for the School of Social Work. Tompkins earned a doctorate degree in Social Work from Tulane University in May 2019.
When asked why she pursued a doctorate degree, Tompkins said, “I chose to pursue my doctorate degree, specifically the DSW degree, at Tulane University because it offered a program that was centered on enhancing clinical expertise, research, publications, scholarship, and critically essential skills in social work practice. These were all highly appealing program attributes that I was seeking that pertained to my career goals.”
She continued, “Personally, my hope is that I inspire someone to know that despite any obstacle, you can reach your goals. I am the first person in my family to earn a doctorate degree, but now that the gate is open, I know I will not be the last.
Professionally, the clinical application skills I learned from Tulane’s program have helped me to conceptualize my area of practice. I am convinced that my knowledge of clinical skills and techniques will continue to increase over the years.”
Tompkins Advanced Clinical Project (ACP) development reflects three of her passions:
1) teaching pedagogy, 2) program evaluation, and 3) social work curriculum development.
Brief summary: The ACP reflected teaching a social work course SW 220 International Perspective on Diversity and Social Justiceat Jackson State University School of Social Work in the Baccalaureate program. The ACP was inclusive of the development of a new curriculum for the second ever study abroad course in JSU School of Social Work history and to evaluate the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) standards embedded in course assignments. The ACP was also inclusive of a global perspective to evaluate cultural competencies practices indirectly and directly through the collection of secondary data from participants.
For students who may aspire to earn a doctorate degree, she states, “Do your research on different programs and make a solid decision based off your own passion or goals for your future. Some may highlight the Ph.D. over the DSW, but it’s a personal preference to career goals. I would also suggest that both have great contributions to the Social Work profession and individuals should weigh their options to ensure that one is pursuing their passion. Find your passion and pursue it for the greater good!”
Tompkins provides a quote from Oprah Winfrey regarding pursuing passion:
“Ignoring your passion is like dying a slow death…Passion whispers to you through your feelings, beckoning you toward your highest good. Pay attention to what makes you feel energized, connected, stimulated- what gives you your juice. Do what you love, give it back in the form of service, and you will do more than succeed. You will triumph.”
She has been an instructor at the university for six years. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Jackson State.
“I am immensely grateful for my Dear ole college home. THEE I love always!”
Dr. Jacqueline Loggins is faculty field liaison (BSW) and instructor for the School of Social Work. Loggins completed her doctorate degree at Tulane University in May 2020.
When asked why she pursued a terminal degree, Loggins replied,” Like many of our students retrieving a higher education, I am the first in my family to pursue a doctoral degree. My family is immensely proud of me, but most importantly, I am proud of myself. Social work is a competitive field and career options are more available if you have advanced degrees, professional licensure or both. I am thankful that I now possess a Doctorate of Social Work (DSW) degree, while also being able to practice as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). The work does not stop here; social workers are always in pursuit of publications, grants, certifications, research, etc.”
She continued, “Jackson State University is a major research university, and by acquiring this degree, I hope to enhance myself professionally by seeking out research, grant writing, and publication opportunities. Additionally, I would like to ‘fine tune’ my practice skills. As an evidenced-based practitioner, I would also like to deliver innovative services that will improve my clients’ overall well-being.”
Loggins Advanced Clinical Project (ACP) consisted of submitting two journal articles for publication.
Brief summary: The first article, entitled, “The History of the Formation of the Trauma Theory”, was submitted to the Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare, discussing the inception of the trauma theory to its theoretical perspective today. The second article, entitled, “Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing: Reducing Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Adolescents,” was submitted to the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), in which it detailed the efficacy and effectiveness of the two evidenced-based practices on youth diagnosed with PTSD.
Loggins has worked at the university for five years. She received a bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Jacksonville State University, and a master’s degree in Social Work from Georgia State University.
Loggins advice to students seeking a higher degree in the field of Social Work, Go for It! With that previous vernacular, I would also add, that one should know what type of higher social work degree they would like to pursue. Social work has two higher degrees. One being the Ph.D., which is research focused, and the other being a DSW, which has a clinical practice/management focus. It is a matter of choice and your personal situation, but I chose the DSW degree because I wanted to expand my expertise in university-based teaching, clinical practice, and applied research.
Loggins adds, “A final thanks to my family, friends, and my spouse, Devon Loggins, who became my ‘rock of Gibraltar’ during the ‘I don’t understand this’ moments. It has also been an honor and enlightening experience to work with such great colleagues in the field of social work at JSU. My DSW degree hinged upon the support of my colleagues, who are so knowledgeable, resourceful and prominent in the field of social work with their publications, presentations, research, and practice. They became the ‘push’ that I needed to complete my degree. Thank You! And last, but not least, thank you to my Tulane instructors, whose last words to me were, ‘Now, go do work that matters.”