interlocking hands with butterflies

Office of the Associate Dean for Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility

In working towards equity and inclusion, we recognize that

  • Institutional policies and practices reinforce differential outcomes for historically underrepresented faculty, staff, students, and communities. We are working intentionally to critically evaluate our policies and practices to identify and eliminate these disparities.
  • As a cadre of social workers and a public institution, we are working intentionally towards increasing diversity, in all its forms, in our faculty, staff, and students as we continue to serve diverse communities.
  • We intentionally and steadfastly commit to anti-racism and anti-oppression in our practice, scholarship, teaching, and service.

We have launched several strategic initiatives to promote recruitment, retention, learning and engagement, including faculty and staff trainings on institutional racism; enhancement of our curriculum with more in-depth theoretical exploration; more comprehensive mentorship for junior scholars, including postdoctoral fellows and assistant professors; and more comprehensive support for students to boost recruitment and retention in our undergraduate and graduate programs.

  • Recruitment of faculty, staff and students from historically excluded populations will create a vibrant school community.
  • Retention of faculty, staff and students will eliminate barriers to belonging and success that have impacted historically excluded populations.
  • Engagement for faculty, staff and students will build a cohesive school community that is inclusive and equitable for all.
  • Learning for faculty, staff and students will be informed by anti-racism efforts in education and promote social justice and action.


Our Student Task Force is a student-led organization that works to build a genuine culture of equity and inclusion through policies and practices.

Our SWAPP program provides mentorship and networking opportunities for SHSSW early career scholars.

Our Students & Scholars Networks bring together students, faculty, and staff with a specific identity, and allies, for community and support. In 2022 – 23, Latinx, Black, APIDA, and LGBTQIA+ networks are active.

  • APIDA Students & Scholars Networks: Shetal Vohra-Gupta or Yuanjin Zhou.
  • Black Students & Scholars Networks: Starla Simmons
  • Latinx Students & Scholars Networks: Mercedes Hernandez or Yolanda Padilla
  • LGBTQIA+ Students & Scholars Networks: Sarah Sloan or Tanya Voss

Unidos! is a series of small student group conversations with Dean Cole and ADEIA Calzada intended to deepen student and leader understanding of EIA challenges in SHSSW so that we may strengthen our collective resolve and sharpen our goals in working towards EIA.

Our Resource Library is a curated list of resources for various topics relevant to social work. It includes both academic and non-academic sources and intentionally highlights Black voices and voices of others historically excluded from social work discourse.

Contact: OADEIA

Our SHSSW Allies & Accomplices Directory is a list of faculty and staff who pledge to use their power and privilege to confront and interrupt oppression. It is designed to give our community members the opportunity to connect with an ally/accomplice based on specific identities.

Contact: OADEIA

Our student-developed and -led affinity groups are designed to support students and allies with shared identities in having safe and healing conversations and experiences without faculty or staff present. In 2022 – 2023, groups are available for students in recovery and students who identify as Asian American, Pacific Islander, or Desi American.

Our Mentorship program assists MSSW students in building a network of connection by bringing students and mentors together for safe support and providing guidance toward the MSSW degree.

Our SWEEP program serves incoming BSW students through mentorship and information sharing. Events are designed to offer students opportunities for professional development and community building, and to increase students’ sense of belonging.


The ReLearn initiative invites students, staff and faculty to come together for racial and social justice, starting with their own (re)learning about race and racism.

Social Work’s Got Talent is a yearly talent show with performances, food, markets, and fun. All students, staff, and faculty are welcome to showcase their talents on and off stage. Social Work’s Got Talent aims to build community and deepen connections within SHSSW.

Our accessibility guide organizes the best practices for making classrooms more accessible into one central location. Located in a Box folder, users can search by student need to find resources for providing classroom accommodations. Current categories include: blind/visually impaired, deaf/hard of hearing; chronic illness; neurodivergence; language; physical disabilities; and parents/caregivers.

Our Pledge

UT Shield

We stand for social justice for individuals and communities facing oppression on the basis of race, ethnicity, nationality, class, religion, gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, and/or disability. We reject all forms of hate, marginalization, discrimination, and violence.

Meet the Team

Professor Esther Calzada, Ph.D., is the inaugural Associate Dean of Equity and Inclusion for the Steve Hicks School of Social Work. Dr. Calzada works closely with the Committee for Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (CEIA), which is a group of faculty, staff and student representatives who help shape priorities and carry out programs.

The CEIA is a group of faculty, staff and students that helps to direct the efforts of the OADEIA and implements its initiatives.

Student representatives: Cameron Bates, Qusay Hussein.

Staff representatives: Carol Lewis, Andrea Montgomery, Dante Vargas.

Faculty representatives: Yessenia Castro, Namkee Choi, Catherine Cubbin, Rene Gaitan, Cossy Hough, Tammy Linseisen, Sarah Sloan, Sarah Swords, Thea Posel, Tanya Voss.

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Events

Land Acknowledgement

We remember the generosity of the Wampanoag (Wamp-uh-nog) tribe to the helpless settlers.

We acknowledge that we are meeting on the Indigenous lands of Turtle Island, the ancestral name for what now is called North America.

We remember the hundreds of thousands of Native Americans who lost their lives at the hands of colonialists and the genocide of whole tribes.

We remember the vibrant and powerful Native descendants, families, and communities that persist to this day throughout the culture and the country.

We remember the stolen sisters that have been taken from their families and communities at alarming rates.

We remember the activists fighting for Native rights.

We are grateful to the voices of our indigenous colleagues for helping us, as a school, to remember and honor their communities.