Harold Briggs, director of research and professor in the School of Social Work, advances the rigor of the profession by facilitating funded research while also teaching students to effectively use science in problem solving to foster well-being and positive social change.
Where did you earn degrees and what are your current responsibilities at UGA?
I earned my Bachelor of Arts degree from Morehouse College in Atlanta where I majored in sociology. I earned both my graduate and doctoral degrees in social work from the University of Chicago School of Social Services Administration. I am currently a professor and director of research and sponsored programs for UGA’s School of Social Work.
When did you come to UGA and what brought you here?
I began my employment in 2012 as the associate dean. I joined UGA to work for Dean Maurice Daniels and to advance the academic affairs, instruction and to oversee and further the grant-making function of the School of Social Work.
What are your favorite courses and why?
I enjoy teaching “Social Work Practice with Organizations and Communities” and the capstone class to clinical concentration Master of Social Work students funded by the federal Health Resources and Services Administration Behavioral Health Education and Training Program. The capstone course allows me to ensure the skill development of graduating students to use evidence-based, best and promising practice approaches in their inter-professional behavioral health practice field internships for working with families of youth with behavioral health disorders.
What interests you about your field?
The opportunity to advance the rigor of the profession through funded research while teaching students to advance their cultural humility, social and emotional intelligence skills and abilities to effectively use science in problem solving across vulnerable systems of all sizes to achieve well-being and positive social change.
What are some highlights of your career at UGA?
Advancing the professional development and career advancement of junior faculty, increasing the scholarly publication opportunities for doctoral students and faculty, and increasing the successful funding and grant making competencies of junior faculty and academic professionals have been among the many highlights of my career at UGA. In addition, I have worked in collaboration with the coordinator of admissions to increase student enrollment at the School of Social Work. I also assisted in writing successful proposals for additional tenure-track and clinical faculty positions in the Athens and Gwinnett programs. I assisted in writing a successful proposal to establish the University of Georgia Athletic Association Professorship in Health Disparities and Well-Being, wrote and facilitated the completion of the School of Social Work 10-year strategic plan and rewrote and received approval for the establishment of the dual degree program in Social Work and Divinity with the Candler School of Theology at Emory University.
How does your research or scholarship inspire your teaching, and vice versa?
My scholarship on inter-professional behavioral health practice educational outcomes enables me to innovate the knowledge transfer and knowledge development paradigm in social work.
What do you hope students gain from their classroom experience with you?
I hope that my students gain the ability to aid the diverse client systems they work with to achieve self-determination and well-being.
Describe your ideal student.
A student who engages in critical thinking and the use of evidence to guide their social work practice.
Favorite place to be/thing to do on campus is…
… the Ramsey Student Center for Physical Activities.
Beyond the UGA campus, I like to…
… travel home to be with family in Portland, Oregon.
Community/civic involvement includes….
… collaborating with the Georgia Parent Support Network, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing support, education and advocacy for children and youth with mental illness, emotional disturbances and behavioral differences and their families
Proudest moment at UGA?
The transformation of the School of Social Work.
(Originally published on April 3, 2016)