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Social Work Spotlight

  • Get to Know Angela Pharris

    What is your role in the School?

    I am an Assistant Professor on the Norman campus. 

    Have you always lived in Oklahoma? Or, are you a transplant? Tell us more! 

    I was raised in north central Indiana…literally, I am a girl from the farm. But, I have spent the last 20 years living around Nashville, Tennessee. My family and I are proud to call Oklahoma our home starting July 2017

    Where did you go to school? 

    BSW from Middle Tennessee State University, a MSW from Spalding University in Louisville, KY and a PhD from Tennessee State University

    What are some of your favorite places you’ve worked, work you’ve done? 

    This is a difficult question, because I have really enjoyed almost every job in social work I have had the privilege to hold. My favorite would be my first job in community mental health…what a learning experience for a new social worker! I also worked in Tennessee in public child welfare during a time of large scale system reform as a Director of Training. That work presented so many new opportunities and challenges and really grew my professional skills in administration, policy and systems.

    Why do you like working at OU? 

    What's not to love!! The faculty, staff and students make OU Social Work a special place. I love that I have the opportunity to generate quality research that can help the Oklahoma child welfare system and have great experiences in the classroom with our students. The simulation lab is really exciting, too!

    What motivated you to pursue your area of research? 

    I study child welfare administration, policy and workforce, but with the very important view that in this case, in the role of public child welfare, these are not simply systems of government but the actual corporate parent of children and youth in foster care. This would seem to require a different approach to government then say, running a public park or collecting tax revenue. My motivation is to help build the capacity for state agencies to provide not only great social work services but also administrative structure that gives kids the opportunity to thrive!

    What is your favorite thing about social work – or what surprised you about social work? 

    How much fun it can be! I know, it is very serious and complex work, but when you get to ideas, solutions, collaborations, and partnerships that work, that actually create better outcomes - it is exciting! In my early training there was so much emphasis (rightly so) on self-care and protection from burn-out, etc. that I don't think I ever really considered how much I could, and would, really like the profession of social work.

    Do you have any hobbies? Please tell us about one? 

    I love musicals and musical theater.

    Tell us an interesting fact about yourself that few people know or that would surprise people? 

    As I mentioned before, I am a farm girl. I can drive large tractors and trucks, handle small scale veterinary tasks and other skills for farming. I paid for my undergraduate degree with cash earned from livestock shows (yep, I had "show" pigs).

    Learn more!

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More Social Work Spotlight

  • Faculty Activity - Kirsten Havig

      On September 24, 2014, Dr. Kirsten Havig presented a report and policy recommendations to the Public Safety Committee of the Oklahoma Legislature for the interim study on Child Trafficking organized by Rep. Sean Roberts.   Read More...

  • Alumni News - Jeremy Nikel

      Jeremy is a native of Tulsa, OK, and graduated from the University of Oklahoma-Tulsa with a Master of Social Work degree in 2011. While an MSW student, Jeremy interned at the Mental Health Association in Tulsa and the Department of Veterans Affairs, where he earned the Nadine J. Roach memorial award for administrative and community practice.   Read More...

  • NASW Pioneers

        The Anne and Henry Zarrow School of Social Work is pleased to announce that Ken Wedel and Julia Norlin have been named NASW Pioneers. NASW recently released an article about their induction. According to NASW, "Pioneers are social workers who have explored new territories and built outposts for human services on many frontiers. Some are well known; others less famous outside their immediate colleagues and the region where they live and work.   Read More...

  • Shane Brady

    Dr. Shane Brady is in his first year as an assistant professor at the University of Oklahoma Anne and Henry Zarrow School of Social Work. Dr.   Read More...

  • International Child Welfare Exchange

      The International Child Welfare exchange elective is a new addition in the Anne and Henry Zarrow School of Social Work. In May 2014, the first ten MSW graduate students traveled to Israel where they learned and experienced international issues in child welfare. They shared this in-country experience with other faculty from University of Oklahoma as part of an ongoing international elective exchange program generously funded by the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation.   Read More...

  • Student Award - Victim Advocates of the Year

      The Muscogee (Creek) Nation Family Violence Prevention Program is pleased to announce that Tina Qualls and Mitzi Pope, both current MSW students, have been selected to receive Victim Advocates of the Year in commemoration of the 2014 Award for Excellence in Action Against Domestic Violence. This award is made as a collaborative effort with the Oklahoma District Attorneys Council, the Oklahoma Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, the Office of the Attorney General, the N...  Read More...

  • Alumni Update - Alicia Williams

      Alicia Williams, 2011 MSW Graduate, shares her experience of being a social worker at the University of Oklahoma Wayman Tisdale Specialty Health Clinic.  "I am the social worker and care manager for the Wayman Tisdale Clinic. Our purpose is to provide adequate health care to the Northside and build a healthier community. I have a very unique role in the clinic that allows me to be versatile when dealing with our patient population.   Read More...

  • We're Hiring

    The Anne and Henry Zarrow School of Social Work is hiring a Tenure Track Assistant Professor on both the Norman and Tulsa campus. We will be screening candidates at CSWE-APM in Tampa. Application materials must include 1) letter of application and interest, 2) curriculum vita, 3) a minimum of three letters of reference, and 4) any additional materials to support candidacy.   Read More...

  • Simulation Lab

      Simulation uses standardized patients/clients (paid actors) to provide real life scenarios for social work students to practice clinical skills and techniques. The Anne and Henry Zarrow School of Social Work has incorporated simulation throughout our curriculum using the OU-Tulsa Simulation Center. This has included simulation in child abuse, interprofessional team work, psychosocial assessment, family treatment, engagement, and medical social work.   Read More...

  • Continuing Education

    The Anne and Henry Zarrow School of Social Work Program for Continuing Education strives to provide quality continuing education events for the social work community in the state of Oklahoma. Each semester, workshops are held in both Norman and Tulsa. You can always find a current list on the Continuing Education page of the website.   Read More...

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