Joint Program in Social Work

Universities of NCA&T and UNCG


The following faculty members are from North Carolina A&T State University or UNC Greensboro and teach and advise in the Joint MSW and/or PhD program.

Regina Alexander, MSW, LCSW


Arnold Barnes

Arnold Barnes (Ph.D., Washington University) Associate Professor. Dr. Arnold Barnes has worked as a social worker in child protective services, family service settings, and psychiatric hospitals. Prior to joining the faculty of the Joint Master of Social Work Program in 2003, he taught graduate social work courses at several universities. He has conducted research on burnout and hate crimes. Currently his research is on race and psychiatric diagnoses.

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Mathieu Despard

Mathieu Despard (Associate Professor). Dr. Despard conducts research on financial health and economic mobility with a focus on low- and moderate-income households. He is a Faculty Director with the Social Policy Institute at Washington University in St. Louis where he leads studies on lower-wage work, social welfare policy, and financial inclusion and technology. Dr. Despard teaches and advises in the Joint PhD and MSW programs. He received his MSW and PhD in Social Work from UNC-Chapel Hill.

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Melissa Floyd-Pickard

Melissa Floyd-Pickard (Ph.D., Virginia Commonwealth University) Dr. Melissa Floyd-Pickard is a Professor and Executive Director for GCSTOP, Guilford County Solution to the Opioid Problem. Her research interests are; practice with people who have serious mental illness, issues in family substance abuse recovery, innovative alternatives to involuntary treatment and professional dissonance in social work practice.

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Grace GowdyGrace Gowdy (Ph.D., Boston University), Assistant Professor. Dr. Gowdy’s research interests include community and family influence on individual upward mobility, with a particular focus on the adolescent stage. Her dissertation was on informal mentors and their ability to promote economic upward mobility for low-income youth.

Dr. Gowdy currently works on multiple studies examining formal and informal mentoring relationships, all surrounding how caring non-parental adults can influence young people’s chances of mobility. She has taught courses that include Human Behavior in the Social Environment and Research Methods & Data Analysis.


Carmen Monico

Carmen Monico (Ph.D. Virginia Commonwealth University) is teaching curriculum and elective courses in the Joint Master and PhD Social Work Programs of the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and the University of North Carolina Greensboro. Previously, Monico taught human services and core curriculum courses with a global perspective and in international settings at Elon University, social welfare policy at Smith College, and social justice and social policy at VCU.

Monico has mentored dozens of students in undergraduate research on sexual assault, migration, human trafficking, and self-care; served in dissertation committees of Guatemalan PhD students dissertation projects; and will be mentoring PhD students in the joint NCAT-UNCG social work graduate programs. Monico’s scholarship includes bilingual and transnational dissertation on illegal adoptions from Guatemala and published extensively on intercountry adoption, global migration, and human trafficking, and civic engagement and social accountability.

Monico’s scholarship involves serving as an international expert and conducting research and teaching in Guatemala with the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala, as a U.S. Fulbright Scholar. Monico has presented at national and international conferences and seminars, and in numerous educational events and conducted teaching and learning research on community engagement and human service delivery in various settings.

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Sharon Parker

Sharon Parker (NIH Postdoctoral Fellowship, Brown University and the Miriam Hospital, Ph.D. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), Associate Professor.  Research and practice interests: Biomedical research examining the use of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) with men who have sex with men (MSM), discordant couples, and other high-risk populations, health disparities, HIV prevention and intervention with criminal justice involved adults, substance abuse, intimate partner violence, gender inequality, translational research, and qualitative research methods.

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Fran Pearson

Fran Pearson (MSW, North Carolina A and T State University and University of North Carolina at Greensboro) Lecturer/Project Director for CSWEI.
Research and practice interests: Supervision of interns, building community collaborative, program development and outcome reporting.

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Jay Poole

Jay Poole (Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Greensboro) Associate Professor. Jay Poole has been involved in the human services field for over 30 years and maintains his license as a clinical social worker in North Carolina.  Jay holds the Master of Social Work degree and the Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Leadership Cultural Foundations.  Jay’s research interests include identity studies as well as community engaged approaches to interdisciplinary and integrated approaches to care.

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Meredith Powers

Dr. Meredith C.F. Powers (she/her/hers) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Social Work at UNC Greensboro. She has served as a Sustainability Faculty Fellow, is the Social Work faculty liaison for the International Programs Center and serves on the School of Health and Human Science’s committee for internationalizing the curriculum. She has co-authored and co-edited a growing body of work on climate justice, the eco-social worldview, and eco-therapeutic practices for healing.

She has presented her research nationally and internationally, at professional conferences, including being invited as a keynote speaker at the United Nations for World Social Work Day (2018). She is the Founder and Director of the International Federation of Social Workers “Climate Justice Program.” She also established and co-administers the global “Green / Environmental Social Work Collaborative Network.”

Nationally, Dr. Powers serves as a member of the “Environmental Justice Committee” for the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), and the Grand Challenges for Social Work committee, “Create Social Responses to a Changing Environment.” Locally, Dr. Powers is a founding board member of the “IDEAL League”, which has the mission to provide equitable access to inclusive literacy materials and educational activities that affirm, advocate for, and empower youth.

Additionally, Dr. Powers has initiated and led several community engaged research action projects, such as “Climates of Inequality: Stories of Environmental Justice” about climate migration and resettlement, “Parks for All People”, for the extensive enhancement of Smith Senior Center’s outdoor recreation spaces, and most recently, a memorial garden project in Greensboro, “The Service and Bravery Commemorative Garden” (SBC Garden) to honor military service members and veterans who are transgender, gender non-conforming, and non-binary.

Research Interests:

  • Climate justice, Environmental Justice 
  • Promoting the Embrace of an Eco-social worldview
  • Eco-therapeutic practices for healing and radical self-care
  • University-community partnerships for sustainability

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Mashooq Salehin

Mashooq Salehin, (Ph.D., University of Texas at Arlington), Associate Professor, is currently an Associate Professor of Social Work at the North Carolina Agriculture and technical State University at Greensboro. He is a faculty member of the JPHD and JMSW program of University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) and NCA&T. Dr. Salehin received his Master of Social Work from the Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, and his PhD in Social Work from the University of Texas at Arlington.

Dr. Salehin has been involved in several research projects as a T&R faculty in the Joint Programs in Social Work. Throughout his academic appointment, Dr. Salehin has been taking the opportunities to translate his research interests into the studies on underprivileged groups in need of assistance addressing relevant policy issues. He has been published in reference books and scholarly peer-reviewed journals and have delivered papers at national and international conferences.

Currently Dr. Salehin has been developing a grant proposal to determine the impact of social, economic, and environmental factors on the reproductive health of women living in Appalachian communities through mediating factor of women’s reproductive power. His research interest also focuses on adolescents’ health of immigrant communities.

He has taught research methods, statistics, and social work practice courses at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. His areas of research interest reproductive health and social policy, globalization and its impact on sustainable and social development, gender issues, inequality, poverty, and social justice.

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Michelle Vance

Michelle Vance (Ph.D., University of Central Florida), Assistant Professor.  Her research interests include access to care for marginalized communities across mental health and criminal justice systems, intersectionality, collateral consequences and prison reentry, as well as program evaluation and community based participatory research.

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