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School of Social Welfare announces new field education director

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas School of Social Welfare has announced the appointment of Kelly Jones as the new associate professor of the practice and director of field education. Prior to this appointment, Jones was the senior associate director for field education within the school and has been serving as interim field director since October 2019.

The position was changed from a staff position to a faculty position in an associate professor of the practice non-tenure track capacity to recognize the critical role field education plays in the overall curriculum. Jones will provide student instruction through field seminars and the development and delivery of training for field instructors, field liaisons and student services staff. This position supervises staff members and works in close collaboration with the BSW and MSW program directors.  

“Kelly is a passionate leader who is a social worker at heart and in mind and stood out amongst an outstanding, nationally selected candidate pool,” said Michelle Mohr Carney, dean of the social welfare school. “We have been fortunate to have her expertise and wealth of knowledge about field education as the interim director. In addition, Kelly’s ability to adapt and change quickly during these unprecedented times surrounding COVID-19 and her forward-thinking, creative planning for an ever-changing future has been impressive.”

Jones holds a bachelor's degree in sociology with a certificate in criminal justice from the University of Wisconsin and a Master of Social Work with a concentration in nonprofit administration and advocacy practice from KU. She has been with the school in her senior associate director for field education role since 2015 and manages all aspects of developing and maintaining practicum placements for approximately 350 practicum students in over 250 practicum agencies. Prior to her academic role at the school, Jones worked as a community liaison/research assistant with the KU School of Social Welfare Office of Aging and Long Term Care (now Center for Research on Aging and Disability Options) where she coordinated the Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Department and Center for Medicaid and Medicare (CMS)-based grant and contract activities. Her academic areas include educational standards of field education and cohesive school and community partnerships, participatory budgetary decisions and policymaking, dementia care and public health in aging populations.

In 2020, Jones was awarded the KU Staff Excellence in Community Engagement Award. She is an elected member of the Lawrence Public Schools Board and has served as vice president from 2019-2020 and president from 2020-2021.

“Well-administered field education builds strong justice-grounded practitioners,” Jones said. “As the director of field education, I will support KU field instructors and students as they endeavor to enhance individual and communities’ well-being. I am grateful for the opportunity to do so.”

The KU School of Social Welfare is a nationally ranked school that aims to transform lives and social contexts and promotes social, economic, and environmental justice in Kansas, the nation and the world by educating students to practice with integrity and competence; advancing the science and knowledge base of social work through scholarship and research; and participating in community-engaged service.

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