New Initiatives for Social & Racial Justice, and Much More
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February 2021


A Message from the Dean

 photo of Dean Hairston

Dear Alumni & Friends,

While a new year typically provides opportunities for a fresh start, critical issues that concerned us in 2020 extended into 2021. Foremost of these is the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic with a rising death toll and new and more contagious variants of the virus. The election that we thought was over when results were tallied in November was still being challenged as fraudulent by the then commander in chief as the new year began. "Make America Great Again'' (the commander's mantra) was on full display January 6 as rioters stormed through the nation's Capitol waving the confederate flag.

Nevertheless, there are reasons for optimism. The COVID-19 vaccines and the widespread interest in getting vaccinated point to a time when we can resume in-person social interactions and our usual routines. President Biden's Executive Orders issued during his first few days in office and his appointments to key positions signal positive changes in areas that matter. There is also hope in the deep dedication to social and racial justice and the willingness to work for change that is shared by the JACSW community – faculty, staff, students, alumni, friends and partners.

Below you will find news about College activities and developments and news from alumni. I hope you will find this information inspirational and useful.

Creasie Finney Hairston, PhD
Dean and Professor


News from JACSW


Academic Resource Program Launches First Cohort of Urban Scholars

ARP program participants
Participants in the first cohort of the Academic Resource Program

On January 15, 2021 the Jane Addams Center for Social Policy and Research launched the first cohort of its Academic Resource Program (ARP). With the aim of addressing the injustice of mass incarceration and its disproportionate impact in communities of color, ARP leverages partnerships with community organizations to provide holistic support to people with justice system involvement in the attainment of a college degree.

The new cohort includes three people seeking to enter bachelor’s degree programs, three who are currently enrolled in bachelor’s programs, and two who graduated in 2020 and are seeking master’s degrees.

ARP is also leveraging community partnerships to provide workforce development and job readiness services for people who desire immediate employment.


New Initiatives for Social and Racial Justice

WAM participants

JACSW has launched two new funds in support of social and racial justice initiatives at the college.

The Diversity Initiatives Fund
The fund provides unrestricted support for a variety of initiatives that will increase diversity at the College and in the field. Current programs under the Diversity Initiatives Fund are JACSW's We Are Men (WAM) program and the college's partnership with the Becoming a Man (BAM®) program at Youth Guidance. Both programs seek to address the underrepresentation of Black men and other men of color in social work and in positions of leadership by recruiting and retaining men of color in the MSW program.

Through WAM and BAM®, and with donor support, men of color are recruited and retained in the college's MSW program where they gain the knowledge and skills necessary to assume leadership positions in the community and guide the delivery of critical social services.

Support Diversity Initiatives  »


The Sparking Success Scholars Fund
The fund supports a new program currently under development that will help former foster youths succeed through college and graduation. This comprehensive program will be housed at JACSW, and will include a variety of partners at UIC and in the community to provide specialized workshops, social support, and community-building activities with peers and professionals that will form a “safety net” for these youth throughout their UIC experience.

Kathy Kirn and husband 

JACSW alumnus Kathy Kirn, BSW ’82, MSW ‘83 and her husband David Levinson helped establish the fund with a generous donation. About her decision to support the Sparking Success Scholars program, she said, "The challenge of navigating and getting through college is daunting for most students, but especially difficult for students who don’t have the support that many others enjoy. We have all imagined what we would do with our lives, and many of us have achieved our dreams. Being able to give others that same opportunity is an exciting prospect."

Support Sparking Success Scholars  »

Webinar Series in Partnership with American Society of Criminology

event header image

On February 23, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. CST, the college will host the 2nd in a series of webinars in partnership with the American Society of Criminology, Division on People of Color and Crime. The webinar Black Lives Matter vs. Far Right Extremism: Protests, Movements, and Riots will include a discussion with scholars and activists who study, organize, and participate in protests and movements. One of the panelists will be JACSW doctoral candidate Janaé Bonsu, who has been a powerful voice for racial justice in Chicago.

Register for the Webinar »

Faculty Updates

Henrika McCoy 

Interim Associate Dean Henrika McCoy’s article Black Lives Matter, and Yes, You are Racist: The Parallelism of the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries was number one among Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal’s Top 10 Full-Text Article Requests 2020 (all publication years). With 29,702 requests, the article far outpaced the #2 article, which received 4,488 requests.

Annette Johnson 

On January 26, 2021, the JACSW Training Institute for School Social Work Professionals, led by Clinical Associate Professor Annette Johnson, hosted the online booster session Expanding Equity: Addressing Racism in Our Work. The event featured prepared school-based practitioners for engaging in discourse about race, structural inequalities, oppression and the invisibility of privilege.

Kathryn Bocanegra 

Assistant Professor Kathryn Bocanegra has received funding from the Robert R. McCormick Foundation and a Faculty Fellowship from UIC’s Institute for Research on Race & Public Policy for her study Between a Bullet and its Target: Street Intervention, Trauma Exposure, Professional Consequences, which will examine trauma exposure among frontline workers in community violence prevention.

Kalen Flynn & Branden McLeod 

Assistant Professors Kalen Flynn and Branden McLeod have received funding for their study Child Support Arrears: Understanding the Scope, Magnitude and Opportunities for Reform in Cook County. The study will increase our understanding of the child support system in Cook County as an entry point to incarceration for young African American men, and the impact of this system on their mental health and well-being, family relationships, and lives.

Jennifer Geiger 

Assistant Professor Jennifer Geiger has been honored with a UIC Teaching Recognition Program Award, based on student feedback and peer reviews regarding course materials, mentoring, curriculum development, and impactful and innovative teaching approaches.

John Holton & Osei Darkwa 

Visiting Research Professor John Holton and Visiting Clinical Associate Professor Osei Darkwa are studying the impact, risk perceptions, knowledge, self-efficacy, and health and health care experiences of older African Americans during the COVD-19 pandemic.


Several faculty members presented at the 2021 Annual Conference of the Society for Social Work and Research, and others continued their work in important aspects of social and racial justice; click below to see their work.

Faculty Work in Social Justice »

Alumni News & Updates


IGNITE CommUNITY at the Alumni & Friends Virtual Celebration


Save the Date and Register Now: 2021 Alumni & Friends Celebration on Friday, April 30 at 5:30 p.m. CDT.

With a theme of Social Workers IGNITE CommUNITY, it’s a celebration, awards ceremony and live fundraiser for student scholarships, hosted by Emmy-winning news anchor and reporter Jim Williams of CBS 2 Chicago.

  • Enjoy an optional pre-party with music, door prizes, fundraising and live chat.
  • Be inspired by our Alumni and Social Justice Ally Awardees. Hear from Congressman Danny K. Davis about how social workers are partners in addressing critical issues facing our communities.
  • Learn from alumni on why they give to scholarships and from JACSW students on why that support is so important to them.
  • All the while, have fun connecting with others on the continuous live chat, watching scholarship donations add up in real time, and participating in door prize give-aways.
  • Then continue celebrating our JACSW community with an optional half-hour post-party.

And there’s no charge for attending! Register below and keep your eyes open for more details about this exciting virtual event. Sponsorships are available.

Special thanks go to the alumni serving on the Celebration Host Committee, and committee co-chairs Dr. Terry Solomon, MSW ’77 and Karyn Aguirre, MSW ’04, for their work in planning the 2021 celebration.

Register Today for the Celebration

Alumni Updates

Faith Bonecutter 

Faith Johnson Bonecutter, MSW ’82, retired Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Student Services, has created an endowed scholarship to support first-year PM students with demonstrated financial need and an interest in working with children and families. Preference will be given to students who will contribute to the diversity of the student body.

Joe Hollendoner 

Joe Hollendoner, BSW 03, MSW 04 has been selected to lead the Los Angeles LGBT Center beginning in June 2021. He is currently CEO of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, and prior to that served as first deputy commissioner at the Chicago Department of Public Health.


Other alumni who shared news and updates are Kristen DeVoe, MSW '10, MSW '04, Elizabeth Linchangco, MSW '96 and Khalid Scott, MSW '97, and Anjanette Young, MSW '15.

See All the Updates »

UIC Alumni Association

As an alumnus of UIC, you have access to a variety of exclusive benefits, which you can begin taking advantage of immediately upon graduation. These benefits can include access to health care, libraries, fitness facilities, events and more!

Visit the Alumni Association Website »



Make Your Impact

Ways to Support the College

There are many ways you can support the college and its mission of social justice.

Learn More »


Connect and Engage

We are proud of our alumni and the important work they are doing!
Let us know what you've been up to, update your information and explore volunteering opportunities to engage with current JACSW students!

Stay Connected »


Contact Us

If you have general questions, concerns or feedback, please contact our director of advancement:

Jacquelyn M. Bonavia, MA, CFRE
Director of Advancement
Jane Addams College of Social Work, MC 309
1040 West Harrison Street, Room 4018
Chicago, IL 60607-7134
Telephone: (312) 413-2305
Fax: (312) 996-1802