Dr. Dawn Thurman Named Educator of the Year, and Alumnus Eric Jackson named Social Worker of the Year
The National Association of Social Workers Maryland Chapter (NASW-MD) announced that it has recognized Morgan State University School of Social Work professor Dawn Thurman, Ph.D., MSW, as the Social Work Educator of the Year, and Morgan alumnus Eric Jackson, MSW, as the Social Worker of the Year, for 2019. The two were presented with awards at NASW-MD’s 2019 Social Work Month Annual Conference. The award presentations recognize and honor NASW-MD members, student members and a local citizen who have made outstanding contributions to the profession or the community.
Dr. Dawn Thurman, who has been a member of Morgan’s faculty since 2014, was honored with the Social Work Educator of the Year for her ongoing commitment to educating and preparing students who aspire to join the social work profession. She has held the distinction of educating a large number of students and professionals throughout the region, not only as professor at Morgan but also during tenures at Howard University, Catholic University, and University of the District of Columbia. Throughout her teaching career in higher ed, Dr. Thurman has been widely recognized as a steward for the social work profession positively impacting new crops of practitioners that have benefited from her instruction.
Much of Dr. Thurman’s research focuses on African-American youth and families, including an examination of schools and academic performance, and mental health. Her courses include foundational programs and skills as well as specific areas of instruction such as Data Analysis, Black Human Behavior and the Social Environment, and Case Management. She received her MSW and Doctorate in Social Work from Howard University.
NASW-MD presents the Social Worker of the Year award to the individual who has made significant and outstanding contributions to the profession of social work, displayed leadership in the profession, earned the respect of fellow social workers, represented the professional ethics of social work, and practiced in the field for no less than five years. This year’s honoree is Morgan alumnus Eric Jackson, MSW. Jackson, who graduated in 2009, was recognized for his tireless dedication to the profession as well as his accomplishments along the way. Even during his time as a social work student at Morgan and later at the University of Maryland, Jackson was respected by his classmates, community, and colleagues for his effort and abilities.
Following his graduation from Morgan, Jackson has worked diligently to create spaces and organizations that build power for those who have been and continue to be oppressed. This work includes his leadership in founding the Baltimore-based Black Yield Institute, which strives to cultivate self-determination through “Black Land and Food Sovereignty.” His research and action around food apartheid in Baltimore has led him to be honored industry wide, featured as a presenter at conferences and events, and published both academically and in news media. A part of this work is his production of the film documentary “Baltimore’s Strange Fruit,” which further highlights the issue of food apartheid. Beyond his exemplary work for social justice, Jackson also contributes to the education of emerging social workers as an adjunct professor and clinical instructor at the University of Maryland. He has been recognized by students as the Teacher of the Year and by staff as a Social Work Community Outreach Service Hero at the 25th Anniversary of the program. Wherever he goes he brings a passion and energy that inspires and challenges all would be practitioners to be better social workers.
Congratulations to Dr. Dawn Thurman and Mr. Eric Jackson for their outstanding achievement and making social workers and Morgan State University proud!