Faculty Spotlight

Fall 2015

Jennifer L. Williams, LCSW

Jennifer L. Williams, LCSW

Jennifer Williams is the Undergraduate Program Director, as well as a PhD student in the School of Social Work. Her practice interests include holistic approaches to stress management and wellness, anxiety, depression, and trauma. She combines complementary modalities that rely upon the connections between the body, mind and spirit. Ms. Williams has been practicing mindfulness for many years, and having seen the benefits in her personal and professional practice, began to implement mindfulness techniques into her classes a few years ago. Seeing how essential this practice is in the training of social workers, combined with the increase in empirical support for the efficacy of mindfulness, Ms. Williams worked to fill the gap that exists between the positive attitudes towards mindfulness and lack of knowledge of technique or implementation into clinical social work practice. Through her research, she began to notice how technological advances over the past decade have significantly affected social and behavioral science. This led Ms. Williams to further research and training in the area of neuroscience and psychotherapy. She co-developed with Dr. David Feldman, Associate Professor in the department of psychology, a multi-disciplinary course titled, “Mind Body Connection: The Neurobiology of Clinical Practice”. In spring 2015, Ms. Williams taught this second year graduate elective that explored the multidimensional relationships between neuroscience, bio-psychosocial-spiritual functioning and traditional psychotherapy. In addition, she has taught numerous workshops on Neuroscience and Psychotherapy at both state and local conferences, including co-presenting with Dr. Feldman, “Epigenetics, Neuroplasticity, and Mental Health Care” at Barry University’s 2014 mini-conference, “The Promise and Peril of Personalized Medicine”. Ms. Williams is currently enrolled in the PhD program and intends on researching social work faculty knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs toward complementary and alternative medicine. She continues to offer meditation workshops each semester, sponsored by Barry University’s Wellness Initiative Network (WIN). Other recent additional work includes:

  • In April, 2015, was invited by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, South Florida chapter, to present “The Mind-Body: The Connection and Wellness” to cancer patients, friends, and families. Participants were taught how to utilize mindfulness and meditation as a new way of coping with cancer in their family.
  • In fall 2014, she also co-presented with Dr. Joanne Whelley, associate professor in the school of social work, a paper presentation titled, “CAM: Critical component in advancing 21st century social work education” at the Council on Social Work Education’s 2014th Annual Program Meeting, in Tampa, Florida.
  • In March, 2015, Ms. Williams co-presented with Dr. Jill Levenson, associate professor in the school of social work, and Dr. Feldman a paper presentation titled, “Adverse childhood experiences, criminality, and trauma-informed practices” at the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida.

Edmon Tucker, JD, MSW, PhD, LCSW

Edmon Tucker, JD, MSW, PhD, LCSW

Dr. Edmon Tucker is an Assistant Professor at Barry University School of Social Work. He received his B.A. at Emory University; his J.D. at Southern Methodist University, where he was Leading Articles Editor for the SMU Law Review; and his M.S.W. and Ph.D. from Florida International University, where he received the Outstanding Graduate Scholar Award. Dr. Tucker has several years of social work practice experience, primarily in community behavioral health, and his work with individuals, groups, and families dealing with trauma, mental illness, and addiction informs his teaching, service, and scholarship.

Dr. Tucker’s research and community service includes LGBTQ social disparities, direct and indirect trauma, therapeutic jurisprudence, mindfulness practices, and community behavioral health. He is also a licensed clinical social worker in the state of Florida.

Over the past year, Dr. Tucker concluded a three-year program evaluation of Henderson Student Counseling Services. This was a comprehensive process and outcome evaluation. Dr. Tucker is preparing a manuscript for publication entitled, “Outsourcing College Counseling Services: Program Formation, Implementation, and Evaluation.”

Dr. Tucker is committed to social justice and to helping make Barry University an inclusive community. Toward these ends, he helped facilitate bringing TransCon to Barry. This annual conference provides valuable information and opportunities for support to transgender individuals, who are often misunderstood and routinely subjected to discrimination, hatred, and violence. For the past two years, the School of Social Work has co-sponsored TransCon and Dr. Tucker has served as co-coordinator.

For the third consecutive year, Dr. Tucker served as field educator for the legal clinics practicum at the University Of Miami Law School. This continues to be an exciting collaboration between the two schools. The social work students work closely with the law students and supervising attorneys who work in the Immigration Law Clinic and the Children and Youth Law Clinic. The Barry social work students provide case management and therapeutic services to the clients served by those clinics. Dr. Tucker provides clinical supervision and, with his background in law, is also able to help the students navigate the legal professional environment. In addition, Dr. Tucker’s interest include incorporating mindfulness into her services. Dr. Tucker has practiced mindfulness for many years. He incorporates this practice into his teaching, service, and scholarship.

Collaborative Work: Mindfulness-based practices in Social Work

Ms. Williams and Dr. Tucker developed and delivered the first Post-Master’s Certificate in Mindfulness Therapeutic Practice, an experiential, 4-day program that focuses on integrating mindfulness into clinical work with clients. This certificate program is offered by the School of Social Work every semester.

In summer, 2014, Ms. Williams presented with PhD colleague, Ms. Dunja Pacirski, and Dr. Ed Tucker, assistant professor in the school of social work, at the National Association of Social Worker’s Florida 2014 state conference a workshop titled, “Creative Mindfulness: Where East Meets West- Integrating Mindfulness into Personal and Professional Practice”.

In fall of 2014, Ms. Williams and Dr. Tucker presented to members of the DCF Leadership Academy on “Promoting Self-Regulation and Wellness”, which addressed resiliency and wellness strengthening through mindfulness. In addition, Dr. Tucker and Ms. Williams also began researching mindfulness practices with high school students and currently serve as consultants for an organization in Palm Beach County that utilizes yoga as a health and wellness program in high schools. In October, 2015, Dr. Tucker and Ms. Williams will co-present, “Mindfulness and the Implicit Curriculum; Teaching Strategies for Self-Care” at the Council on Social Work Education’s Annual Program Meeting in Denver, Colorado.