Online Master of Social Work Faculty

Christopher Ward, Instructor; Graduate Director; Online MSW Program Coordinator

Christopher J. Ward, "Chris", joined the faculty of Winthrop University's Department of Social Work in August 2017 and named the Department's Online Program Coordinator in July 2018.

While supervising online course development and maintenance, Chris oversees online program quality and consistency with CSWE standards. Working with Department faculty, he assists in online recruitment/admissions and leads hiring and training for adjunct online faculty as well as training for full time online faculty.  

Chris has extensive teaching experience in undergraduate and graduate social work education, including with hybrid online courses. His teaching is centered at the intersection of sound pedagogy supported by the literature, working collaboratively with colleagues to develop strong curriculum, and providing opportunities for improvement building upon the unique strengths of every student. These teaching experiences expanded Chris' interests that developed research veins where he publishes and presents scholarly work on 1) the decision-making process selecting appropriate tools for the online learning environment, 2) the acquisition and retention of research method knowledge by social work students, and 3) the strengths and challenges of macro social work education.

Chris received his BSW from the University of Kansas and MSW from the University of South Carolina. He spent almost seven years with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control as a Health Planning Analyst working in the State's Certificate of Need program.

Chris is the 2017 recipient of the prestigious GADE Student Award for Teaching in Social Work.

Anthony J. Hill, Ph.D., Department Chair; Associate Professor

Dr. Anthony J. Hill is the Chair of the Department of Social Work, Graduate Program Director, and Associate Professor. Dr. Hill is a licensed clinical social worker.  A member of the Academy of Certified Social Workers (ACSW), Dr. Hill is also a Certified Financial Worker and Certified Clinical Trauma Professional.  Dr. Hill is an active member and leader of several professional associations, including the National Association of Social Workers. Dr. Hill's research interests include financial social work and adolescent risk and resilience.

Dr. Hill earned his Masters of Social Work and Ph.D. in Social Work degrees from Howard University.   He earned a graduate certificate in College and University Faculty Preparation also from Howard University.  His BA in Speech Communications is from the George Washington University.

Ja'Shaun Blanding, Instructor; Field Director

Ja'Shaun Brailey Blanding is the Field Director in the Department of Social Work at Winthrop University. Mrs. Blanding served as MSW Field Coordinator from 2019-2021 before stepping into the Director role. 

Before her role at Winthrop, Ja’Shaun worked as a Program Consultant/Trainer for the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services in Child Welfare. Over 17 years, her professional experiences include work in child welfare, mental health, management in self-sufficiency programming, and online educational technology. Mrs. Blanding also served as a Field Instructor as well as an Adjunct Faculty member and Field Liaison. 

Ja’Shaun’s focus areas are organizational development, child welfare, and self-sufficiency programs. She believes the profession of Social Work is transformational to clients as well as social work practitioners.

Her mantra echoes a quote by Marian Wright Elderman, “you can’t be what you can’t see.” Ja’Shaun believes that it matters how we show up and, most importantly, how we think about ourselves and envision ourselves in the future. As a proud Winthrop BSW alum, Ja’Shaun strives to model for students that they can be successful Social Workers and ensure that students have experiential opportunities with the hope that they identify how they want to show up as professional Social Workers.

Monique Constance-Huggins, Ph.D., Associate Professor; Undergraduate Program Director

Dr. Constance-Huggins is an Associate Professor and Undergraduate Program Director in the Department of Social Work. She received her PhD, MSW and MPIA from the University of Pittsburgh. Her research includes race and racial disparities; social capital among low-income women and families in rural context. She also engages in community needs assessment. Her research brings together empirical studies, theory, and social policy. Dr. Constance-Huggins teaches courses in research methods, social welfare policy, and macro systems.

Sara English, Ph.D., Admissions/Recruitment Coordinator & Instructor

Sara English is an Assistant Professor of Social Work and the faculty advisor for the Gerontology Minor Program at Winthrop University. She is a Certified Gerontology Professional (CPG) and AGE-SW fellow, and has presented her research at local, national, and international venues, including at the University of Bath, the University of Iceland, and in South Africa. She serves as the NASW-SC representative to the Alzheimer’s Advisory Board for the SC Lieutenant Governor’s Office on Aging. Dr. English studies the power of non-familial relationships among staff and residents of institutional settings and is examining younger residents living in Long-Term Care . She is passionate about qualitative research and the depth of understanding it offers to studies of persons who live in the margins of society.

Ashley Garrick, Ph.D., Instructor; Associate Field Director

Dr. Anthony J. Hill is the Chair of the Department of Social Work, Graduate Program Director, and Associate Professor. Dr. Hill is a licensed clinical social worker.  A member of the Academy of Certified Social Workers (ACSW), Dr. Hill is also a Certified Financial Worker and Certified Clinical Trauma Professional.  Dr. Hill is an active member and leader of several professional associations, including the National Association of Social Workers. Dr. Hill's research interests include financial social work and adolescent risk and resilience.

Dr. Hill earned his Masters of Social Work and Ph.D. in Social Work degrees from Howard University.   He earned a graduate certificate in College and University Faculty Preparation also from Howard University.  His BA in Speech Communications is from the George Washington University.

Wendy Sellers, Ph.D., Professor; Assessment Coordinator

Dr. Sellers is a professor of social work at Winthrop. Her areas of expertise are international social work, community development, and immigration. She has worked in the areas of migrant health, migrant education, rural health, and international community development and was a Peace Corps volunteer in Nicaragua. She teaches courses in introduction to social work, macro practice, and research at Winthrop and leads travel abroad sessions to Latin America.

Sarah Hopkins, M.S.W., Instructor

 Sarah Hopkins is an instructor in the Social Work Department at Winthrop University. She earned her BS in Human Development from Binghamton University and her Master's Degree in Social Work from Binghamton University in 2006. Ms. Hopkins is currently an LMSW in the state of NY with the hopes of being licensed in SC in the near future. Prior to coming to Winthrop, Ms. Hopkins taught at Binghamton University in the College of Community and Public Affairs, primarily in the Social Work Department, but also taking on class assignments in the Human Development and Student Affairs Programs. She has a decade worth of direct practice experience working as a medical social worker in hospice and home care, with the latter half being exclusively in bereavement counseling. Ms. Hopkins is very passionate about working with grief and loss and feels that it is something that society overlooks and believes in being a resource to community agencies and organizations as a support for loss and change. In social work education, Ms. Hopkins believes in developing the whole student.  Due to this belief, she incorporates self-care practices into the classroom, making sure students develop and engage in self- care practice prior to becoming practitioners. Through this incorporation, Ms. Hopkins hopes to help develop social workers whom are less apt to experience professional burnout.  

Kori Bloomquist, Ph.D., Associate Professor

Dr. Kori Bloomquist is an Associate Professor of Social Work and the academic advisor for the Child and Youth Well-being minor at Winthrop University.  She earned her BSW, MSW, and PhD in Social Work from Indiana University.  Prior to coming to Winthrop, Dr. Bloomquist taught for the Indiana University School of Social Work (IUSSW) on the Indianapolis campus.  She has over 10 years of direct practice experience in child welfare and additional practice experience in mental health, disability services, and gerontology.  Dr. Bloomquist's areas of scholarship include pre-adoptive placement disruption, adoption from foster care, state child welfare evaluation, Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), attitudes on poverty and social class, and social worker self-care and professional well-being.  Dr. Bloomquist served as research associate for the Title IV-E Waiver Evaluation Project with the IUSSW and Department of Pediatrics from 2012-2020 and as the Interim Director of Winthrop's MSW program in 2017-2018.  Dr. Bloomquist teaches at the BSW and MSW level.  Some of her areas of teaching expertise include generalist practice, leadership, and child welfare policy and practice.

Duane Neff, Ph.D., Associate Professor

Duane R. Neff is an associate professor who joined the Department of Social Work at Winthrop University in the fall of 2013. He received his PhD in social policy from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University, an MSW and BS in political science from Arizona State University. His work focuses on assessing and addressing community needs through organizational capacity and evidence-based interventions. His research focuses on understanding social problems in context with an aim towards developing appropriate programmatic and public policy responses. He currently serves as a Co-Principal Investigator for research and evaluation of the Medication-Assisted Treatment program addressing the opioid crisis in York County funded by the US Bureau of Justice Administration and the SC Department of Drug and Other Drug Abuse Services. Additionally, Dr. Neff is the Principal Investigator for the program evaluation of the Healthy People, Healthy Carolinas grant for Impact York County funded by the Duke Endowment. Lastly, he is a Veteran of the US Army Reserves’ Military Police Corps.

Joi Anderson, Ph.D., Assistant Professor

Dr. Joi Anderson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Social Work.  She received her BA in Psychology, and an MSW from Youngstown State University. She earned her PhD from the University of South Carolina. In addition, Dr. Anderson has extensive experience providing counseling for individuals and families. Her current research interests are in trauma, trauma-related cognitions, and the relationships between race, discrimination, and HIV stigma in creating inter-reliant systems of disadvantage for vulnerable and under-served populations. Dr. Anderson taught in the BSW and MSW programs in the College of Social Work at the University of South Carolina during, and after completion of her doctoral program. Prior to joining Winthrop, Dr. Anderson received a Post-Doctoral Fellowship in the Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior, in the Arnold School of Public Health.  Her most recent study examined social support as a mediator between Traumatic Life Events and Health Related Quality of Life (HRQOL) for PLHIV in China.  Courses taught by Dr. Anderson, at Winthrop, are Generalist Social Work Practice, Research Methods, and Social Policy.

Joshua Kirven, Ph.D., Associate Professor

Dr. Joshua Kirven is an associate professor in the Department of Social Work at Winthrop University. He is a research-practitioner with twenty years of experience as an educator. Dr. Kirven's research areas are fatherhood, neighborhood leadership and safety, public health, youth development and social entrepreneurism. He has an array of practice experience with micro solution-oriented interventions and macro programming across communities and public-private sectors. He is a Fulbright Scholar and graduate of Hampton University, University of South Carolina and The Ohio State University, respectively.  

Shira Culbreath, Admissions/Recruitment Coordinator & Instructor

To learn more about studying with Winthrop’s respected faculty to earn an online M.S.W. degree, please contact a program manager toll-free at 833/257-1704 with any questions or request more information today.