During the annual Founders’ Day celebration, the University of Montevallo recognizes one faculty member who has shown exemplary strides in creativity, research and scholarship. This year, Dr. Jason Newell, professor and director of the social work program, was formally honored with the distinction of University Scholar during UM’s 122nd Founders’ Day on Oct. 11.
“Jason is a supremely worthy recipient of this honor. Within the very nature of his nationally-recognized research, he’s maintaining and strengthening the liberal arts tradition that UM is known for, reaching out and giving back at the same time,” said Dr. Jim Murphy, professor of English and the current chair of the University Scholar selection committee.
Newell’s most recent research focuses on the psychological impact of providing services to trauma populations on the providers themselves. He described this phenomenon in his textbook “Cultivating Professional Resilience: A Guide for Human Service Professionals.” The concept of professional resilience refers to the overall health and well-being of social workers and other human service professionals as they navigate the daily challenges of providing services to those who are vulnerable, oppressed or otherwise suffering in some way.
“The overarching goal of my research is to keep the human service workforce thriving and free of professional burnout and compassion fatigue,” said Newell. “I am just so grateful and humbled to be named a University Scholar and to be included in the ranks of such distinguished scholars before me.”
Newell received his B.A. in psychology from Auburn University and an M.S.W. and Ph.D. in social work from the University of Alabama. In 2008, Newell became a member of the social work faculty with the Behavioral and Social Sciences Department at the University of Montevallo.
Just five years after coming to UM, he received the College of Arts and Sciences 2013 Outstanding Commitment to Teaching Award and, in 2016, was named the Alabama-Mississippi Social Work Educator of the Year.
With more than 19 years of combined social work practice, research and education, Newell has been an invaluable asset to the young minds of UM seeking to learn more about the discipline. His specialty areas include clinical social work practice with the mentally ill; treatment of anxiety, trauma-related and mood disorders; self-care and professional resilience; practice with veterans and military families; and child welfare.
Newell has published his research in the “Journal of Trauma Violence and Abuse,” “Best Practices in Mental Health,” “International Journal of Psychiatry in Clinical Practice,” “Journal of Workplace and Behavioral Health,” “Journal of Social Work Education,” “Journal of Baccalaureate Social Work,” “Journal of Teaching in Social Work” and “Social Worker’s Desk Reference.”
During the Founders’ Day ceremonies on Oct. 11, Newell received a monetary award and commemorative plaque. His portrait will also permanently hang with other previous University Scholars in Carmichael Library.