Portrait of Schnavia Smith Hatcher

Schnavia Smith Hatcher, Ph.D., LCSW,

Dean, University of Alabama School of Social Work

A native of Selma, Alabama, Schnavia Smith Hatcher brings 25 years of experience in clinical social work practice, community-engaged research, and higher education to the University of Alabama School of Social Work, where she assumed the role as its eighth Dean in 2021. Hatcher is the first Black woman to serve as Dean since the school was established by the state Legislature in 1965 and is keen to advance its social justice and community well-being initiatives. 

Prior to UA, Hatcher was the inaugural director of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte’s School of Social Work from 2016 to 2021, where she also established and led the School’s Race and Social Equity Academy. Hatcher also founded the Center for African American Studies at the University of Texas at Arlington, the first one of its kind in north Texas, in 2012. Hatcher’s first tenured faculty position was at the University of Georgia, along with the administrative role of BSW Program Director. 

Hatcher’s scholarship has focused on issues of race, class, and social policy implications for the Black community specifically, and for the broader society generally. She has also continued to emphasize developing health promotion strategies for disenfranchised populations in social justice venues. Her research has been supported by the National Institutes of Health, the Health Resources and Services Administration, and the U.S. Department of Justice, among others. 

Hatcher currently serves as a Board Member at Large for the National Association of Deans and Directors of Schools of Social Work, where she chaired its Social Justice and Racial Violence Taskforce Committee and was a member of the Anti-Racism Statement Working Group. She was recently appointed to the Grand Challenges for Social Work Leadership Board, the Grand Challenges Executive Committee, and is chairperson of the Social Work Collective to Advance Research: Deans and Directors Group (SCoAR), formerly known as the St. Louis Group, Grand Challenges sub-committee. Hatcher is on the Board of Directors for the Black Belt Community Foundation, a member of Rotary International, and a Distinguished Fellow of the National Academies of Practice in Social Work.