The Ohio State University at Newark

Ohio State Newark Social Work Lecturer Teaches Diversity Inside and Outside of the Classroom

NEWARK, Ohio, February 2, 2017 – The career of Ohio State University at Newark Social Work Lecturer and Field Education Coordinator Penny Carroll, MSW, LSW, has come full circle. Fresh out of graduate school, Carroll received her first job at the Licking County Department of Job & Family Services’ Child Protective Services. She then spent more than 20 years working in the field of social work for various organizations in Franklin County. Now she’s back to Licking County where it all began. Carroll is using her years of training and real-world experience to teach the next generation of social workers on the Newark campus.

“I never imagined that I would be a university lecturer. It was not my intention,” said Carroll. “I love giving back. I’ve been in the social work field for 23 years. Now is my time to instruct, encourage and mentor students. I enjoy letting them research and apply their findings to social work practice. It is a pleasure identifying the student’s internship and helping them start their professional careers.”

Social work is one of nine undergraduate majors and two graduate majors that can be completed at Ohio State Newark. Carroll teaches social work elective courses — Adolescent Parenthood and Sexuality: An International Perspective and Minority Perspectives: Race, Ethnicity and Gender — to upperclassmen of all majors. She draws on her past employment at places like Grant Medical Center and Columbus Public Health, as well as current committee memberships with The Ohio Collaboration to Prevent Infant Mortality, Central Ohio Coalition on Adolescent Sexual Health Adolescent and The Ohio State University Group on Health Equity to bring current, local statistics to the classroom.

“My desire is that students receive a well-rounded exposure of what’s going on outside the walls of the classroom and outside the pages of a textbook,” she said. “Knowing history is valuable, and it’s also important to tie it into what’s happening in the 21st Century.”

Despite her title, Carroll does more than lecture. She recently teamed up with the Office of Multicultural Affairs Program Manager Vorley Taylor to initiate a Multicultural Speaker Series on campus. She also uses research, classroom dialogue and discussions, documentary films and group activities to teach and address important current events that will have a lasting impact on the future of her students. With national movements centered on race relations, there is never a lack of content for discussion.

Overcoming one’s own biases, prejudices and acknowledging learned behaviors is an important part of Carroll’s instruction. “I don’t want a student in my class to feel they are boxed in. I don’t want their vision to be tunneled. I want it to be expanded,” she said.

Her mission is to teach students that compassion, character and integrity are important. “We’re here to serve and empower people – all people. Social work is the helping profession.”

But, diversity isn’t just about color, said Carroll. She also examines gender, age, religion, social class and more underserved populations. Locally, she took students out of the classroom to experience diversity firsthand. Carroll believes Licking County is a good place to research diversity, but you have to find it. She found it at St. Vincent Haven, a men’s homeless shelter.

“I really wanted to dispel some of the stereotypes, myths and perceptions that students would think about a homeless person they saw on the street,” said Carroll. “What was very impactful for me was the most homeless men that come to St. Vincent Haven are not from a family history of homelessness. They are educated people, have families that love and support them and have fallen on hard times.”

When she’s not teaching, Carroll is still working on exposing others to diversity and culture. She owns B inspired 2 Dance Company, a faith-based dance company that teaches creative and interpretive dance inspired through creative art, poetry and music.

Carroll’s story is featured in the annual Ohio State Newark Progress Report. You can find the entire Progress Report online by clicking here

The Ohio State University at Newark offers an academic environment that’s challenging but supportive with world-renowned professors and access to Ohio State’s more than 200 majors. It’s where learning comes to life. Research, study abroad and service learning opportunities prepare students for their careers in ways they never expected.