New professor Lisa Moore is already making waves in the social work department.
Moore currently teaches courses on human sexuality, so-ial work and social welfare. Her research focuses heavily on areas that apply to teaching social work. She also focuses on research methods that tie together the study of social work and real life applications, inspired by her private practice experience. She is especially interested in social work topics that affect families of color.
Before coming to St. Olaf, Moore had her fair share of experiences in education and social work. After obtaining a B.A. at Davidson College, she went on to earn her master’s degree at Smith College and her doctoral degree at the California Institute of Integral Studies.
Afterwards, she held various positions in higher education, the most prominent being Assistant Dean of Multicultural Affairs at Reed College in Oregon and Clinical Assistant Pro- fessor at the Boston University School of Social Work. While teaching at Boston, she also worked as a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker, enabling her to establish her own private practice where she provided individual, couples and family therapy, with a special focus on families, women of color and LGBT populations.
Aside from her classes, Moore is currently writing papers on the intersection of race and psychoanalysis. In addition, she is developing a new research project that examines how community activism functions as a social and emotional support for activists. Next summer, she plans to conduct research that focuses on creating resources for pregnant African-American mothers.
Moore believes that what she is doing now will enable her to find out how the social work major can prepare students for various leadership positions in social work fields. In the meantime, she hopes that students will show interest in issues of social work and social policy as well as the history and structures that have shaped efforts to support people who are vulnerable in society.
“I hope that they will be passionate about these things. But, I also expect them to be very self-reflective and take the time to be aware of what their role is in society and the positions that they hold with regard to their identity, status or capaci- ties,” Moore said.
In her opinion, social work students have to be hopeful but also patient, since changing a system can take longer than expected.
“I think a lot of people go into social work with the hope that they can really change the way systems affect the people. But once you’re actually doing the work, you will find that it takes a lot of time and effort to understand the whole bureaucracy,” she said.
Moore has been very impressed with the genuine hospitality shown to her by everyone at St. Olaf, a stark contrast to the cynical atmosphere she faced for over six years at Boston.
She says that St. Olaf is a nice change of scenery from teaching graduate students at Boston.
“St. Olaf students are still much more hopeful and open to learning new things. They are willing to take the risks at class, in terms of admitting when they don’t know something,” she said.
Further, she likes that Oles are very forthcoming to new faculty members who are trying to understand how things work on the Hill by providing them with a lot of positive input.
“Eventually, I hope that I can figure out where my place is in St. Olaf, in terms of serving all the students well,” Moore said. We bid you welcome, Prof. Moore! And we expect nothing less than the best from you on the Hill. Um Ya Ya!