An educator with experience teaching undergraduate and graduate social work courses; passionate about challenging and supporting college students; strong interest in mentoring first-generation, racial minorities, and academically disadvantaged college students; enjoy examining how students negotiate their academic and social experience toward their educational purposes; capable of helping students maximize their academic success.
Commit (to the process), strive (to the end), persist (in spite of opposition), succeed (beyond your intentions), and share (what you've learned in the process).
- EdD Higher and Adult Education - University of Memphis - 2013
- MSW Social Work - Aurora University - 1999
- Lecturer, Department of Social Work - University of Memphis - August 2012 - Present
- Professional Development Specialist, Division of Social Work, Child Welfare Training Center - University of Memphis - April 2007 - June 2012
- Therapist/Project Director, W. Memphis, AR - Life Strategies of Arkansas, LLC - February 2005 - April 2007
- Outstanding Student Award - University of Memphis, College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences, Department of Leadership - 2012
- Dempsey and Elvire Chalmers Scholarship - University of Memphis, College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences, Department of Leadership, Higher and Adult Education - 2010
- SWRK 7009 - Child Welfare Best Practices - University of Memphis
- SWRK 4933 - Directed Independent Study - University of Memphis
- SWRK 4841 - Integrative Field Seminar II - University of Memphis
- SWRK 4840 - Integrative Field Seminar I (Invited Guest Lecturer) - University of Memphis
- SWRK 3930 - Introduction to Social Work Research - University of Memphis
- SWRK 3904 - Social Work Practicum II (Families and Groups) - University of Memphis
- SWRK 3902 - Human Behavior and the Social Environment - University of Memphis
- SWRK 2010 - Introduction to Social Work - University of Memphis
- Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) - January 2014 - Present -   -
- The International Black Doctoral Network Association (IBDNA) - May 2012 - Present -   -
- Qualitative Inquiry Circle (QUIC) - September 2011 - May 2013 - University of Memphis, College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences, Counseling, Educational and Psychological Research -
- University of Memphis, Department of Social Work - Student Social Work Organization Faculty Advisor - August 2013 - Ongoing
- University of Memphis, Leadership Programs - The LeaderShape Institute® - May 2013
- University of Memphis, Department of Social Work - Faculty Search Committee - March 2013 - April 2013
- University of Memphis, Department of Social Work - Faculty Governance Document Workgroup - September 2012 - Present
- University of Memphis, Department of Leadership - Faculty Search Committee - April 2011 - May 2011
- Journal of Negro Education - Manuscript Reviewer - July 2011
- Simmons, L.D. (2013). Factors of persistence for African American men in a student support organization. Journal of Negro Education, 82(1), 62-74.
Appendix C - Research/Scholarship/Creative Activities
- Simmons, L.D. (2014, March). African American male persistence at a predominantly white institution.
Presented to the University of Memphis Division of Student Affairs, Spring
Break 2014 Professional Development Challenge. Memphis, TN.
- Walker, P.E., Stitts, R, & Simmons, L.D. (2012, May). Best retention practices for first-generation students. Presented at Memphis in May Student Affairs Conference. Memphis, TN.
- Simmons, L.D. (2011, September). Cultural awareness for resource parents. Presented at the Tennessee Foster and Adoptive Care Association Grand West Regional Conference. Memphis, TN.
- Simmons, L.D. (2010, October). Cultural awareness for resource parents. Presented at the Tennessee Foster and Adoptive Care Association Shelby Regional Conference. Memphis, TN.
- Simmons, L.D. (2008, October). Behavior disorders in childhood. Presented to Memphis' Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Memphis, TN.
- Schneider, G., & Simmons, L.D. (2008, September). Behavior and emotional disorders in childhood. Tennessee Foster and Adoptive Case Association Statewide Conference. Nashville, TN.
Navigating the Path toward Graduation: A Qualitative Case Study of African American Male Persistence at a Predominantly White Institution
While higher education personnel continue to be challenged in fostering student persistence, they are especially perplexed with how to promote higher persistence and retention rates among African American males. This qualitative research study sought to understand how African American male undergraduate students persist at a predominantly white institution. Interactionalist theory (Tinto, 1975) and the Conceptual Model of Black Student Attrition (Bennett & Bean, 1984) were helpful in framing this study. Semi-structured interviews were conducted to understand how African American males persist in higher education. The critical incident technique was used to learn about obstacles these men encounter in their educational paths. Data analysis produced these seven themes: (1) exposure to a rigorous high school curriculum, (2) encouragement or inspiration is essential, (3) having a sense of motivation, (4) educational aspirations beyond a bachelor's degree, (5) involvement in campus-based organizations, (6) connecting with minority faculty and staff, and (7) determined to overcome obstacles. The study serves as a reference for higher education administrators, faculty, and staff with an interest in promoting African American men to persist in higher education. The study can also aid parents and young African American males with aspirations to attend college; equipping them with tools for being successful in higher education environments.
Factors of Persistence for African American Men in a Student Support Organization
This study examined factors of persistence for African American men involved in the Project Empowerment (PE) [pseudonym] student organization at a predominantly white institution. The participants were undergraduate student members of PE, a campus-based organization developed to enhance African American male retention. The researcher conducted interviews with two participants, and analyzed the data verbatim uncovering these four themes: (a) college preparedness, (b) high aspirations and goals, (c) social connections and relationships, and (d) growth through student organizational commitment. The study found that components of PE support African American male persistence. The findings implicate the need for ethnic-based programs for African American men, and for institutions to encourage program participation among this student group.
- The Uphill Climb - Media Interview
In June 2012, Dr. Simmons was interviewed by journalist Pearl Stewart from Diverse Magazine, and asked to give his perspective on how the presence of African American and Hispanic faculty in higher education impact student retention. The interview can be found at Diverse Magazine, July 5, 2012, Volume 29, No. 11, p. 16, http://mydigimag.rrd.com/publication/?i=117394 .