Faculty and Staff Profiles

Lamont D. Simmons
Asst Professor, Social Work
Email: ldsmmons@memphis.edu
Office Location: 105 Browning Hall
Office Hours: By Appointment

An educator with experience teaching social work courses; student-centered teacher who infuses critical inquiry with instructional support with the aim of fostering intellectual development; capable of helping students maximize their academic success; enjoy helping students negotiate their academic experiences; particular interest in first-generation, racial minorities, and academically disadvantaged students.

Research Interests

  • Student experiences in social work education
  • Child welfare
  • Transformative learning
  • Academic persistence and retention
  • Racial disparities

Personal Motto

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).

Additional Information

  • EdD Higher and Adult Education - University of Memphis - 2013
  • MSW Social Work - Aurora University - 1999

Work Experience

  • Assistant Professor, Department of Social Work - University of Memphis - August 2014 - Present
  • Lecturer, Department of Social Work - University of Memphis - August 2012 - May 2014
  • 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

Teaching Experience

  • 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 Practice 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

Creative Activities

  • National Association of Social Workers (NASW) - 2014 - Present -   -  
  • Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) - 2014 - Present -   -  
  • Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) - 2014 - Present -   -  
  • The International Black Doctoral Network Association (IBDNA) - 2012 - 2013 -   -  
  • Qualitative Inquiry Circle (QUIC) - 2011 - 2013 - University of Memphis, College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences, Counseling, Educational and Psychological Research -  


  • Defending Childhood Initiative (Network for Overcoming Violence and Abuse) - United States Department of Justice -   - Ongoing


  • DCS Evaluation Project - MSW/MSSW Title IV-E Participants - Ongoing - Tennessee Department of Children Services
  • University of Memphis, Undergraduate Programs - Undergraduate Curriculum Council - August 2014 - Present
  • University of Memphis, Department of Social Work - Faculty Search Committee - April 2014 - June 2014
  • University of Memphis, Department of Social Work - Student Social Work Organization (SSWO) - Faculty Advisor - August 2013 - Present
  • 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 - Reviewer (Manuscript ID# - JNE11022) - July 2014
  • Journal of Negro Education - Reviewer (Manuscript ID# - JNE14058) - July 2011
Journal Articles
  • Simmons, L.D. (in progress). College-level curricula as a necessary evil: Examining the criticality of advanced placement courses on college persistence among African American males.
  • Simmons, L.D. (2013). Factors of persistence for African American men in a student support organization. Journal of Negro Education, 82(1), 62-74.
  • 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.
  • Simmons, L.D. (2013, November). On being a successful college student. Presented to undergraduate residents of Rawls Hall at the University of Memphis. 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. 
Appendix B - Student Advising/Mentoring
  •      2014-2015     Cherry Malone, LMSW - Teaching mentor with a focus on helping to develop and deliver the graduate course Child Welfare Best Practices.
  •      2014-2015     Field Liaison for 4 undergraduate students.
  •      2013-2014     Field Liaison for 5 undergraduate students and 1 graduate student.
  •      2012-2013     Field Liaison for 4 undergraduate students and 2 graduate students.
Appendix C - Research/Scholarship/Creative Activities
  • 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.  In this study, I sought to understand how African American male undergraduates persist at a predominantly white college.  Interactionalist Theory (Tinto, 1975) and the Conceptual Model of Black Student Attrition (Bennett & Bean, 1984) were helpful in framing this study.  I conducted semi-structured interviews to understand how 11 African American males were persisting in college.  I also employed the critical incident technique to learn about the obstacles these students encountered in their educational paths.  I produced these seven themes after analyzing the data:  (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.  These findings serve as a reference for higher education administrators, faculty, and professional staff with an interest in promoting undergraduate African American male persistence in higher education.  Important to me is how the findings can aid parents and young African American males with aspirations to attend college; equipping them with the necessary tools for being successful in evolving postsecondary learning environments.
  • Factors of Persistence for African American Men in a Student Support Organization
    In this study, I examined factors of persistence for African American males involved in an ethnic-based student organization at a predominantly white university.  The participants were undergraduate student members of Project Empowerment (pseudonym), a campus-based organization developed to enhance African American male retention.  I conducted in-depth 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.  An important finding from this study revealed that the components of Project Empowerment support African American male persistence.  The findings also showed the need for ethnic-based programs for African American males on predominantly white campuses, and for colleges to encourage program participation among this student group.

  • The Uphill Climb - Media Interview
    In June 2012, I was interviewed by journalist Pearl Stewart from Diverse Magazine, and asked to give my 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, or from the following link: http://mydigimag.rrd.com/publication/?i=117394