SocialWork@Simmons Student Life Update – Clinicians of Color Student Group

To highlight the supportive and collaborative community that awaits prospective SocialWork@Simmons students, we are publishing a series of blog posts that feature many of our student life offerings.

Professor Shari Robinson-Lynk has nearly 10 years of higher education teaching experience in social work ethics and cultural competence, community building and activism, and social justice and diversity. She focuses specifically on the lived experiences of marginalized communities of transgender, bisexual, lesbian, gay, queer, and intersex populations and people of color. Professor Robinson-Lynk comes to Simmons after living and working in Detroit, Michigan, for the past five decades.

Originally convened by Dr. Dana Grossman Leeman, Associate Dean for Online and Continuing Education, the Clinicians of Color group was created to provide support for online students of color and to provide a platform for them to engage in advocacy and education within the student and faculty community. 

Now under the leadership of Professor Robinson-Lynk, the group hosts meetings for a small but dedicated group of students. The purpose is to provide an affirming and supportive space for students to discuss the challenges of being in the numerical minority in many of their classrooms and field placements. 

In recent meetings, students shared their experiences of discussions in their Dynamics of Racism and Oppression course about police brutality. Students in the group expressed appreciation for having a place where they are free to express themselves without the challenge of monitoring their opinions or being held accountable to teach and inform their fellow classmates about their experiences with racism and oppression.

Though the group was organized for all students of color, only African American students have become involved thus far. For this reason, and because African Americans have a unique experience in the United States and on the Simmons campus, the students in the group proposed establishing an online chapter of the Association of Black Social Workers (ABSW) to complement the Clinicians of Color student group. Additional cultural affinity groups will be organized as students express a desire.

Professor Robinson-Lynk connected with the faculty advisor for the Simmons College School of Social Work on-ground ABSW chapter, Dean Cheryl Parks, as well as representatives from the National Association of Black Social Workers (NABSW). She said everyone expressed encouragement, excitement, and full support. Steps to garner official members and officers began this fall.

All self-identified students of color currently enrolled in the SocialWork@Simmons program are invited to participate in the Clinicians of Color group. Please reach out to Professor Robinson-Lynk if you are interested in participating. If you are a prospective student interested in learning more about the various student life offerings, read our recent blog post “SocialWork@Simmons Student Life Update: Creating a Sense of Community