“I participated in my first anti-apartheid protest when I was 12 years old. I think that was really a catalyst for me to start thinking about social change and how we can all have an impact on larger social and policy issues.
A few years later, my mother, then a professor at Lincoln University, accepted a Fulbright fellowship at the University of Zimbabwe, so I went to high school there. We literally lived on the doorstep of apartheid for three years. It was this exposure to drastic income disparities and seeing my classmates not return to school because they couldn’t afford it that solidified my interest in a career focused on social justice.
After finishing my master’s in sociology, I started working as a social worker in foster care. I became very passionate about programs and policies focused around youth development, so I returned to school to obtain a Master of Social Work.
To this day, my greatest place of passion is making higher education more accessible to everyone, including underrepresented and first-generation students. I feel that when people have access to education, they have access to hope and a future.
With social work, we’re able to look at community change and social justice as well as alleviating suffering at all levels—individual, familial and societal. Utah has a dearth of master’s-prepared social workers, and I want to see our profession grow, both regionally and nationally, so our students are ready and credentialed to help.
My first five months at the U have been great. The people are incredibly friendly and supportive. I’m excited to be here and am looking forward to onboarding our inaugural class of the online Master of Social Work Program in fall of 2020.”
—Tiffany Baffour, director, Master of Social Work Program, and associate professor