Dr. Cheryl Waites Spellman is a Professor at UNC Charlotte School of Social Work and the former Dean of the Wayne State University, School of Social Work. She has been recently appointed as the Special Assistant to the Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion at UNC Charlotte.
She has held a variety of leadership and administrative appointments. She is a graduate of the Harvard Institutes for Higher Education’s Management and Leadership in Higher Education Institute, 2011, and the Management Development Program, 2005. She is a recipient of the
Council on Social Work Education’s Summer Leadership Scholarship Award, 2011. October 2010 she received the Outstanding Dean in Aging award, from the Hartford Partnership Program for Aging Education, Social Work Leadership Institute of the New York Academy of Medicine. In addition Dr. Waites Spellman has served on several community and national boards and has been a supervisor and program director at several human services organizations.
Dr. Waites Spellman is a Hartford Geriatric Social Work Faculty Scholar and a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of American – the largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to research, education, and practice in the field of aging. Her research areas include Health
disparities, healthy aging, long distance caregiving, intergenerational relationships, African American families, culturally appropriate and responsive practice, leadership and community-based participatory research. She has also studied promising practices for enhancing
gerontological social work education and training. Her expertise is in the areas of designing and evaluating practice applications and applied research.
Dr. Waites Spellman’s book, Social Work Practice with African American Families: An Intergenerational Perspective, provides an approach for understanding multi-generational families. Dr. Waites Spellman, and colleagues, have recently published a book titled Gerontological Social Work and the Grand Challenges: Focusing on Policy and Practice (2019). This edited volume uses the Social Work Grand Challenges initiative as a framework for addressing critical policies and issues pertaining to older adults and their families.
Dr. Waites Spellman has numerous publications in refereed journals, and has written several book chapters, teaching/training books and technical reports. Dr. Waites Spellman has also presented her research at numerous international, national and regional conferences. She is
also a recipient of the NC State University Outstanding teaching award in 2005.
Degrees and Certifications
- EdD, Counselor Education, North Carolina State University
- MSW, Fordham University, School of Social Services
- BA, Sociology, Hunter College, CUNY
- Fellow, of the Institute on Aging and Social Work Research, St. Scholastica College and the National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health Education
- LMSW– Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Michigan License #6801101872
- Institute on Aging and Social Work Research, St. Scholastica College and the National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, Fellow, 2004 – 2005
- Management and Leadership in Higher Education, Harvard Institutes for Higher Education, 2011
- Management Development Program, Harvard Institutes for Higher Education, 2005
- Bridges, Academic Leadership for Women, UNC Chapel Hill, 2000
APPOINTMENTS AND AWARDS
- Appointed to the Mecklenburg County COVID-19 Recovery and Renewal Task Force, 2020
- Appointed to the Mayor’s Summit on Health Equity in Detroit – Conference Planning Committee, 2015-2016
- Michigan Area Health Education Center Executive Advisory Board, 2011 –2015
- White House Briefing: Addressing the Social Determinants of Health, Invited Participant, September 2013
- Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute for Children and Family Development, Advisory Board member,2011 – 2017
- Appointed to the Michigan State Advisory Council on Aging, 2008-2010
- Appointed to the Council on Social Work Education Commission on Accreditation, 2006-2012; Executive Committee, 2011- 2012
- Elected to the Council on Social Work Education Board of Directors, 2003-2006; Executive Committee, 2005-2006
- Elected to the National Association of Social Workers, North Carolina Chapter, Board of Directors, Member-At-Large, 2000-2002
- Appointed to National Association of Social Work, North Carolina Chapter, Chair of the Diversity Committee, 1999-2002
Awards and Honors (selected)
- Fellow of the Gerontological Society of American, 2017 – present
- Selected to participate in the Leadership Academy in Aging, Social Work Leadership Institute of the New York Academy of Medicine, 2012 – 2013
- Received the Outstanding Dean in Aging Hartford Partnership Program for Aging Education Leadership Award, Social Work Leadership Institute of the New York Academy of Medicine, October 2010
ADMINISTRATIVE AND ACADEMIC APPOINTMENTS
- Special Assistant to the Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion, 2020 – present
- Dean, School of Social Work, Wayne State University, June 2012 – August 2017
- Interim Dean, School of Social Work, Wayne State University, October 2011 – May 2012
- Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, School of Social Work, Wayne State University, August 2007- September 2011
- Associate Head, Department of Social Work, North Carolina State University, 2005-2007
- Director of Graduate Programs, (MSW Program Director) Department of Social Work, North Carolina State University, 2004-2007
- Assistant Head (but first Director / Coordinator), Department of Social Work, North Carolina State University, 1996 -2005
- Professor, School of Social Work, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 2018 – present
- Professor, School of Social Work, Wayne State University, 2011-2018
- Associate Professor, School of Social Work, Wayne State University, 2007-2011
- Associate Professor, Department of Social Work, North Carolina State University, 1999-2007
- Assistant Professor, Social Work Program, North Carolina State University, 1993-1999
- Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, Social Work and Criminal Justice, UNC Pembroke, 1987-1993
SCHOLARSHIP AND PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES
- Health disparities, healthy aging, long distance caregiving, intergenerational relationships, African American families, culturally appropriate and responsive practice, leadership and community-based participatory research
- Sanders, S., Kolomer, S. Waites-Spellman, C., & Rizzo, V. (2019). Gerontological Social Work and the Grand Challenges: Focusing on Policy and Practice. New York, NY: Springer Publishing
- Waites, C. (Ed) (2008). Social Work Practice with African American families: An intergenerational perspective. New York: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group.
Refereed Journals (selected)
- Vakalahi, H.F.O., Countee-Gilliam, C., McPhatter, A., Washington, E.M., & Waites, C. (2017). Women of color pipeline to academic leadership. Advancing Women in Leadership.
- Waites, C. and Onolemhemhen, D. (2014). Perceptions of healthy aging among African-American and Ethiopian elders. Ageing International. 39, 4, 369-384.
- Martin, F, Waites, C., Pratt Hopp, F., Agius., E & Sobeck, J., (2013). Enhancing aging services through evidence-based health promotion: A training for service providers. Journal of Evidence-Based Social Work. 10, 5, 482-93.
- Afonso, N., Mendez, J., O’Connell, M., Bugdalski-Stutrud, C. ,Smith, G., Waites, C., Bowers, C., Bruer, S., (2013). Experiential Interprofessional Education using an Older Adult Home Visit. Medical Science Educator. 23, 583-586.
- Waites, C. (2013). Examining the Perceptions, Preferences, and Practices that Influence Healthy Aging for African American Older Adults: An Ecological Perspective. Journal of Applied Gerontology. 32, 7, 851-871.
- Hancock, T., Waites, C., & Kladaris, C. (2012). Facing the realities of structural inequality: Students’ orientations to oppression and practice with oppressed groups. Journal of Social Work Education. 48,1,5-25.
- Casstevens, W. J., Waites, C. C., & Outlaw, N. (2012). Non-traditional student retention: Exploring perceptions of support in a Social Work graduate program. Social Work Education. 31 (3). 256-268. DOI: 10.1080/02615479.2011.556188.
- Waites, C. (2009). Building on Strengths: Intergenerational Practice with African American Families. Social Work. 54,3, 278-287.
- Waites, C., (2008). Health promotion activities in six African American churches in a southeastern community. African American Research Perspectives,12, 1, 130-149.
- Waites, C., & Bearon, L. (2007). Cross-professional partnerships: Innovation in continuing education for social workers and extension educators. Educational Gerontology, 33, 10, 833-853.
- Waites, C. (2007). Grandparents communicating with grandchildren: Fostering intergenerational understanding. Journal of Health and Social Policy,22, ¾, 149-165.
- Waites, C., & Lee, E. O. (2007). Strengthening aging content in the baccalaureate social work curricula: What students have to say? Journal of Gerontological Social Work, 48, 1/2.
- Lee, E., & Waites, C. (2006). Infusing aging content across the curriculum: Innovations in Baccalaureate social work education. Journal of Social Work Education, 42, 1, 49-66.
- Chavis-McCullough, A. M., & Waites, C. (2004). Using genograms with African American families: Identifying culturally linked strengths for assessment and action. Journal of Family Social Work, 8, 2, 1-19.
- Waites, C., Macgowan, M., Pennell, J., Carlton- LaNey, I., & Weil, M. (2004). Increasing the cultural responsiveness of family group conferencing: Advancing child welfare practice. Social Work, 49, 2, 291-300.
- Waites, C., Gold M., Green, M., Seagroves, M., & Walls, D. (2002). A case of program assessment and renewal: Building partnerships with social work advisory councils. Arête, 26, 2, 72-83.
- Brown, T., & Waites, C. (2002). Mentorship: what it can do for you, The New Social Worker, 9, 1, 30-35.
- Waites, C. (2001). Patchwork quilts: A tool for promoting cultural understanding, community, and social advocacy. Journal of Baccalaureate Social Work. 7, 1, 27-35.
- Waites, C. (2000). Assessing generalist problem-solving skills: An outcome measure. Journal of Baccalaureate Social Work, 6, 1, 67 –79.
- Murray, J., & Waites, C. (1997). Social work practice in Barbados: Observations from two American practitioners. The Black Caucus, 2, 3, 13-17.
Book Chapters (selected)
- Waites-Spellman, C. (in press). Social Work Practice with African American Families: Social An Afrocentric Intergenerational Solidarity Model. In Rapp-McCall, L., Corcoran, K., Roberts, B., (Eds), Social Workers’ Desk Reference, 4th Edition. Oxford University Press.
- Thomas, M. L., Conner, L., Lee, O., Waites-Spellman, C. (2019). End homelessness. In Sanders, S., Kolomer, S. Waites-Spellman, C., & Rizzo, V. (Eds), Gerontological Social Work and the Grand Challenges: Focusing on Policy and Practice. New York, NY: Springer Publishing.
- Waites, C., Kaiser, A., Martin, F., (2014). Health promotion for African American elders: Church is the likely place. In Halaevalu F. Ofahengaue Vakalahi, & Gaynell M. Simpson, & Nancy Giunta. (Eds), The Collective Spirit of Aging Across Cultures. Springer Science and Business Media publisher.
- Waites, C. (2001). Victoria Earle Matthews: Residence and reform. In I. Carlton-LaNey (Ed.), African American leadership in social welfare history: An empowerment tradition. Washington, DC: NASW Press.
- Waites, C., & Carlton-LaNey, I. (1999). Returning to rural roots: African American return migrant’s use of senior centers. In I. Carlton-LaNey, R. Edwards & N. Reid (Eds.) Preserving and strengthening small towns and rural communities. (pp.236-248). Washington, DC: NASW Press.
- Waites, C. (1998). It takes an entire village: Our children are our future. In Black family summit 1998, Columbia, South Carolina: University Press.
- Waites, C. (1990). The tradition of group work and natural helping networks in the African American community. In D. F. Fike & B. Ritter (Eds.), Working from strengths: The essence of group work, selected proceedings from the twelfth annual symposium for the advancement of social work with groups, (pp. 211‑224). Miami Florida: Center for Group Work Studies.
Grants and Contracts – External (Selected)
- Co-Investigator, Mecklenburg County Resiliency in Communities After Stress and Trauma (ReCAST) Evaluation (2018-2023). Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA) funded. Funded $709,761 subcontract with Mecklenburg County Public Health Department. Total program budget: $5,000. The ReCAST program promotes resilience and equity in communities that have recently faced civil unrest through implementation of evidence-based, violence prevention, and community youth engagement programs, as well as linkages to trauma-informed behavioral health services. The program’s goal is for local community entities to work together in ways that lead to improved behavioral health, empowered community residents, reductions in trauma, and sustained community change.
- Co-Principal Investigator, Detroit Area Agency on Aging contract, Research on Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities (NORCS) For Older Adults. Award $6,712. Awarded 2015.
- Co-Principal Investigator, Arthur Vining Davis Foundations grant. Project title: Older Adult Home Visit Program. Award $124,000 for 2012 – 2013.
- Co-Principal Investigator, Home Instead Senior Care Foundation grant. Project title: Older Adult Home Visit Program: Fostering Interprofessionalism. Introduce medical, pharmacy and social work students to the concept of a multidisciplinary approach to patient care. Award $5,000 for 2011-2012.
- Principal Investigator (with Sobeck, J., & Agius, E.) Detroit Area Agency on Aging grant. Project title: Service Provider Enhancement Project. Provided training and consultation on evidenced –based health promotion to service providers in the Detroit aging network. Award $60,000, for 2009- 2010.
- Principal Investigator, John A. Hartford Geriatric Social Work Faculty Scholars Program. Administered by the Gerontological Society of America and is a component of the national Geriatric Social Work Initiative. Project title: Promising Health Promotion Strategies and Interventions: Social Work Practice with Racial and Ethnic Elders. Conducted research study in North Carolina and Detroit Michigan. Award $100,000 for 2006-2008.
- Principal Investigator for a Title IV-E Child Welfare Grant received from the North Carolina Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse. Project title: Diversity Institute to Train North Carolina Undergraduate Social Work Students in Principles and Practices of Effective, Cross Cultural Services that Nurture and Protect Children and Preserve Families. Planned and carried out a one –day Diversity Institute, with a three month follow-up contact. Conducted an evaluation and study to explore how BSW programs address diversity across the state. Award $22,900, for 1999-2000.
- Co-Principal Investigator of a Title IV –E Child Welfare Grant funded by the North Carolina Division of Social Services. The project title: Family Group Conferencing. Provided training, implementation and evaluation for the Family Group Conferencing model in North Carolina. Award $1,066,566 for 1998-2001
Research, Grants and Awards – Internal (selected)
Principal Investigator, UNC Charlotte Faculty Research Grant -university competitive award. The Project Title: Long Distance Caregiving. Award $8,000 for 2018 – 2019.
Conference Papers – Refereed (selected)
- Ntiri, D., Waites Spellman, C., (2020, November). Older African Americans and Health Literacy in Urban Communities. Accepted for presentation at the American Association for Adult and Continuing Education.
- Waites Spellman, C., Ntiri, D., (2018, July). Helping Older African American Adults Thrive: Their Strategies to Promote Health Aging. Presented to the 2018 Healthy Aging Summit The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Women’s Health, and the American College of Preventive Medicine, July 16-17, 2018 Washington, DC.
- Hopp, F., Perry, T., Waites, C., Kluz, C., Keys, F., Najor-Durack, A., Rorai, V. (2016, January). Meeting the Grand Challenge of Health Equity By Promoting Urban Aging and Health: Development of an Affinity Group Research Model . Presented to Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR).
- Vakalahi, H., Waites, C., McPhatter, A., Washington, E. (2014, October). Cultivating a Pipeline for Women of Color Leaders and Administrators in Academia. Council on Social Work Education, Annual Program Meeting, Tamps Florida.
- Waites, C., Bowers, C. (2012, October). Preparing Students for Future Workforce Roles on Interprofessional Team Work. Council on Social Work Education, Annual Program Meeting, Washington, DC.
- Waites, C. & Martin, F. (2009, October). Health promotion for African American elders: Determining strategies and intervention for an urban environment. Gerontological Society of America’s, 62ndAnnual Scientific Meeting, Atlanta, Georgia.
- Taliaferro, J., Leach, M., Waites. C. & Decuir, J. (2007, April). Making it on broken pieces: An examination of the experiences of Hurricane Katrina evacuees in Slidell, Louisiana. Urban Affairs Association 37th Annual Meeting, Seattle, Washington.
- Zuiches, J., Waites, C., Lloyd, C., & Aderhold, D. (2007, March). Extension engagement and economic development in urban communities: Establishing a network that leads to increased community engagement, interdisciplinary collaboration, research and scholarship opportunities. Extension Conference 2007, Raleigh, North Carolina.
- Leach, M. & Waites, C. (2007, February). Women as leaders: Demystifying the chilly climate. Council on Social Work Education, Leadership Seminar, Charleston, South Carolina.
- Bearon, L., Campbell, R., Berry, L., Calhoun, A., Cameron, S., Cooper, J. & Waites, C. (2006, March). Grandparents raising grandchildren. National Smart Start Conference, Greensboro, North Carolina.
- Waites, C., & Bearon, L., (2005, October). Community-capacity building for family caregiving: An innovative interdisciplinary approach. 4th Annual North Carolina Conference on Aging, New Bern, North Carolina.
- Chavis-McCullough, A. M., & Waites, C. (2002, October). Using genograms with African American families: Identifying culturally linked strengths for assessment and action. Diversity Conference, University of South Carolina. Charleston, South Carolina.
- Waites, C. (1999, November). A case of program assessment and renewal: Building partnerships with social work advisory councils. 17th Annual Baccalaureate Program Directors’ Conference, St. Louis, Missouri.
- Pennell, J., Burford, G., Macgowan, M., Waites, C., & Weil, M., (1999, May). Partnership‑building evaluation in Newfoundland/Labrador and North Carolina. Family Group Decision Making Roundtable and International Conference on Evaluating Family Group Decision Making, American Humane Association Conference, Seattle, Washington.
- Waites, C. (1997, March). It takes an entire village to raise a child: Our children are our future. National Black Family Summit, College of Social Work, University of South Carolina.
Keynote or Invited Speaker
- Sanders, S, Kolomer, S., Waites, C., and Rizzo, V. (2017, October). Gero-Ed Kick-off : Intergenerational Relationships: A Tool to Closing the Health Gap. Council on Social Work Education, Annual Program Meeting, Gero-Ed Track, Dallas Texas. Peer reviewed.
- Gregoire, T., Nissen, L., Scheyett, A., and Waites, C. (2017, April). Panel Presentation. Developing a positive agenda for social work programs under the new administration – Keeping to our core values and finding ways to move forward. National Association of Deans and Directors of Social Work, Newport Beach, CA. (Invited Speaker).
- Waites, C. (2009, March). Healthy aging for African American elders: Strategies and interventions. The Sixth Distinguished Social Work Black Family Lecture, Fayetteville State University Department of Social Work & The Office of Sponsored Research Programs, Fayetteville, North Carolina. (Keynote Speaker)
International Presentations and Field Research (selected)
- Waites, C., with other participants (2001, July). Exploration of social work practice and social welfare policy in Ghana, West Africa. Baccalaureate Program Directors First International Conference and Field Research in Ghana, West Africa.
- Macgowan, M. J., Waites, C., Carlton-LaNey, I., Brice, T., Koball, G., & Hardison, J. (2000, April). Culturally responsive programming for family group conferences. Open Space Technology Session at the Third International Forum on Family Group Conferencing, Winchester, Hampshire, England.
- Waites, C. & Murray, J. (1995, July). The role and responsibility of Black social workers in developing countries. Presenter and Panelist, University of West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, Department of Government, Sociology, and Social Work, Cave Hill Barbados West Indies. (Conducted two weeks of exploratory research in Barbados West Indies to explore the role of social workers and to identify culturally relevant, empowerment oriented social service delivery systems).
Lectures, Seminars and Other Presentations (selected)
- Marsack, C. & Waites, C. (2013, October) Exploring the contexts and realities of aging for African American Elders in an Urban Context. Wayne State University, Institute of Gerontology.
- Waites, C. (2008, February). Healthy aging: The voices of African American elders. Institute on Gerontology, Research Colloquia, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan.
- Waites, C. (2002, October). What is culturally competent practice? How do we attain it? Workshop and presentation at the North Carolina Family Based Services Conference. Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. (Refereed)
- Waites, C. (2001, March). Amplify your voice: Social work advocacy for human and civil rights. The National Association of Social Workers, North Carolina Chapter, Regional Conference, panel participant. Winston Salem, North Carolina.
EDITORIAL ACTIVITIES (SELECTED)
- Journal of Urban Social Work, Editorial Board, 2016 – present
- Journal of Social Work Education, Consulting Editor, 2012 – 2016
- Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research, Reviewer, 2014 – present
- Journal of Ethnic and Cultural Diversity in Social Work, Editorial Board, 2007- present
- Journal of Applied Gerontology, Editorial Board, 2007-2009, Consulting Editor, 2007-present
ACADEMIC AND RELATED PROJECTS AND ACTIVITIES
Wayne State University (WSU) Leadership and Service (Selected)
- Law School Dean Search, Chair – 2016 – 2017
- WSU Strategic Planning Committee, 2014 – 2015
- College of Nursing Dean Search, Chair – 2013 – 2014
- WSU Council of Deans, May-August 2010; July 2011-present
- Coleman Young Endowed Chair Search Committee, 2011-2012
- WSU Graduate Council, 2007-2011
- WSU Assistant and Associate Dean’s Forum, 2007-2011
- University Assessment Committee, 2010-2011
- WSU Online Task Force, 2010-2011
- WSU Review Advisory Panel – Infant Mental Health Program, 2009
University Service, North Carolina State University Leadership and Service (Selected)
- African American Cultural Center Council of Directors, 1996-2002, Chair of the Ethics and Facilities Subcommittee
- Faculty Mentor, Bridges, Academic Leadership for Women Students, 2002
- Dean Nomination Committee, 2006
- College Faculty Council, 2001-2003
University of North Carolina at Pembroke (Selected)
- University African American Studies Planning Committee, Chair, 1992-1993
- Chancellor Search Committee, University of North Carolina at Pembroke, 1989
MEMBERSHIP IN PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS
- Council on Social Work Education – CSWE
- Association for Gerontological Education in Social Work – AGE SW
- Gerontological Society of America – GSA
- Society of Social Work Research – SSWR
- Association for Gerontology in Higher Education – AGHE
- National Association of Social Work – NASW
Professional and Community Service (Selected)
- National Association of Social Work Deans and Directors, Co-chair of the Gerontology Task Force, 2015- 2017
- Gerontological Society of America, Mentoring Task Force 2013 – 2016
- Think Tank, Social Work Practice Doctorates, Participant, September 2013
- Council on Social Work Education, Commission on Accreditation, Executive Committee, 2003-2009
- Certified Site Visitor for Program Accreditation, Council on Social Work Education, 2003-2016
- North Carolina Child Welfare Education Collaborative, Evaluation Committee, 2001-2002
PROFESSIONAL SOCIAL WORK EXPERIENCE
- Consultant – Program implementation and evaluation, healthy aging and professional coaching – present
- Consultant – Social Work Accreditation, 2012 – 2013
- Consultant and Expert Panelist, National Association for Children of Alcoholics, 2005-2006
- Consultant, Interact of Wake County, Raleigh North Carolina, 2001
- Consultant, North Carolina Family Group Conferencing Project, 1999 -2001
- Social Work Consultant, Davis and Associates, Intensive Care Facility and Group Homes for Adults with Cerebral Palsy – ICF/MR and CP, Fayetteville, North Carolina, 1993-1998
- Consultant and Trainer, North Carolina Department of Human Resources, Division of Social Services, Raleigh, North Carolina, 1988
Social Work Experience
- Therapist, UNC Pembroke, University Counseling Center, Pembroke North Carolina, 1990-1993.
- Program Director, (Interim), Cumberland County Department of Social Services, Fayetteville, North Carolina, 1985.
- Social Work Supervisor, Cumberland County Department of Social Services, Foster Care Unit, Fayetteville, North Carolina, 1980-1985.
- Clinical Social Worker. Cumberland County Department of Social Services. Fayetteville, North Carolina, 1979-1980.
- Clinical Social Worker, Cumberland Psychiatric Hospital, Fayetteville, North Carolina, 1978.