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James Herbert Williams

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Director & Arizona Centennial Professor
Faculty w/Admin Appointment, DTPHX Campus, Mailcode 3920
School Director and Arizona Centennial Professor
Faculty w/Admin Appointment, DTPHX Campus, Mailcode 3920

James Herbert Williams' research and scholarship focuses on K-12 academic performance, youth violence, delinquency prevention, adolescent substance use, race and gender differences, and mental health service needs and utilization patterns in urban schools.

Prior to joining ASU, served as professor, dean, Distinguished Emil M. Sunley Endowed Chair, and Milton Morris Endowed Chair at the University of Denver, Graduate School of Social Work. He previously served at ASU as Foundation Professor of Youth and Diversity in the School of Social Work.

His funded research has included grants from the National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development; the National Institute of Mental Health; the Danforth Foundation; the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease; and the departments of Justice, Education, and Health and Human Services.

Williams also has published widely in the area of health promotion, disease prevention among African American women and, most recently, conflict and human security in Northern Kenya.

  • Ph.D. Social Welfare, University of Washington
  • M.P.A. Public Administration, University of Colorado
  • M.S.W. Clinical Social Work, Smith College
  • B.A. Sociology, Grambling State University
Research Interests
  • Child welfare
  • Youth substance abuse prevention
  • Race and gender disparities
  • Mental health services
  • Urban community practice
  • Williams, J. H. (2016). Grand challenges for social work: Research, practice, and education. Social Work Research, 40, 67-70.
  • Williams, J. H., & Des Marais, E. A. (2016). Global health education. Social Work Research, 40, 3-6.
  • Williams, J. H. (2015). Marshaling social responses to environmental changes. Social Work Research, 39, 195-198.
  • Williams, J. H. (2015). Potential impact of teachers in securing mental health services for African American children in urban schools. Social Work Research, 39, 131-134.
  • Williams, J. H. (2015). Unification, crafting imperatives and defining a profession. Social Work Research, 39, 67-69.
  • Williams, J. H. (2015). Human security to promote capacity-building and sustainable livelihoods interventions. Social Work Research, 39, 3-6.
  • Williams, J. H. (2014). Acknowledgements and the way forward: The social dimensions of One Health. Social Work Research, 38, 195-196.
  • Williams, J. H., (2014). How to best address the needs of African American children vulnerable to the continual widening of the achievement gap. Social Work Research, 38, 131-134.
  • Williams, J. H. (2014). Community research: A renewed focus to encompass a broader ecology. Social Work Research, 38, 67-68. 
  • Williams, J. H. (2014). Economic security and home ownership. Social Work Research, 38, 3-4.
  • Williams, J. H. (2013). Disparities, disproportionalities, differences, and discrepancies. Social Work Research, 37, 309-311.
  • Williams, J. H., & Tedeschi, P. (2013). Developing a research agenda that supports global practice. Social Work Research, 37, 165-167.
  • Williams, J. H. (2013). Social work research: Improving the human condition. Social Work Research, 37, 83-84.
  • Herrenkohl, T. I., Aisenberg, E., Williams, J. H., & Jenson, J. M. (2011). Violence in context: Current evidence on risk, protection, and prevention. New York: Oxford University Press. Kumssa, A., Williams, J. H., & Jones, J. F. (2011). Conflict and Human Security in Africa: Kenya in Perspective. Palgrave MacMillan Press 
  • Williams, James Herbert,Limb, G.,Adams, P. Exploring the Intersection of Substance Use, Intimate Partner Violence and Child Maltreatment. ntersecting Child Welfare, Substance Abuse, and Family Violence: Culturally Competent Approaches (2006).
  • Williams, James Herbert,Ayers, C. D.,Van Dorn, R. A.,Arthur, M. W. Risk and Protective Factors in the Development of Delinquency and Conduct Disorder. Risk and Resiliency in Childhood: An Ecological Perspective (2004).
Fall 2019
Course NumberCourse Title
SWG 720Phil of Sci Issues in Soc Wk
  • Williams, James, Howard, M. Mental Assessments and Interventions in the Juvenile Justice System. Justice, Ethics, and Interdisciplinary Teaching and Practice: Mental Health and the Law.
  • Williams, James, Jonson-Reid, M. Contextual Indicators of Poor African American Families Involvement in the Family Court System. Eighth Annual Conference of the Society for Social Work and Research
  • Williams, James. Cultural Factors Related to Childhood Obesity and Diabetes. Weighing in on Children’s Health: Tipping the Scale on Obesity, Nutrition and Fitness. 2006 Annie E. Casey Foundation Community Health Summit
  • Williams, James. Cultural Relevancy of a Diabetes Prevention Program for African American Women. MHRC Annual Conference
  • Williams, James. Current Trends and Challenges Facing Social Work Education in the United States. The International Conference of Social Reflection on Social Work Education and Social Work Practice
  • Williams, James. Promoting Positive Youth Development.
  • Williams, James. Social Work & Prevention Science: Effective Programming for Delinquency and Substance Use. The International Conference Social Work Practice with Disadvantaged Families in Taiwan: Opportunities and Challenges in the New Century
  • Williams, James. Understanding African American Male Issues in Public Schools.
  • Williams, James. African-American Families: Understanding the Relationship between Substance Abuse and Family Violence. Task Force Meeting on Cultural Competence in Child Welfare Practice: A Collaboration between Practitioners and Academics
  • Williams, James, Davis, L., Johnson, S., Miller-Cribbs, J., Saunders, J., Williams, T. Understanding the Effects of Substance Use, Norms, and Financial Stress on Academic Outcomes of African-American Adolescents. Fifth Annual Conference of the Society for Social Work and Research
  • Williams, James, Davis, L., Saunders, J., Williams, T., Williams, J. Longitudinal Study of High School Graduation among African-American Youth. Fifth Annual Conference of the Society for Social Work and Research
  • Williams, James, de Groot, M., Auslander, W., Williams, J., Haire-Joshu, D., Houston, C. Poverty as a Predictor of Depression among African-American Women. 22nd Annual Scientific Sessions
  • Williams, James, Van Dorn, R. Investigating the Co-Occurrence of Mental Illness and Substance Use and Violence in Young Adulthood. Third International Conference on Social Work in Health and Mental Health
  • Williams, James, Williams, J., Auslander, W., Haire-Joshua, D., Houston, C. The Applicability of the Theory of Reasoned Action to Low-Income African-American Women in Health Promotion Programming. Third International Conference on Social Work in Health and Mental Health
  • Williams, James. Cross-System Issues and Co-Occurring Conditions: Prevention and Early Intervention.
  • Williams, James, Wei, H. Investigating Relationships between Peer Victimization, Feelings Toward School, and Maladjustment among Six Grade Students. Seventh Annual Conference of the Society for Social Work and Research
  • Williams, James, Williams, J., Horvath, V., Wei, H. Exploring Teachers Perspectives of African American Children's Mental Health Services Needs in Urban Elementary Schools. Seventh Annual Conference of the Society for Social Work and Research
  • Williams, James. Human Service Delivery Systems: The Intersection between Race and Class. Storms, Politics, and the Destruction of the American Gulf Coast. A Washington University Faculty Roundtable on What Hurricane Katrina Wrought
  • Williams, James. Social Work Education in the United States: Examining Current Trends and Future Challenges. International Seminar on Social Welfare in Asia and the Pacific
  • Williams, James. Summit on Social Work and the Neurobiology of Addictions
  • Williams, James. Community Programming: A Way to Reach Urban Youth. 75th Anniversary Conference, AFraming Social Work Agendas for the Future
  • Williams, James, Auslander, W., McMillen, C., Stiffman, A., Williams, J., Krebill, H., Elze, D., Thompson, R., Robinson, A. Methodological Strategies of Community-Based Intervention Research: Successes and Pitfalls. Fourth Annual Conference of the Society for Social Work and Research
  • Williams, James, Davis, L., Miller-Cribbs, J., Johnson, S., Saunders, J., Williams, T. Predicting Academic Success of African American High School Students. Fourth Annual Conference of the Society for Social Work and Research
  • Williams, James, Johnson-Reid, M. Incarcerated Adolescents and Serious Emotional Disturbance. Fourth Annual Conference of the Society for Social Work and Research
  • Williams, James, Van Dorn, R. Adolescent Offending Behavior: Understanding the Transition from Nonviolent to Violent Offending. Fourth Annual Conference of the Society for Social Work and Research
Honors / Awards

2016 – Dean Emeritus – University of Denver

2016 – Distinguished Emil M. Sunley Endowed Chair – University of Denver, Graduate School of Social Work 2016 – Class of Fellows of the Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR)

2013 – University Summer Commencement Speaker – University of Denver

2013 – Distinguished Alumnus Award – University of Washington, School of Social Work

2013 – Day-Garrett Award – Smith College, School for Social Work

2011 – Clinical Social Work Advocate Award – Colorado Society for Clinical Social Work

2010 – Milton Morris Endowed Chair – University of Denver, Graduate School of Social Work

2006 – Foundation Professor of Youth and Diversity – Arizona State University, School of Social Work

2001 – E. Desmond Lee Professor of Racial and Ethnic Diversity – Washington University, St. Louis, George Warren Brown School of Social Work


Editor-in-Chief Social Work Research, 2013 – 2017.

International Editorial Advisory Board, Regional Development Studies, 2011-2014.
Editorial Board, Social Work Research, 2011 – 2013.
Editorial Board, Journal of Adolescent Health, 2004 - Present.
Editorial Board, Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, 2007 – 2011.
Consulting Editor, Social Work Research, 2009 - 2011
Book Committee, National Association of Social Workers, 2008 – 2010.
Editorial Board, Research on Social Work Practice, 1999 - 2006.
Editorial Board, Journal of Social Service Research, 2002-2005.
Advisory Editorial Board, Journal of Applied Social Sciences, 1998-2001.
Consulting Editor, Social Work Research, 1999-2001. 

British Journal of Educational Psychology
Families in Society
Health Education and Behavior
Journal of Adolescent Health
Journal of Applied Social Sciences
Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research
Journal of Health and Social Behavior
Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved
Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency
Journal of Social Service Research
Justice Quarterly
Prevention Science
Research on Social Work Practice 
Social Work Research
Violence and Victims


Professional Associations

Society for Social Work and Research Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences American Society of Criminology Council on Social Work Education Society for Prevention Research National Association of Social Workers


Program Evaluator, Saint Louis Partnership for Safe Schools/Healthy Students, Saint Louis Public Schools, Saint Louis, Missouri, 1999 - 2003.

Consultant & Planner, Sustainable Neighborhood Initiative, thirdland Consulting Resource Team, Saint Louis, Missouri, 2000 - 2002.

Consultant, Community Participation to Assess Non-Financial Barriers to Health Care. Access to Health Project of Saint Louis 2004, Saint Louis, Missouri, 2000 - 2001.

Consultant, Planning Initiative for Local Leadership Development Program. Saint Louis 2004, Saint Louis, Missouri, 1999.

Consultant, Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen, & Hamilton, New York, New York, 1996 - 1997.

Consultant and Trainer, State of Washington, Division of Children & Family Services, Department of Social & Health Services, Olympia, Washington, 1991 - 1994.

Industry Positions

Social Worker, Trauma Center, Harborview Medical Center, Seattle, Washington, 1991 - 1994.

Social Worker, University of Washington Medical Center Virology (AIDS/HIV) Clinic, Seattle, Washington, 1990 - 1991.

Social Worker, Colorado Springs School District, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1989 - 1990.

Social Worker, Memorial Hospital, Pediatrics and Pediatric Oncology, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1988 - 1989.

Social Worker, Colorado Department of Health, AIDS Risk Reduction Programs, Denver, Colorado, 1987 - 1988.

Community Advocate, African American Community Outreach Program, El Paso County Department of Public Health, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1988.

Program Planner, Stay Well: A Health Symposium for Lesbian and Gay Men, Colorado Department of Public Health, Denver, Colorado, 1985.

Medical Social Consultant, Colorado Department of Health, Maternal and Child Health, Denver, Colorado, 1981 - 1987.

Adult Service Unit Supervisor, Grant County Department of Social Services, Lancaster, Wisconsin, 1978 - 1980.

Program Coordinator, Grant County Coordinated Adult Respite Services, Wisconsin Department of Aging and Adult Services, 1979 - 1980.

Social Worker, Adams County Department of Social Services, Commerce City, Colorado, 1976 - 1977.