Sheara Jennings: Graduate College of Social Work - University of Houston
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Sheara Jennings


Associate Professor 

Room: 323 Social Work Building
Phone: 713-743-8120

Current Curriculum Vitae

Personal Statement

Sheara Jennings is an Associate Professor and the Humana Endowed Chair in Social Determinants of Health at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. Additionally, she holds a faculty appointment in the department of Health Systems and Population Health Sciences at the University of Houston Tillman J. Fertitta Family College of Medicine.  As a trained social intervention researcher, Dr. Jennings has a successful record of partnering with well-established community-based organizations to deliver and evaluate programs that promote the overall wellbeing of Black and Hispanic children and families, specifically in the areas of academic achievement/education, teen pregnancy prevention, and healthy relationships, whereby issues of health disparities and social determinants of health are complexly embedded. Examples of these partnerships, including a 5-year RCT project, have been consistently funded for over a decade by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) via the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), the Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB), and the Office of Population Affairs (OPA). Through these projects Dr. Jennings has been able to assist partners in capacity-building and sustainability, while maintaining successful university-community partnerships that support the community engagement mission of the college and university.  Dr. Jennings has engaged students, parents/caregivers, community leaders, social services and education organizations, faculty scholars, university leadership, and executives; overseen the training and mentoring of doctoral students and tenure-earning faculty; and worked collaboratively with colleagues from various disciplines on community-based projects. Guided by a passion for leadership, her approach is collaborative, task-oriented, analytical, and strategic.

Dr. Jennings’ higher education career spans across a range of settings, including a top-10 business school and school of social work; a HBCU; and an urban, tier-one university. These varied positions represent the culmination of 20+ years of leadership and administrative experience as an Executive Director, Director of Field Education, tenured professor, Director of Specialization Programs, Ph.D. Program Director, Associate Dean, Special Assistant to the Provost, and Endowed Chair. Through these appointments, coupled with practice experience as a social worker, program evaluator, professional trainer, and consultant, Dr. Jennings has developed a wide range of technical skills and the ability to work with diverse individuals and groups in various settings, with the ultimate goal of improving outcomes in the lives of youth.


Ph.D., Social Intervention Research | University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill | Chapel Hill, NC

M.S.W., Social Work | Louisiana State University | Baton Rouge, LA                     

B.S., Rehabilitation Psychology | Southern University A & M | Baton Rouge, LA

Courses Taught

  • Assessment in Social Work
  • Child Abuse and Neglect
  • Introduction to Social Work Practice
  • Pre-Dissertation Research
  • Social Justice Theories
  • Social Work Practice with Individuals, Families, and Groups
  • School Social Work

Research Interests

Dr. Jennings' current research activities focus on the development, delivery, and evaluation of programs designed to prevent teen pregnancy, promote healthy relationships, and to empower families to influence and promote positive life course outcomes for their children. Previously, she has conducted and published research in the following areas: the interrelatedness of minority (African-American and Hispanic) children’s behavior, social skills, and family factors regarding their school readiness and academic achievement; the academic achievement gap; limited English proficiency as an acculturative stressor; and secondary data analysis with large scale data sets.