Award Profile: Dr. Travis J. Albritton ’03 (MSW)

Dr. Travis J. Albritton ’03 (MSW)

2023 McClinton Outstanding Faculty Staff Award

After earning his undergraduate degree at Elizabeth City State University, Dr. Travis Albritton enrolled in UNC’s School of Social Work. He left Carolina after earning his MSW, but Carolina never left him. “I remained in touch with several professors, and when the Chapel Hill Three-Year MSW Program directorship opened, I applied … and returned to the school in 2008,” Albritton said. Fifteen years later, Albritton is not only still “home,” but he’s well-respected among peers and students. He’s also the 2023 Hortense K. McClinton Outstanding Faculty Staff Award recipient.

As the clinical associate professor and associate dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the UNC School of Social Work, Albritton inspires and uplifts the academic community, particularly students. Bridgette Agbozo, an MSW/Master of Public Health candidate, met Albritton when she enrolled in his Confronting Oppression class. “I’m grateful for his honesty and ability to seamlessly connect complex systems,” Agbozo said. “In a world that can feel cold, he helps people feel seen, pushes their ability to critique and facilitates a comfortable and challenging learning environment.”

Albritton coordinates DEI efforts for the School of Social Work and serves on the University’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council. He’s also the faculty liaison for the dual degree MSW/Master of Divinity program and a 2022–2023 National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education Academic Diversity Officers Fellow. His impact on social work cannot be overstated, and his influence will undoubtedly shape future generations, colleagues said. The Hortense K. McClinton award, named after UNC’s first Black professor, who joined the faculty in 1966, is among many awards Albritton has earned throughout his illustrious 15-year career. Being honored by his peers is a testament to his hard work, dedication and unwavering commitment to excellence.

Valerie Arendt, executive director of the state chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, met Albritton when he presented at the organization’s 2021 fall conference, held virtually. His message, delivered to about 800 social workers, was on “Racial Battle Fatigue, Critical Race Theory and Psychotherapeutic Practice: An Ethical and Intersectional Perspective for Black Clients Living in the U.S.” Arendt said Albritton’s presentation was engaging and left attendees wanting more. She said she’s “grateful for his work to improve the social work profession.”

Albritton earned a Master of Divinity degree from Duke University and a PhD from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He’s a co-investigator for projects focusing on improving mental health services for youth and families affected by trauma and preschool discipline among Black families. He said working with colleagues to address crucial issues related to equity, justice and anti-oppression within the University’s curriculum has been fulfilling.

“Several years ago, we began integrating more critical theories into our generalist courses, and engaging in such curricula development has been one of the highlights of my role as associate dean,” Albritton said, adding he enjoys contributing to the school’s Summer Reading Initiative. “Each year, we select a new book to inspire students to engage in meaningful conversations regarding equity and justice topics,” he said. “It serves as a shared reference point for first-year MSW students as they thoughtfully explore the complex issues that social workers encounter on … individual and community levels.”

— Cassandra P. Harper ’86