As we begin the semester, we're highlighting Bryn Mawr's newest faculty members. The College supports faculty excellence in both research and teaching and is committed to social justice and inclusion in the classroom and in the community at large.
Assistant Professor of Social Work David S. Byers
David S. Byers is a new assistant professor in the Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research who focuses on psychotherapy practice with adolescents and emerging adults, social identity, LGBTQIA+ topics, international social work, and ethics. This fall, Byers is teaching a Ph.D. course on developmental theory and an M.S.S. course on clinical practice.
Byers is presently engaged in three related areas of research. First, he is examining how emerging adults seek and provide support to each other online when they witness each other being targeted with aggression. Among his recent findings, Byers notes that tendencies toward homophilious helping (helping within social identity groups, as opposed to across them) may be exacerbated online, as can efforts to punish outsiders identified with aggression through public shaming. In addition to working on a series of forthcoming articles, Byers will present a new paper, “Public Shaming and Moral Narcissism: Community Justice Among Bystanders of Peer Aggression,” at the Society for Social Work Research in January 2018.
Second, Byers is investigating the development of community-based clinical services and psychotherapy for LGBTQIA+ clients between 1960 and 1987, years prior to and coinciding with the period when activists and clinicians pushed the APA to remove homosexuality from the diagnostic manual.
Third, Byers is working with colleagues in the Palestinian West Bank to examine the emergence of and current needs related to clinical social work education in Palestine. Together, these areas of inquiry all explore how theories of ethical and clinical engagement are improvised in the field by community members and clinicians.
Byers has also written popular articles for Slate and Time about LGBTQIA youth homelessness, adolescent development, and homophobia and transphobia in clinical diagnosis. Prior to joining the faculty at Bryn Mawr, Byers taught at New York University, Skidmore College, and Smith College School for Social Work. He completed his Ph.D. at Smith, his M.S.W. at New York University, and his B.A. at Sarah Lawrence College. He is looking forward to working with undergraduate, M.S.S., and Ph.D. students throughout Bryn Mawr College.
The GSSWSR is distinctive for its dedication to fine teaching, attentiveness to individual students, and high academic standards within a liberal arts tradition. Founded in 1915, the GSSWSR has from inception embraced scholarship, practice, and collaboration within a broad construction of social work and social welfare.