Skip to Content

College of Social Work

College of Social Work Welcomes New Faculty

Aug. 21, 2019
Chris Woodley • 

As the 2019-20 academic year at the University of South Carolina begins tomorrow, the College of Social Work is excited to welcome two new faculty members.

Assistant Professor John Doering-White will teach International Social Work at the College of Social Work and Latin American Cultures for the Department of Anthropology at the College of Arts and Sciences. He earned master’s degrees in social work and anthropology and completed his Ph.D. this past spring, all at the University of Michigan. His dissertation was, In the Shadow of the Beast: Violence and Dignity along the Central American Migrant Trail.

“Since arriving on campus, I have been blown away by the warm welcome of faculty, the commitment to the success of junior faculty, and the broad array of research, teaching, and intervention specialties represented across the College of Social Work,” Doering-White says. 

During his doctoral studies, Doering-White also served as co-producer and advisor on the immigration documentary, Border South, which premiered to national and international audiences in June. His research focuses on the intersections of immigration enforcement and humanitarianism surrounding undocumented immigration through Mexico. Doering-White’s recent publications have included journal articles on violence and care along the Central American Migrant Trail through Mexico, sheltering unaccompanied minors through Mexico, and raising children amid deportation threats.    

“Coming from the Midwest, I am interested in exploring with my students of the parallels that Southeast and Midwest states share as areas that are commonly known as 'new destinations' for Latinx immigrant communities,” Doering-White says. “I also look forward to teaching and experiential learning as an opportunity to build relationships and collaborate with organizations working with immigrant communities in and around Columbia.” 

Assistant Professor Yanfeng Xu comes to the College of Social Work after earning her Ph.D. from the University of Maryland School of Social Work. She previously received her Master of Social Work from Fudan University in Shanghai, China. Xu will teach Social Work Research Methodologies for MSW students. 

“I look forward to knowing the diverse and talented student body and working with them inside and outside the classroom,” Xu says. “I hope to work with my students to provide a unique contribution to promote social well-being and social justice with vulnerable populations in South Carolina, the nation and the world.”

Earlier this year, Xu was principal investigator on a University of Maryland Graduate School-funded award on the challenges in kinship care and associations with children’s behavioral health outcomes. In addition to kinship care and behavioral health, her other research interests include child welfare services and policies, child abuse and neglect, and foster care. Her most recent publications have included journal articles on children and youth in out-of-home care, children’s mental health, and child welfare policy.

“My first impression of the College of Social Work is that the faculty and staff are very welcoming and supportive,” Xu says. “The faculty are intelligent, have outstanding research and teaching skills, and are committed to nurturing our students.”

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.