Denita Johnson Succeeds Trudy Zimmerman as Assistant Dean for Field Education

Denita Johnson
Denita Johnson

BUSSW is pleased to announce that Denita Johnson will assume the position of assistant dean for field education effective January 1st, 2020. 

Johnson is currently the school’s assistant director for field education and previously served as BUSSW’s field coordinator for the Charles River and Worcester campuses. During her time at BUSSW, she has been a member of the Equity and Inclusion Committee, the Admission’s Committee, the Student Support Team, and the subcommittee that created the Social Justice Learning Communities. Prior to joining BUSSW, Johnson was the director of field education at Wheelock College before the merger with Boston University. 

In response to her new leadership position, Johnson says she is “looking forward to continuing the great work that has been established, while working with BUSSW staff and partners to create innovative future practices for our students in both the classroom and the field.”

Throughout Johnson’s career, she has served in several leadership and collaborative positions including as the director of training for the Mississippi Department of Children and Families, where she supervised teams of child welfare training specialists and education/training specialists hired by the University of Mississippi Child Welfare Training Academy. Her role included coordinating the training of over 800 child welfare workers and clinical supervisors in 88 counties, as well as developing, reviewing, and editing clinical curricula for social work CE credits for seasoned and newly hired clinical supervisors, and family specialists. 

In addition to her work with children and families, Johnson has been a clinical supervisor, program director and manager, mental and behavioral health therapist for children and adults, and as an education and training specialist. 

Trudy Zimmerman

Johnson succeeds retiring Assistant Dean Trudy Zimmerman, who has provided educational and administrative leadership at BUSSW since 1980 and has held the position of assistant dean of field education since 1997. 

Commenting on Johnson’s new role, Zimmerman says, “I am thrilled that Denita has been appointed as the next assistant dean for Field Education at BUSSW. She brings a wealth of knowledge, skills and experience from her many years of practice with children and families, as a trainer for child welfare workers in Mississippi, as a social work supervisor and, most recently, in field education. A consummate educator with a wonderful sense of humor, Denita is known for her warmth, openness and collegiality. Her commitment to social justice is apparent in her approach to teaching, learning and leadership. I expect that Denita will take the Field Education program in new and exciting directions in collaboration with community partners and colleagues at the school.”

Zimmerman leaves behind a strong legacy at BUSSW, including:

  • Designing and implementing an orientation for advanced year social work students interning at the major Boston teaching hospitals, in collaboration with local field education directors and social work training coordinators from the hospitals.
  • Developing one of the first fully online Seminars for New Field Instructors, a course that is required of all new agency field instructors and is available to any field instructor supervising a BUSSW intern anywhere in the country. A macro version of the course was developed in 2018.
  • Creating a new advising model for CRC foundation placement students featuring a monthly seminar taught by their advisors – providing more support to students and strengthening advisor-student relationship.  In 2019, the fall sessions were increased to twice a month, providing even more support and advisor-student contact.
  • Developing, in collaboration with Professor Mary Collins, a grant-funded project which required all SSW students in their foundation placements to complete a social policy project focused on race, poverty and ethnicity – the project included field instructor training and the development of online resources for students, field instructors and advisors.