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AAMU Interim Associate VP/Grad Dean Appointed

Dr. Tonya Perry
June 01, 2021

Dr. Tonya Perry is an accomplished professor and researcher

Dr. Tonya E. Perry was selected and has agreed to serve as Interim Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs & Dean of the Graduate Studies effective June 1, 2021. Dr. Perry has been at Alabama A & M University for 14 of the 21 years she has spent in graduate education.  She is professor and chairperson of the Department of Social Work, Psychology and Counseling at Alabama A & M University, where she is responsible for curricular and operational oversight of Graduate and Undergraduate multi-site programs in social work, graduate and undergraduate programs in psychology, the Title IV-E Child Welfare Training Program, the Bulldog LIFE Program and the HRSA Behavioral Health Workforce Training Program.

Having formerly taught at Fordham University and Howard University, Dr. Perry has more than 20 years of graduate teaching experience. She earned her Doctor of Philosophy degree in social work from the University of Alabama, where she also completed a minor in community health.  She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Social Work degree from Tulane University.

A former Johns Hopkins International AIDS Research Fellow and Fulbright-Hayes Scholar (China), Dr. Perry is a seasoned international researcher who has extensively investigated the socio-cultural aspects of HIV/AIDS among women of African ancestry throughout Africa and the African Diaspora. Dr. Perry formerly served as a consultant to the Global Health Council, for whom she investigated the role of faith-based organizations in providing HIV prevention, care and support services in South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, India, Thailand and Haiti. Dr. Perry has also served as a research and training consultant for The Balm in Gilead, an international faith-based non-governmental organization (NGO) for whom she has researched and documented HIV/AIDS-related faith community mobilization activities in Tanzania, Kenya, Corte d’Ivoire, Nigeria and Zimbabwe. 

Since her initial appointment as chairperson of the Department of Social Work, Psychology and Counseling in 2017, Dr. Perry has led the reaffirmation of accreditation of the BSW and MSW programs and the establishment of Dora’s House: Title IV-E Child Welfare Training and Simulation Laboratory; led the expansion of social work program enrollment at AAMU’s Lawson State Community College (LSCC); led an increase in the Department’s external funding from approximately $75,000 annually to approximately $4,000,000 in 4 years; and she has been instrumental in the execution of Memorandums of Understanding (MOU’s) with partnering agencies which serve as experiential training sites for counseling psychology and social work students

Dr. Daniel Wims, provost and vice president for academic affairs and research, stated that “Dr. Perry has been instrumental in the viability of the Master of Social Work and counseling psychology programs and served for many years on the Graduate Council.  She has participated in the Leadership Development Program at the University and is particularly suited for this role.”

Dr. Perry’s research, publications and related interests revolve around women’s health----particularly socio-cultural issues related to the impact of HIV/AIDS and other varied health conditions on women of African ancestry and the impact of development upon the status of women. Her edited book, Globalization and Gender Oppression: A Challenge for Social Work (CSWE Press, 2013) examines, in part, the intersections of gender, culture and the impact of global forces on Ghanaian women. Dr. Perry formerly served on the editorial board of Social Work and is a consulting editor for the Journal of Social Work Education.

“I am immensely honored to have been asked to serve the University in such a critical capacity," stated Dr. Perry. "I look forward to contributing to the continued growth of our graduate programs and the expansion of our academic footprint."