Posted on August 3, 2023 by Amanda Cerreto

The College for Health, Community and Policy (HCAP) at UTSA is proud to announce the new Chair for the Department of Social Work, John Bricout, Ph.D. He has more than 20 years of experience in the field, with scholarship that focuses on social learning and the inclusion of persons with a disability in the workplace and community.

bricout-john.jpgPrior to arriving at UTSA, Bricout served as a professor and director of research at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities School of Social Work. “I had familiarity with the outstanding work of a number of the social work faculty at UTSA,” Bricout said. “I was also very interested in its strong reputation as it moved into R1 status.”

Bricout has been in social work academia for more than 20 years. “I appreciate the unique lens that social work brings to engaging communities and individuals in pursuit of solutions to pressing social issues,” he said, “as well as the profession’s emphasis on evidence-informed practice, rigorous research and scholarship.”

Bricout’s research primarily explores the influence of social technology on the community participation of people with disabilities. He also studies university-community research partnerships, workforce development, and social innovation. Most recently, Bricout presented a solo conference proceedings paper on innovative approaches to inclusive workplace policies for people with disabilities for the International Political Science Association.

People with disabilities still face substantial barriers to employment more than 30 years after the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990. An innovative policy design process that engages people with disabilities, while also tapping into multi-disciplinary expertise, and diverse stakeholder groups, is key to the development and implementation of inclusive workplace policies that can close the gap.

Since starting out as a doctoral student in social work, Bricout has always been interested in working across disciplines to discover innovative solutions for the barriers facing individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). “I feel strongly that individuals with IDD deserve to have comparable choices and opportunities to those of others,” he said. “I am very motivated to find ways to assist with innovative programs and initiatives for workforce development.”

Bricout’s background in working with individuals from many disciplines – including the medical field (he held a joint appointment in occupational therapy at Washington University in St. Louis) marries well with HCAP’s mission to affect change by partnering with diverse communities and institutions from local to global. As the college continues to create interdisciplinary majors and cross-faculty research projects, his expertise in collaboration will be invaluable.

“I have been fortunate to work and learn in interdisciplinary environments with kinesiologists, engineers, rehabilitation, human resource development, policy and public administration professionals,” he said.

As a newcomer to San Antonio, Bricout is looking forward to pursuing his hobbies of hiking, canoeing and swimming. He also enjoys photography and is looking forward to taking in the sights of South Texas.

Bricout looks forward to leading the Department of Social Work and keeping the best interests of both students and faculty in mind. “I want to prepare students for the job market, and ensure our faculty are getting the resources and support they need to do that,” Bricout said.

His plans include four major goals: supporting accessible and affordable education; developing changemaker leaders; bringing research to the community; and fostering an inclusive environment to learn and work.

“I look forward to working with exceptional faculty, staff, students and community partners, all of whom contribute to the enormous growth potential of the department.”

— Amanda Cerreto