About the Advisory Board
The School of Social Work Advisory Board is charged with strengthening the school’s connection to the community. It provides expertise and consultation for program and curriculum development, and furthers the development efforts that benefit students and school funding priorities. The advisory members connect social work education to the most pressing social issues that arise in Arkansas communities.
Bonnie Limbird is a retired social worker with 44 years of experience. She worked with adults in inpatient and outpatient settings at the Greater Little Rock Community Mental Health Center and with children and families at Centers for Youth and Families. She also worked as a member of an interdisciplinary diagnostic team at Arkansas Children’s Hospital. Bonnie spent part of her career at KIDS FIRST, UAMS, a program for young children who were medically at-risk or were diagnosed with developmental delays. In addition, she developed and led community councils in the CO-MEND program (Community Outreach in the areas of Medicine, Education, Nutrition, and Development) in six Arkansas communities. Bonnie is a founding member and first president of the AR Association for Infant Mental Health and continues to serve on its board. She is also a past president of the AR Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers and has served on the national board.
Sheryl Alexander has served her community for over 30 years. She is an alum of the UA Little Rock School of Social Work masters program. After graduating, she was accepted into the Educational Leave program funded by the Department of Human Services (DHS). Sheryl currently works in the PRAMS (Pregnancy Risk Assessment and Management System) and Synar programs at the Arkansas Department of Health. She has worked in the health department’s Office of Performance Management where she helped it obtain national accreditation. Her experiences also include child abuse and neglect investigator, foster care worker, DHS trainer, and policy unit manager for Children and Family Services. She has also worked as an adjunct professor for Philander Smith College, community outreach coordinator for Career Pathways at U of A Pulaski Technical College, and in professional development at UCA. Sheryl is president of the Central Arkansas Chapter of the Association of Black Social Workers, a position she has held for the past seven years.
Mandy Davis, an alum of the UA Little Rock School of Social Work masters program, has worked in the field for over 11 years. She has proven knowledge of conflict resolution, process simplifications, and relationship management. Currently, Mandy works for Depaul USA at the Jericho Way Day Resource Center in Little Rock. She is the director of Jericho Way which is a national non-profit and the only day resource center that serves those experiencing homelessness. The UA Little Rock’s Social Work Department recognized her dedication to the community with the Friend of the Faculty Award in 2018. In 2019, she received the high honor of Social Worker of the Year from the Arkansas Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. Mandy was also received the 2019 Difference Maker Award for her work at Jericho Way, by Rainwater, Holt & Sexton. In addition, she was nominated by Arkansas Business as a 2019 40 under 40 Honoree for her professional accomplishments and community service. Mandy has served on the Arkansas Chapter’s board and is currently a member of the association.
Chris Rule has worked in the mental health field for nearly 35 years and as a social worker for almost 25 years. He is an alum of the UA Little Rock School of Social Work master’s program and has experience in teaching and clinical areas. Chris is the director of Behavioral Medicine at Baptist Health-UAMS Family Medicine Residency Program and clinic. He has worked as a clinical social worker serving children, adolescents, and adults in school-based and outpatient settings for more than 20 years. Chris is also an instructor in the UAMS College of Medicine in the departments of Family and Preventive Medicine and Psychiatry. He began his teaching career at the UA Little Rock School of Social Work, where he served as an adjunct professor for 10 years and has worked in graduate medical education for the past 13 years. In 2017, Chris was awarded the Family and Medicine Outstanding Teaching Award by the UAMS Department of Family and Preventive Medicine. He was a member of both the National Association of Social Workers and the American Association of School Counselors; and currently serves as a member of the American Balint Society – Online Balint Committee and the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine.
Ruth Fissel has practiced social work for 40 years, serving her community through program development, clinical supervision, mental health assessment and treatment. Most recently, she helped the UAMS Primary Care Clinics achieve Patient Centered Medical Home recognition by the National Committee for Quality Assurances. She also transformed outpatient primary care clinics to adhere to Comprehensive Primary Care Plus expectations. Ruth currently works as the Behavioral Health Program manager for the primary care clinics at UAMS. Each of the seven clinics has behavioral health consultants on the clinical care team to help address patients’ behavioral health concerns. During Ruth’s 40 years as a social worker, she has opened three outpatient behavioral health programs in Arkansas: Family Service Agency, Youth Home, and Corphealth EAP. She also brokered relationships between the Arkansas Department of Education and the Department of Behavioral Health to build 75 school-based mental health centers. Ruth is a board member of the Family Service Agency, as well as the board secretary at Harmony Health Clinic. She also served as a central chapter representative on the Arkansas National Association of Social Works Board.
Dr. Susan Hoffpauir is a professor and academic dean at the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service. Previously, she served as associate vice chancellor for Academic Affairs and Academic Policy at UA at Little Rock. Under Hoffpauir’s leadership, the Clinton School has expanded its community partnerships in Arkansas, across the nation, and around the world. During her tenure, the Office of Field Services has built a policy and curricular infrastructure that supports partnerships with 44 international host organizations on six continents. Dr. Hoffpauir was a co-presenter of “Defining ‘Service’ in Service Learning” at the 2015 Gulf South Summit in Little Rock. At UA Little Rock, Dr. she led the institution’s regional accreditation review by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association, which resulted in reaccreditation of the institution for the maximum 10-year period. She also designed and established the bachelor of social work program, which earned full accreditation in 2005. Dr. Hoffpauir has also served as president and vice president of the board of directors of the Arkansas Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers.
David Deere is a retired social worker with 25 years of experience. While in retirement, he is focused on developing services for persons with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders in Arkansas and nationally. David worked for Partners for Inclusive Communities in the College of Education and Health Professions at the University of Arkansas. He was the training director for the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities program, which annually trained 30-40 graduate and post-graduate students in interprofessional care for persons with autism and other disabilities. Much of his focus is on inclusion of persons with disabilities into all aspects of their communities, with an emphasis on social determinants of health and wellbeing. His work includes establishing and facilitating collaborations that work towards inclusion. He also has an emphasis on fetal alcohol spectrum disorders and developing systems to support independence and interdependence. David was a member of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Medicaid Reform from 2015-2017. He is currently a member of the National Association of Social Workers and the Association of University Centers on Disabilities.
Melrita Johnson is a licensed clinical social worker. She has worked as a mental health therapist, therapeutic foster care therapist, and Geri Psych therapist. Melrita completed home studies for the state of Arkansas and worked as a medical social worker at Jefferson Regional Medical Center and a renal social worker with US Renal Care and Hospice Angels. She currently serves as the mental health services coordinator for Southeast Arkansas College. Melrita is the owner/chief executive officer of The Chosen One Professional Services, LLC. (TCOPS) which provides private mental health services, public speaking, professional development trainings, workshops, continuing education, grant writing and workshops, life coaching and more. She is the president and founder of REFORM, Inc., a non-profit that works with ages 10-24 to teach them independent living skills and more. Melrita is the southeast representative to the National Association of Social Workers Arkansas Branch. In 2020, she became the organizer and founder of the first social work sorority, Alpha Chi Epsilon Sigma Social Work Sorority, Inc.
Phillip Myton is a licensed clinical social worker who works for Veterans Affairs as the outreach specialist for the Health Care for Homeless Veterans program. He also works in private practice therapy for Solutions Counseling Group. Phillip earned his bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in social work at UA Little Rock. He began his career at the Arkansas State Hospital working on the adolescent unit. Phillips’ emphasis is working with adolescents to adult males focusing on stress, anxiety, and communication skills. He currently serves as a member of the STAY committee and as a member of DTAC. Phillip also participates on the Veteran Community Outreach Committee and works with the AARP Arkansas Veterans Team to coordinate needed resources for the homeless veteran population.