Assistant Professor | BSW Program Director | Director of the Transforming Communities Institute
Dr. Jayme Walters is an Assistant Professor, BSW Program Director, and Director of Transforming Communities Institute (TCI) in the Department of Social Work at Utah State University. She was awarded her PhD from the University of Tennessee, College of Social Work in 2020. She earned her MSW and a certificate in Non-profit Organizations: Development and Management from the University of Georgia and BSW from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. Dr. Walters also received a certificate in Fundraising Management from Indiana University, Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. Dr. Walters’ main research regards quality of life in rural communities. She engages in community-level and organization-level research in the areas of poverty, social service provision, nonprofit capacity and management; fundraising and philanthropy; macro social work education; and well-being of social workers. Her research has been published in Journal of Rural Studies and International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, among others. In the past two years of leadership, Dr. Walters led TCI from an initiative to institute status, as well as led the collaborative development and implementation of a new five-year strategic plan. Professionally, Dr. Walters was in the field as a social worker for nearly ten years prior to shifting into social work academia. Her roles included non-profit management, program development and evaluation, fundraising, and grant writing. Today, Dr. Walters works closely with communities and nonprofits to build capacity and provide research support. At the community level, Dr. Walters is currently involved in the development and implementation of a warming center in Cache County for individuals and families who are unhoused, as no homeless shelters exists within one hour of the community. Further, she serves as the new organization's vice chairperson of the Board of Directors and co-chair of the fundraising committee. Walters also engages significantly in professional service in the university, department, and discipline levels. At the university, Dr. Walters will serve as a representative for her college on the Institutional Review Board for the next few years, as well as a faculty mentor for Aggie First Scholars, a program for first-generation college students at USU. At the department level, Dr. Walters serves or leads several department committees, including scholarships, admissions, and communications. At the discipline level, Dr. Walters reviews for multiple social sciences and public health journals. Finally, she mentors undergraduate and graduate students in research regularly; in two years, she has mentored 13 individual students in gaining experience in developing and implementing scholarly projects. Personally, Dr. Walters grew up in poverty in the rural Illinois where she eventually became a first-generation college graduate, which fueled her passion for helping rural, persistently poor communities and economic and social justice. She is married to her husband, Jonathon, and they have one daughter, Kate.