Boston College has named Ruth G. McRoy, PhD, Professor Emerita in recognition of her extensive and distinguished contributions to the School of Social Work (BCSSW); to the fields of child welfare, adoption, and foster care; and for her efforts to expand the field of social work through her commitment to diversity and inclusion. The 2018–2019 academic year is McRoy’s last at BCSSW.

Teacher, scholar, and researcher, McRoy joined the Boston College faculty in 2009 as the inaugural holder of the Donahue and DiFelice Endowed Professorship. Since then, she has expanded community partnerships; co-founded and co-directed BCSSW’s Research and Innovations in Social, Economic, and Environmental Equity (RISE3), a collaborative initiative that seeks to examine and address the root causes of social, economic, and environmental inequities; and has been a leading force behind the school’s diversity and justice initiatives.

McRoy received her BA and MSW degrees from the University of Kansas and her PhD from the University of Texas at Austin. Before joining Boston College, she was a faculty member at the Steve Hicks School of Social Work at the University of Texas at Austin for 25 years, and is the university’s Ruby Lee Piester Centennial Professor Emerita. 

“Professor McRoy is a nationally recognized scholar whose research is credited with helping to enhance the well-being of adoptive children. Her groundbreaking work on bias in decision-making as it relates to child welfare has driven innovation in the field of social work and at our school. Her research has detected direct links between poverty and neglect, and has helped shape child welfare protocols aimed at keeping families together whenever possible,” says BCSSW Dean Gautam N. Yadama.

A prodigious writer, McRoy has published more than 100 journal articles and book chapters and 12 books, including Openness in Adoption: Family Connections (with H. Grotevant), Challenging Racial Disproportionality in Child Welfare (with D. Green, K. Belanger, and L. Bullard), Building Research Culture and Infrastructure (with J. Flanzer & J. Zlotnik), and Transracial and Intercountry Adoptions: Culturally Sensitive Guidance for Professionals (with R. Fong). Her thirteenth book (with M. Hanna, R. Fong & N. Rolock), Introduction to Child Welfare: A Culturally Responsive, Multisystemic, Evidence-Based Approach, is due to be published later this year or early 2020.

Over her career, McRoy has also received more than 70 federal, state, foundation, and local research grants, including awards totaling more than $5 million for the federally funded AdoptUSKids project, which is operated through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Children’s Bureau. McRoy has held numerous leadership roles on national, state, and local boards, committees, and civic organizations, including serving as chair of the Council on Social Work Education’s Commission for Diversity and Social and Economic Justice, as a senior research fellow and member of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute Board, as a member of the board of directors for the Catholic Charities Archdiocese of Boston, and as a member of the Child Welfare League of America’s National Advisory Committee on Adoption.

McRoy has earned multiple honors in recognition of her advocacy and research. In 2010, she was selected as a fellow of the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare. Other awards received include the 2014 North American Council on Adoptable Children Child Advocate of the Year Award, the 2014 Charles I. Wright Distinguished Alumna Award from UT at Austin, the 2015 National Association of Black Social Workers Award for Significant Contributions to the African American Community, and selection into the 2016 Class of Fellows for the Society for Social Work and Research.