Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work (MSW)

Degree Level



School of Social Work


LaShawnda Fields

Committee Member

Whitney Payne

Second Committee Member

Lorien Jordan


Allyship, Equity in education, Performative allyship, Social work, Social work education, Unbalanced labor


This thesis explores the experiences of allyship through the perspectives of White and Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) social work students at primarily White universities within the Southeastern Conference. The study includes 10 semi-structured interviews with Bachelor and Master’s level social work students. The findings from this study present necessary characteristics and qualities for effective social work allyship. Interestingly, BIPOC students emphasize the importance of informed action, while White students share relational qualities such as empathy and willingness to learn. The findings also show that some BIPOC students experience performative allyship from White social work students. BIPOC participants also experienced unbalanced labor, including speaking up for themselves and calling cohort members out on racist statements. Lastly, the study provides recommendations to advance allyship in schools of social work.