With a love for God and education as her foundations, Shirley McClerklin-Motley, PhD, counts it as an honor and unique responsibility to hold multiple vital roles as a compliance officer at Premier Spinal Health, an adjunct professor at Johnson C. Smith University, and a consultant for the statewide program Fact Forward which promotes the optimal health and well-being of individuals, families, and communities in South Carolina and beyond by advancing sexual and reproductive health for all youth and young adults. As a professor, she helped design the Master of Science in Social Work (MSW) program portal for undergraduate and postgraduate students to assist them with their writing and currently provides guidance on adhering to APA style. For Dr. McClerklin-Motley, selecting social work as her major area of study during her own college years would prove to be informative and healing after surviving an abusive marriage.
Securing for herself an exceptional educational foundation, Dr. McClerklin-Motley earned her Doctor of Philosophy in human services, cognate in social and community services, from Capella University; an MSW with a concentration in macro-social work from the University of South Carolina; and a bachelor’s degree in social work with a minor in child abuse and neglect from Benedict College, magna cum laude. Further, her professional credentials include being certified as a site team visitor for colleges and universities by the Council on Social Work Education as well as holding certifications as a parent-child mediator, a civil mediator, a juvenile arbitrator, a grants writer, an African American HIV/AIDS educator, in Child Protective Services, from the Child Welfare League of America, and as a former senior prevention professional.
In 2014, Dr. McClerklin-Motley was one of two professors from South Carolina selected by the Office of the President of the United States to provide input regarding a hearing on the Affordable Care Act. Singled out for other exclusive appointments and extensively decorated with dozens of accolades throughout her entrenched and multifaced career, Dr. McClerklin-Motley’s honors have included, as a short list, winning the Social Work Educator of the Year Award from the National Association of Social Workers South Carolina Chapter, the Director’s Community Leadership Award from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Master Professor Award from Coker University, and the Outstanding Community Service Award from the Cayce/West Columbia National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, among a plethora of other recognitions, proclamations, service awards, fellowships and scholarships.
Earlier in her career, Dr. McClerklin-Motley held positions at Coker College (now Coker University) as a tenured professor of social work, now retired, and a tenured associate professor in addition to being chair of the school’s social work department and director of the social work program. She also was the program director for the South Carolina Department of Social Services and had stints in New York at MetLife and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. Hunger for success and hard work enabled Dr. McClerklin-Motley to achieve her career goals while standing by her personal motto, “Be the best that you can be.” Yet, the mother of four children and grandmother of 13 believes that her most outstanding achievement has nothing to do with her productive professional career: raising her children as a divorced mother and seeing them succeed. Her son is an electrician with a journeyman’s license. Among her three daughters, one owns a trucking company alongside her husband, the youngest is a chiropractor, and the oldest followed in Dr. McClerklin-Motley’s footsteps as a literacy coach and is working to earn a Doctor of Education.
Parallel to her current roles, Dr. McClerklin-Motley is a live and recorded web-based trainer for the South Carolina Foster Parent Association. She is a member of a litany of other organizations and groups including, yet not limited to, the Refuge House of Prayer Church, the Alpha Chi National College Honor Society, the Alpha Kappa Mu National Honor Society, the National Association of Professional Women, Advocates Against Human Trafficking, the Council on Social Work Education, the National Association of Social Workers, and the National Association of Christian Social Workers. Dr. McClerklin-Motley enjoys reading and researching the Bible, is active with the Association of Black Writers, and is editor of the published titles “Facing HIV/AIDS,” a training manual for the South Carolina Department of Social Services; “African American HIV/AIDS Training Manual” for the South Carolina Coalition of Black Church Leaders; “Domestic Violence: What is the Role of the Church?” a training manual for pastors and other individuals who minister to abused and battered women. Caring deeply about social issues as a philanthropist and volunteer, she founded a charity that funds tuition and fees annually for 30 elementary and middle school students in the West African country of Sierra Leone and sends them school supplies and clothing three times a year.
Today and moving forward, Dr. McClerklin-Motley has established a limited liability company to help minority college students learn to write professionally. Her goal is to build the venture to decrease college dropout rates and increase the success rates of students who complete college. Further, in addition to publishing her first volume on the Book of Revelation, she looks forward to completing her tenure as a research consultant on a grant with Fact Forward, plans to write her third biblical commentary, and hopes that her new business and a podcast she has started will each be successful.