Ziblim Abukari



I joined the faculty of the Westfield State University in the fall of 2011 after receiving a Ph.D. in social work at the University of Denver, Colorado, where I also completed my MSW. I also hold a B. A. in social work with a minor in sociology from the University of Ghana. Prior to joining Westfield State University I taught for four years in research methods, evaluation research, history of social welfare and social work, and international social development as an adjunct professor at the Graduate School of Social Work, University of Denver.

With more than eight years of experience in the field as a community social worker and youth services advocate, my background experience includes working as a community organizer and trainer with local and international nonprofits in Ghana on food security, agribusiness development, micro-credit, and water and sanitation. I was also a trainer of trainer for staff of partner organizations. After my MSW I worked as a social worker with an after school program in public housing neighborhoods in Denver connecting youth with services, mentors, data collection and program evaluation. I was also a field supervisor for MSW students for two years at a refugee resettlement agency in Denver, Colorado.

In this program I teach across the curriculum in BSW and MSW in additional to my role as a faculty field liaison and BSW students’ club adviser. 

Areas of Research

  • Risks, resilience, and academic outcomes of high-risk youth
  • Resilience across cultures
  • Ecological influence on youth behavior outcomes
  • International social development
  • International social work
  • Human security and social protection
  • Research methodology

Research and Scholarship

Under preparation:

  • Adams, M. M., Abukari, Z., & Andani, A. B. (under preparation). Schools, locality, and culture and their effects on academic outcomes among youth in the Northern Region of Ghana.
  • Adams, M. M., Andani, A. B. & Abukari, Z. (under preparation). The influence of self-efficacy beliefs on school outcomes of high school students in the Northern Region of Ghana.


Refereed Journals

  • Abukari, Z., Mohammed, A. M., & Andani, A, B. (2020). Academic outcomes of high school students in Northern Ghana: The mediator role of locus of control. Journal of Educational and Social Research, 10(1), 117-129. Doi: 10.36941/jesr-2020-0011
  • Abukari, Z. (2018). “Not giving up”: Ghanaian students’ perspectives on resilience, risk, and academic achievement. Sage Open, 1-13, DOI: 10.1177/2158244018820378
  • Abuakri, Z., Padykula, N., & Propp, J. (under review). Changing students’ attitude toward research: Comparing traditional with flipped classroom learning methods. To be submitted to the Baccalaureate Social Work Journal.
  • Abukari, Z.; Kuyini, A. B.; & Mohammed A. K. (2015). Education and healthcare policies in Ghana: Examining the prospects and challenges of recent provisions Sage Open, 1-11. DOI: 10.1177/2158244015611454
  • Abukari, Z., & Laser, J. (2013). Gender differences in academic outcomes among Ghanaian youth: The role of protective and risk factors. Journal of Community Psychology, 41(1), 117-138, DOI: 10.1002/jcop.21518 

  • Abukari, Z. (2010). Human security in Ghana: A developmental agency perspective. Regional Development Dialogue 31(1), 78-93. 

  • Kreitzer, L., Abukari, Z., Antonio, P., Mensah, J., & Afram, K. (2009). Social work in Ghana: A participatory action research project looking at culturally appropriate training and practice. Social Work Education, 28(2), 145-164. 

  • Abukari, Z. (2007). Dimensions of youth unemployment in Ghana: A public policy perspective. Journal of Social Development in Africa, 22(2), 83-105. 

  • Abukari, Z. (2005). Origins of conflict in northern Ghana and looking toward its resolution. Regional Development Dialogue, 26 (1), pp. 50-61. 

Book Chapter

  • Abukari, Z. (under review). ‘Everybody here knows this, if you want to go to school then you must be prepared to work’: Children’s rights and the  role of social work in Ghana. In V. Sewpaul, L. Kreitzer, & T. Raniga (Eds.), Culture, human rights and social work:  African perspectives. Calgary, Alberta, Canada: The University of Calgary Press.
  • Abukari, Z. & Kreitzer, L. (2016). Social protection in Ghana: Old challenges, new initiatives. In J. Drolet (Ed.), Social development and social work perspectives on social protection (pp. 213-233), Abingdon, Oxon, UK: Rutledge. 

Journal Article Reviews 

  • Abukari, Z. (2012): Commentary on John F. Jones’ “Pan-Africa and the African Union: Claims of a continent and alternative development strategies.”  Regional Development Dialogue, 33(2), 110-126.

  • Abukari, Z. (2012). Commentary on Asfaw Kumassa’s “Research-cum-capacity building project on human security and conflict in northern Kenya: Assessment and outcome”. Regional Development Dialogue,33(2), 1-16.

  • Abukari, Z. (2010). Commentary on Denise Pearson’s “Educating Somali Bantu refugees in the United States:  A human security assessment” . Regional Development Dialogue,  31(1), 143-145.

Conference Presentations

  • Abukari, Z. (October, 2017). ‘Not-giving up’: Ghanaian students’ perspectives on resilience and academic outcomes. Paper accepted for oral presentation at the 63rd Annual Program Meeting (APM) of the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), Dallas, Texas.
  • Abukari, Z., Padykula, N. & Propp, J. (November, 2016). Students’ attitude toward research: Comparing traditional, flipped classroom, and  experiential learning methods.  Paper accepted for presentation at the 62nd Annual Program Meeting (APM) of the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), Atlanta, GA.  
  • Abukari, Z. (2015). Social work students’ attitudes toward research: Old challenges, new pedagogical approaches. A paper  presented at the annual Baccalaureate Program Directors’ (BPD) conference from March 4-8, 2015 at Kansas City, Missouri. 

  • Abukari, Z. (2014). Indigenization of social work education in Africa: Implications for international social work. A paper presented at the Network for Social Work Management (NSWM) conference from June 5-6, 2014 at Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts. 

  • Abukari, Z., and Kreitzer, L. (2014). Social protection in Ghana: Old challenges, new initiatives. A paper presented at the International Social Work Conference from March 16-18, 2014 in Kampala, Uganda.

  • Abukari, Z. (2012). Risk and Protective Factors Associated with Academic Achievement among  Ghanaian Youth. A paper presented at the 58th Annual Program Meeting (APM) of the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) in Washington, D.C. from November 9-12, 

  • Abukari, Z. (2005). Poverty and youth migration in northern Ghana. A Poster presentation at the  Ford Foundation International Conference on Leadership and       Social Justice, June 12-17, 2005, Washington D.C.

  • Abukari, Z. (2005). Participating to create a different world: Shaping our own future Participatory Development Forum, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada. August 14-17, 2005

Professional Activities

  • Reviewer (2018) Afillia-Journal, Women and Social Work
  • Reviewer (2018) Africa Education Review
  • Reviewer (2013-14) Journal of Community Psychology
  • Reviewer (2013) Gender and Society
  • Reviewer (2014) Diaspora, Indigenous, and Minority Education Journal
  • Reviewer (2015) Children and Youth Services Review
  • Reviewer (2011-2012) Sage Open Journal