Reflecting a 30-year career of public service, social work, and education, Dr. Jonathan Scherch served as a Peace Corps Volunteer, founder and executive partner of “triple bottom line” business and NGO ventures, professor and Dean, and a Fulbright Scholar Specialist.
His teaching and scholarship have focused on topics of Social Work and human service practices across micro-through-macro realms, and have featured interdisciplinary aspects of impact leadership and sustainable community and economic development. Related research examines international social, economic and ecological implications of climate change, social and environmental justice pursuits, and peaceful conflict resolution, among others. Earlier practices also include children, youth, and family counseling and psychotherapy; child protective services case management; and, social services administration and supervision. At Walden University, he serves as Contributing Faculty for the Social Work Ph.D. and DSW programs.
In 1997, Scherch co-authored the seminal book "What Have We Done? A State of the Bioregion Report for East Tennessee and the southern Appalachian bioregion." His contributions drew from his own Social Work dissertation research which examined sustainable living practices and community development initiatives across this bioregion spanning eight US states. Later, in 2005, at the invitation of the former Prime Minister of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile, he facilitated sustainable agriculture training workshops with government officials, farmers and residents of Tibetan refugee settlements in southern India. Subsequently, details of this work can be found in his 2005 paper entitled Sustainability in Exile: Envisioning Permanent Culture in Tibetan Refugee Settlements, and 2012 video documentary (available online) entitled "Sustainability in Exile: Tibetan Farmers Cultivating Compassion." His teaching and research sabbatical in China, in 2007, afforded opportunities to learn with students and faculty on topics of sustainable development, including historical and contemporary practices, and socio-economic and ecological benefits of bamboo resource systems.
In 2016, he was awarded a Fulbright Scholar Specialist appointment for collaboration in Kampala, Uganda, within Makerere University’s Department of Social Work and Social Administration. While there, amid program review activities and supporting student thesis evaluations, he designed a new international partnership program of Pacific Bamboo Resources, an NGO he founded in 2004 through 2022. The resulting "flagship" program emerged as Bamboo for Good (B4G). B4G partnered on training and projects serving critical needs — sustainable agriculture and food security, post COVID-19 recovery and community / economic empowerment and resilience, and environmental services such as flood / erosion mitigation, and wildlife habitat restoration and protection. In July, 2019, B4G was presented to the United Nations High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development as a best practice model for advancing and sustaining UN sustainable development goal (SDG) achievements. Previously, B4G was recognized in the 2018 Global Agenda for Social Work and Social Development as "a best practice example of innovation in social work and social development to maintain a balance between humans and the planet."
Combining his interests in public service and technology innovation, Dr. Scherch volunteers for the Auxiliary Communication Service of the Seattle Department of Emergency Management, and the American Red Cross' chapter serving the Pacific Northwest region, using amateur "ham" radio equipment powered by a solar PV energy system he designed and installed, to support local and regional disaster preparedness, response and recovery efforts. He earned his first amateur radio license in 1990, and remains an active "on-air" presence locally and internationally, including teaching and public service demonstrations. In 2013, his published article titled "There's Something in the Air: Amateur Radio and its Contributions to International Sustainable Community Development" shared further perspective on related public service and personal preparedness benefits of the international amateur radio service.
PhD, University of Tennessee
MSW, University of Pittsburgh
BA, West Chester University of Pennsylvania
AAS, Montgomery County Community College
United States Peace Corps, Volunteer - Kingston
Auxiliary Communications Service, Seattle Office of Emergency Management, Volunteer - Seattle
Awards / Honors
Fulbright Scholar Specialist (Social Work), J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, 2016
Nolt, J., Scherch, J. M. (1997). What Have We Done? The Foundation for Global Sustainability's State of the Bioregion Report for the Upper Tennessee Valley & Southern Appalachian Mountains.
Scherch, J. M. (2014). New Roots for Sustainable Development: Bamboo Resources and Triple Bottom Line Performance in Alabama''s Black Belt Region. The International Journal of Sustainability in Economic, Social, and Cultural Context
Scherch, J. M. (2015). Rural Community Transition and Resilience: What now for social work?. Contemporary Rural Social Work
Scherch, J. M. (2008). Riverton: Envisioning a Sustainable Community, in Netting et al's "Cases in Social Work Macro Practice".
Scherch, J. M. (2013). There’s Something in the Air: Amateur Radio and its Contributions to International Sustainable Community Development. The International Journal of Sustainability Policy and Practice
Scherch, J. M. (2018). Grow, Train, Make, Sustain: Social Work Innovation in East Africa via Bamboo for Good (B4G). East Africa Centre for Research and Innovation in Social Work (CRISOWO)