Online MSW Faculty
A Faculty of Experienced Leaders
Widener University prepares you to lead in your field with an advanced, trauma-focused curriculum taught by working professionals. Our faculty creates a supportive and nurturing academic environment to prepare clinical social workers that can deliver evidence-based social services to those who need it most.
You will work alongside faculty members in community partnerships and civic engagement activities, and together play an active role in the development of the social services profession.
Marina Barnett, MSW, DSW
Professor Barnett joined the faculty at Widener in 2004, teaching policy and community organization at the BSW, MSW, and Ph.D. levels. Barnett’s courses are highly interactive and focus on four areas of skill acquisition: advocacy and commitment to social justice, assessment, working with diverse populations, and use of technology. Her focus on these skills prepare students as generalist social workers who understand the multiplicity of roles they must play in order to seek change with and for clients.
Barnett’s motto, “you can’t be an antisocial social worker,” weaves into much of her teaching as she engages students in advocacy campaigns and community development activities. Her current research interests include asset mapping, organization and community development, African American families, policy, community organization, parenting, and multiculturalism. It is her goal to turn out social workers who love what they do and have a genuine respect for the people they serve.
Beth Barol, MSS, Ph.D.
Associate Dean of the School of Human Service Professions and the Director of the Center for Social Work Education
Dr. Barol explores ways to better support people who are underserved and voiceless with an emphasis on people with intellectual and developmental disability (IDD). She joined the Widener University Center for Social Work faculty in 2004 and became the Associate Dean and Director in 2016.
Dr. Barol endeavors to use her experiences as a house parent, facility director, therapist, clinical director, and international consultant to help bridge the gap between theory and practice. She has served as clinical director for the Pennsylvania Office of Mental Retardation Statewide Training and Technical Assistance Initiative. Her current courses and research interests include Interpersonal Processes, Trauma, Biographical Timelines, and supporting people with challenging behaviors to live fulfilling lives.
Dr. Barol has launched a certificate in Supporting Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities in partnership with the Center for Social Work Education and the Clinical Services for Vulnerable Populations, a free clinic that provides experiences to student interns relating to the certificate.
Linda E. Benavides
Professor Benavides’ goal as a social work educator is to facilitate the process of students' learning, providing opportunities for students to challenge themselves and grow in a safe and supportive environment. One of the ways she does this is by creating reflective, experiential learning opportunities in and out of the classroom that encourage critical thinking and provide transformational experiences. Professor Benavides endeavors to provide students with the opportunities to process with one another and her during class time. Professor Benavides’ provides opportunities for small and large group discussions and space for processing feelings, emotions, thoughts, etc. that come from growing.
She believes it is important to bring the field into the classroom and incorporate her own practice experience as a LMSW into class lectures, discussions, and activities. As an instructor, and having been in the field, Professor Benavides gives real-world application to course content. She is able to take them beyond the textbook to real-life practice situations they will face as social workers. She has always considered herself a strengths-based social worker. As a social work educator, she believes in incorporating the strengths students bring with them into the class. Professor Benavides’ encourages students to share their practice, research, and life experiences into class the discussions so that everyone can learn from one another.
Professor Benavides is continuously growing as a social work educator. She believes that one never stops growing but rather refines with time and adjusts to the needs of the students.
Michelle T. Brandt
Assistant Director of Field Education for Online MSW Program
Professor Brandt has spent more than 20 years working as a social worker in the health care field with a focus on older adults, hospice, palliative care, and oncology. Upon receiving her MSW, she became drawn to teaching and working with students to prepare them for rich careers in social work. Her strong connection to social work values and ethics inform both her practice and her teaching.
Professor Brandt utilizes a variety of teaching strategies to engage the adult learner in the classroom and field setting. Her commitment to the social work profession has led to her interest in working with students in the field setting. Professor Brandt’s role as an assistant director of field education for the online MSW program allows her the privilege of introducing social work students throughout the country to the field.
Margo M. Campbell MSS, MLSP
Professor Campbell joined the faculty at Widener University in 2015. She chose to pursue her undergraduate and graduate studies in social work because of an enduring commitment to social justice and social change. This dedication has driven both her scholarly and teaching pursuits. Her research is focused on the interactive effects of community, family, and individual-level experiences of economic vulnerability and precarity on individuals’ and families’ economic, material, and social-emotional well-being.
As a professor, she strives to create an engaging, dynamic, and responsive learning environment that demonstrates and facilitates social and economic justice and social change. In doing so, she draws from her own practice to identify the professional skills and capacities social workers need for effective social and economic justice-oriented practice, as well as her own experiences as a learner to create an optimal learning environment in which these skills and capacities are modeled and emphasized.
By encouraging self-reflection, co-created learning spaces, and the collective aspects of learning, Professor Campbell’s ultimate goal for all her students are for them to finish the course with confidence in the material, a sense of empowerment in being the leaders of their own learning, and an understanding of the link between their work, social justice, and social change.
Richard Cooper, Ph.D.
Clinical Assistant Professor
Dr. Cooper was called to the larger mission of the social work profession during an era that directly buttressed the civil rights movement. His research is focused on culturally centered educational pedagogy, therapeutic methodological frameworks, healing, counseling agency-based practice, and emancipation oriented paradigms for African Americans and other disempowered populations. Cooper has worked as a social worker and educator in various urban centers including Coatesville, PA, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, PA, Chester, PA, and Wilmington, DE, all historically significant cities that were built with cheap labor, immigrants, migrations, and industrialization. Dr. Cooper’s life’s work and teaching reflect the fact that the social work profession and our collective worldview must continue to construct positive realities that can and should be expressed about these public spaces and the people that inhabit them.
JaNeen E. Cross DSW, MSW, MBA, LCSW
Clinical Assistant Professor
Professor Cross joined the faculty at Widener University in 2015 and teaches traditional courses and online MSW program courses. She prepares students for professional social work practice with emphasis on generalist social work practice while encouraging students to develop their own individual practice styles. Students will learn the professional use of self in practice and how to impact service with clients at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels of practices.
Her courses challenge students to integrate course content with student practice experience, support students in applying critical thinking skills to tackle current practice issues with a solution focus, and motivate students to engage diversity in a respectful and inquisitive manner. Students will consult with current literature and evidence-based research to enhance course content and inform their practice decisions and methods. Assignments will be targeted to enhance students' clinical skills using multiple multimedia and traditional learning modalities. The clinical skills developed in her courses will prepare students for professional practice in any area of interest.
Her courses utilize the foundational values of social work: service, social justice, dignity, worth of the person, importance of human relationship, integrity, and competence. Social work values, along with the social work code of ethics, provide the governing principles in which classroom learning is approached and then translated into practice. Students are encouraged to apply social work values and ethics in their learning process. Students are encouraged to develop their professional identity using their educational goals, research interests, unique backgrounds, personalities, and experiences. Her courses encourage students to explore their areas of academic interests and are meant to instill a lifelong desire for continuing education, professional development, and growth.
Jennifer Cullen, MSW, Ph.D.
Assistant MSW Program Director, Assistant Professor
Dr. Cullen joined the Widener community in 2006 and has dedicated her social work experience to supporting students with special needs, including learning disabilities, developmental challenges, and mental health challenges. Services for college students with disabilities is just one of her student-focused research interests. Other interests include adult theory as well as social supports for college students with development disabilities, specifically students diagnosed with autism or Asperger’s syndrome.
Lydia C. DeBiase MSW, LCSW
Assistant Director of Field Education
Professor DeBiase is an alumnus of Widener University. She found her experience so positive and life changing that she was honored to become a full-time faculty member in 2013. She has worked in the field of child welfare for 17 years as a case worker, supervisor, and manager. She has also been an outpatient and drug and alcohol therapist and conducted forensic substance use assessments at the Delaware County Juvenile Detention Center.
Since coming to Widener University as a faculty member, she has worked with the BSW and first-year MSW students to secure internships. She has also worked with our field instructors and mentoring our students in the field and especially enjoys teaching students. Professor DeBiase finds it rewarding to watch the students grow and learn as they become competent social workers while enrolled in the program at Widener University.
Patricia Fletcher, MSW
Director of Field Education, MSW Program Field Director, Associate Professor
As director of Field Education, Professor Fletcher has the privilege of working with all of Widener’s graduate students, some of who come to the program with years of experience and many of who are new to social work. She is committed to supporting part-time students as they navigate entering a new field experience and the many challenges of balancing school, work, field, and personal life. Professor Fletcher has worked in many capacities in the field, most extensively in hospice work and in child and adolescent mental health. Additionally, she currently maintains a private clinical practice in Media, PA, at which she specializes in working with adolescents and young adults, families, women in transition, and older adults.
Ginny Focht-New, Ph.D.
Clinical Assistant Professor
Dr. Focht-New’s main focus as professor is to take a learner-center approach. She believes that students learn when new information is presented in an interactive manner. In addition to working at Widener, Dr. Focht-New maintains a therapy and consultant practice that allows her to bring her clinical experience and examples to the classroom. Social work practices and values along with her nursing knowledge and experience are at the center of both her practice and educational approaches. Dr. Focht-New’s research interests include issues of trauma, health teaching, and mental health for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Kimberly E. Giamportone, MSW, LSW
Assistant Director of Field Education, Online MSW Program
Kimberly Giamportone founded a peer support group for children, Ryan’s Tree for Grieving Children, in January 2000. Through this work Kimberly became involved with the VNA Hospice of St. Luke’s Health Network in Bethlehem, PA where she was the bereavement coordinator for both the children and adult programs.
Kimberly made a natural transition from bereavement coordinator to home based hospice social work to inpatient hospice social work to the primary palliative care social worker. She served as faculty for the medical fellowship in the palliative care department, assessing and guiding the psychosocial development of the physician fellows. During this time, Kimberly held an adjunct faculty instructor position at Marywood University Graduate School of Social Work and Administrative Studies at the Lehigh Valley campus teaching Human Behavior, Practice & Theory, Practice with Communities, Trauma, and Gerontology.
Kimberly joined the Widener University team in March 2016 as the assistant director of field education for online students in the MSW program. She instructs the field seminar courses for the online program as well.
Kimberly received her Bachelors of Science degree in Psychology from Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis, and her Masters in Social Work from Marywood University. She is currently enrolled in the Social Work PhD program at Widener University.
Robin S. Goldberg-Glen PhD, AM
Dr. Goldberg-Glen became a member of the Center for Social Work Education in 1996. What attracted her to this fine program was its curriculum design, the center's commitment to students, university civic engagement, and collegiality. Since joining the faculty, she has had the opportunity to pursue areas that she is passionate about. These include geriatric and international social work, global aging, and sexuality and aging. High points in Dr. Goldberg-Glen’s career include the oversight of two Hartford grants that provided training for faculty and students alike; eight years of international work in China, Thailand, Ghana, and the Ukraine; the oversight of conferences for grandparent caregivers of grandchildren and VP of AGE-SW; and her position as co-president and former conference chair of the Sexuality and Aging Consortium (SAC), an international organization based at Widener.
Particularly of importance to her is the ability to inspire student self-motivation, intellectual maturation, and excitement about learning. Her pedagological approach is to use a variety of teaching methods to build her students' confidence and knowledge base. She encourages students to learn through her own patience, supportiveness, and willingness to listen and respond without passing judgment. Her preference is to reinforce students' efforts to be active agents of their own learning rather than passive recipients of knowledge. She avoids teacher-centered learning and reinforces students' endeavors to become their own teachers. She believes her role as an educator is to provide students with the most up-to-date scholarly content. She values the opportunity to collaborate with students by involving them in her own research and service learning projects.
Jolynn L. Haney PhD, LSW
As a social work educator, Dr. Haney has a responsibility to prepare students to advocate for social justice and promote respect for diversity in others. By generating students' enthusiasm for gaining new knowledge, she tries to help students make informed choices about the roles they will play as social work professionals and encourage them to consider how they can make positive impacts on individuals, communities, and society. She works to develop students' critical thinking skills and wants them to understand that knowledge can empower them to help others become empowered. Students have expressed their desire to learn skills that are practical and can be applied to their existing work situations.
To this end, she incorporates real-world cases to illustrate course concepts and invites students to share stories about their relevant work experiences. She strives to foster a learning environment based on mutual respect and scholarly achievement by being compassionate and accepting. She also challenges students to become better practitioners by giving constructive feedback. She conveys respect through her genuine interest in each student, because she wants students to know that she really cares about what they have to say and recognize they have valuable contributions to make both in and out of the classroom. She makes it clear from the first class session that she is a partner in the learning process and will provide resources and support for them throughout the course. She brings more than 30 years of clinical, managerial, and data analysis experience to the classroom. Her practice experience includes counseling persons with substance abuse problems, serious mental illness, and intellectual disability, as well as providing data analysis consultation for nonprofit and government organizations involved in Pennsylvania's behavioral health Medicaid program.
Ethel Elizabeth (Liz) Horsey
MSW Assistant Director, Online Field Education Center
Ethel Elizabeth Horsey is the Assistant Director for our Online Field Education Center and an alumnus of Widener University. The year she entered the program she found the faculty and the staff supportive, encouraging, and genuinely caring about the students, which she then adopted in her practice.
She earned her Bachelors of Liberal Art from Neumann University in 2006 and her Masters in Social Work from Widener University in 2008.
In July 2016, she joined the faculty at Widener University where she can now give back the same special care treatment that she received as a student.
She has worked in the field of healthcare for seven and a half years as a trauma base social worker, oncology social worker, and supervisor. Her clinical skills have led her to be acknowledged as the employee of the month, and she has received letters of appreciation from administration.
She has enjoyed working with students to watch them grow and develop into a mature, skillful and competent social worker.
She has presented to the Graduate Level class of Social Work at Widener University on “How Social Workers manage terminally ill children, teens and their families”. She is also a member of the NASW New Jersey Chapter.
Linda Houser, MSW, Ph.D.
Ph.D. Program Director, Assistant Professor
Dr. Houser began her career in direct practice with the families of young children with chronic or disabling conditions, connecting them with developmental assessments and services. She quickly realized that the families who needed support and services the most were often blocked from getting such things by budget constraints, administrative deterrence, or, simply, lives that were already overly full. Dr. Houser sees her job as learning about the interests and practice needs of student-practitioners, facilitating interactive knowledge-building around these needs, and equipping student-practitioners to continue to build policy knowledge and advocate for service and policy changes for those who need it most. Her areas of research and policy interest include federal and state employment policies and supports, the role of states as “policy laboratories,” child care subsidies, and employment and care giving in families of children with chronic illnesses, particularly autism spectrum disorders.
Celeste Johnson, MSS, LCSW, Ph.D.
Dr. Johnson’s current research and teaching interests include traumatic stress, grief, and loss of under-represented populations with a focus on urban adolescents. With extensive experience in the field practicing with individuals, families, and groups in child welfare, psychiatric, mental health, medical, and school settings, Dr. Johnson is constantly reminded of the need for social workers to be grounded in an understanding of the use of the professional relationship. Previously, she worked in case management, counseling, supervision, consultation, and private practice.
Stephen Kauffman, MSW, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Accounting and Information Management
In his role as Program Evaluator and student advocate, Dr. Kauffman tries to empower students to feel the joy in understanding the beauty and complexity of our world. His areas of research include environmental and community development issues such as citizen participation and the role of ideology in policy. Dr. Kauffman has been working at Widener University since 1991. He has put the university’s commitment to civic engagement to the test with the development and testing of a model of civic engagement impact assessments.
Matthew A. Myrick MSW, LSW
Clinical Assistant Professor
Professor Myrick is a native of Washington, DC (a Washingtonian) who received his BSW from LaSalle University and MSW from Temple University. While in school, his internships led him to medical social work. He has worked as a unit social worker and as director of social services at skilled nursing facilities in the Philadelphia metropolitan area. His areas of expertise are working with older adults and medical social work. He also holds his LSW. After serving as a field instructor for numerous students, he was approached by LaSalle University to be an adjunct professor within its BSW program. He has been teaching since 2010. In 2012, He began pursuing his PhD in social work here at Widener University. He is amazed at the experience he has had as a Widener University student and blessed to be serving as a clinical assistant professor for the Center for Social Work Education.
Jenifer A. Norton MSW
Online MSW Program Director
Professor Norton is thrilled to be a full-time member of Widener University's Center for Social Work Education. As a former graduate student in the MSW program and an adjunct professor with the center, she has had the privilege of getting to know the program on multiple levels. She can attest to the fact that the center is composed of faculty, staff, and administrators who live and breathe its motto, "Building Relationships. Changing Lives."
As the MSW director for online programs, she wants to ensure that the center's motto extends to our students in the online MSW program. The center prides itself on the community it has built among the traditional students in the program. Her goal is to foster a sense of community and connectedness among online students and educators. She is grateful for the experiences that she had as a student in the center's MSW program, and wants the online students to graduate from the online MSW program with the same rich learning experiences that she enjoyed.
John Poulin, MSW, Ph.D.
Director Center for Social Work Education, Associate Dean School of Human Service Professions, Professor
Dr. Poulin lives by the motto of the Center for Social Work Education: “Building Relationships. Changing Lives.” This motto guides his approach to social work education. Like the Center, he strives to build professional relationships with students, model professional practice, and empower them to grow and develop to their full potential as professional social workers. The hope is that students become empathic social workers that help their clients make meaningful and lasting changes in their lives. Dr. Poulin enjoys research and scholarship. One of his current research interests focuses on social support and the well-being of elderly Chinese community residents. He is also interested in scholarship related to civic engagement and service learning.
Brent Satterly, MSS, Ph.D.
BSW Program Director, Associate Professor
Dr. Satterly’s teaching philosophy encompasses an experiential learning approach beyond didactic methodologies in order to maximize student development. As a gay man, Dr. Satterly has an acute sensitivity to the nature of privilege and the focuses of oppression. Through humor, structured activities, and group work, Satterly provides safe spaces for students to step outside their comfort zones and enhance their knowledge bases, values awareness, and skill sets. His research interests include professional identity management, therapeutic relationships, GLBT issues, experiential education, and efficacy of experiential education. In addition to teaching, Dr. Satterly serves as the Center for Social Work Education’s liaison with the Center for Human Sexuality Studies at Widener University. He is a Certified Sexuality Educator and a Certified Sex Therapist by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT).
Joey Shannon, MSW, LCSW
Online MSW Program Assistant Director
Joey Shannon, MSW, LCSW, is the Online MSW Program Assistant Director at Widener University. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Child Development from the New College of Florida and her Master of Social Work degree from Widener University in 2010.
Prior to obtaining an MSW, her professional and academic experiences have included researching the experiences of Deaf adults prior to the Americans with Disabilities Act from human development and person in environment perspectives, Early Intervention for children with disabilities, and community and acute-inpatient mental health. After obtaining her MSW from Widener, her experience and interests expanded to include clinical work with adults with and without Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities, medical social work in a Trauma and Intensive Care hospital setting and teaching as Adjunct Assistant Professor for the MSW Online Program.
Her goal and approach for the online classroom is to create a supportive and challenging learning environment which utilizes the rich and diverse experiences each student brings to the program while inspiring each student to gain new insights, skills, and understanding of social work, human behavior in the social environment, and the populations we serve.
Her research interest includes the intricate effects of social stigma and unrecognized trauma on the human experience and development for individuals with varying challenges. She believes that a greater understanding of these perspectives will allow for improved self-efficacy and effective advocacy, as well as a healthier community.
Joey Shannon is also a member of the National Association of Social Workers, and Phi Alpha Honor Society.
Paula T. Silver, Ph.D.
Dean, School of Human Service Professions, Professor
Dr. Silver was Director of Widener University’s Center for Social Work Education since 1998 and in academic social work since 1992. Dr. Silver was appointed Dean of the School of Human Service Professions in May 2011, after having served as interim dean for one year. As Dean of the School of Human Service Professions, Dr. Silver oversees the Center for Social Work Education, Institute for Graduate Clinical Psychology, the Center for Human Sexuality Studies and the Institute for Physical Therapy Education. As Dean, she also oversees the Widener Partnership Charter School and serves as Chair of the School’s Board of Trustees.
Dr. Silver’s recent research activities include the pedagogy of civic engagement and service learning, public child welfare practice and policy, and the integration of international content in social work curriculum. Her service to the profession includes 6 years as a reaffirmation site visitor for the Commission on Accreditation, consultation on child welfare assessment for the Pennsylvania Department of Children and Family Services, and service on the boards of directors of a number of human service organizations. Prior to her academic career, she worked in public and private child welfare services for 15 years. Dr. Silver received a BA from the University of Chicago, MSW from University of Pennsylvania and Ph.D. from Bryn Mawr College Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research.
Eric S. Stein DSW, LSW
Clinical Assistant Professor
Professor Stein received his MSW in 2003 and clinical DSW in 2010 from the University of Pennsylvania. Over the past seven years, he has taught courses in Trauma, Foundation, and Advanced Practice, Human Behavior, and Mental Health Diagnosis at Widener, Penn, Rutgers, and Stockton. He has been involved in the field of social work for more than 15 years in clinical and administrative positions both in Philadelphia and San Francisco, and he has been a field supervisor for more than 10 years. His practice has included mental health and community-based services for individuals, children, youth, and families living in marginalized and oppressed communities, as well as services for immigrants.
Taking a constructivist approach to teaching, he believes that knowledge and learning emerge from interactions with others in the classroom context. Central to his approach is attending to power dynamics and helping students experience a sense of safety and trust in the classroom through empathy and connection, which spurs their process of growth and discovery as learners and practitioners.
Shanna M. Williams LCSW, MEd
Clinical Assistant Professor
In July 2014, Professor Williams was honored to join the Center for Social Work Education faculty. Prior to becoming a member of the faculty, she was an undergraduate and graduate student in the social work and master's of human sexuality programs. Before coming to Widener, she had the opportunity to gain a wealth of experience in development & facilitation of diversity and sexual health programming. After graduating with her BSW, she began her career in social work in the fields of child welfare and with families of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
When she returned as a graduate student, she served as an intern for Social Work Counseling Services, commonly known as SWCS. SWCS created a nurturing atmosphere that allowed her to grow as a clinician while priming her for postgraduate clinical work with youth and families affected by sexual or other forms of trauma. She continues to find clinical social work to be just as inspiring and fulfilling as it is complex and challenging.
When she was invited to return to Widener as a SWCS supervisor in January 2014, she fell in love with the opportunity to use a combination of clinical experience with the passion for social work and education with the social work interns. In her current role as the director of Social Work Counseling Services and an assistant professor, she is looking forward to recreating the same enlightening, engaging, and supportive experiences that shaped her career. She believes education should be equally practical and innovative, developing practitioners ready to enter into the field with fresh and creative approaches to real-world issues. She is passionate about developing a collaborative and engaging learning experience that contributes to the growth of clinicians equipped to successfully empower clients to reach their full potential.
Jenny Wyatt, MSS, Ph.D., LCSW
Assistant Professor, Director Widener Center for Violence Prevention
Dr. Wyatt has been part of Widener’s faculty since 2001 and has held various administrative positions. She is the founder and director of the Center for Violence Prevention and, when she first joined Widener, served as Assistant director of field instruction and assistant director of the Center. Dr. Wyatt’s goal in teaching is to make the unknown accessible and to challenge what is known via critical analysis. She believes the parallel process in social work education provides a rich foundation for assessing one’s own perspective and integrating new approaches to practice with clients. Wyatt’s research interests include mental health treatment, crisis intervention, critical incident stress, volunteerism, treatment of children and adolescents, violence, and policy and program development that support these topics. Notable research projects include Mental Health Transition into the Community, Social and Emotional Competence, Volunteer Firefighting, Program Evaluation, and Regional Mental Health Programs. In addition to teaching, Dr. Wyatt has worked a great deal with emergency service providers via critical incident stress management and continues to volunteer on a CISM team in the region.