Date of Dissertation


Document Type



Social Work


This banded dissertation consists of three distinct but related scholarly works, and examines the role of trauma-informed educational practices in social work education. The ecological perspective and the trauma-informed perspective serve as conceptual frameworks throughout. Each scholarly work is represented, and overarching implications for social work education and research are discussed.

The first portion of this banded dissertation is a conceptual analysis that examines the need for a trauma-informed perspective in social work education, possible reasons for this curricular gap in undergraduate social work education, and highlights models of curriculum change used in graduate level social work programs to incorporate trauma content. This analysis then presents a rationale for extending the CSWE guidelines offered for advanced generalist social work education to undergraduate social work education.

The second portion of this banded dissertation describes a qualitative study that explores the experiences of faculty with teaching about trauma in undergraduate social programs. Using a semi-structured interview format, this study captured the perceptions and experiences of 14 faculty from social work programs in three states in the Upper Midwest. Participants were asked about their conceptualization of trauma, their observations of the trauma-informed care model, and their experiences with teaching this content at the undergraduate level.

The third portion of this banded dissertation provides an overview of an interactive presentation given on November 20, 2016 at the 36th Annual Original Lilly Conference on College Teaching. The presentation described here proposes that the trauma-informed perspective can serve as a useful conceptual framework for the university classroom, as a tool for supporting pre-professional students, and as a means for introducing an important model for working with clients.

This banded dissertation brings awareness to the need for greater integration of the trauma-informed perspective in undergraduate social work education in particular, and recommends applications of trauma-informed educational practices for higher education. Future research opportunities include further investigation into the current use of these practices in social work programs and avenues for contributing to the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning movement.