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Portrait of Colleen Mahoney

Colleen Mahoney, Ph.D.

Associate Professor and Chair of Social Work

Educational Background

University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration
Ph.D. Social Work 2007
M.A. Clinical Social Work 2001

Iowa State University, M.S. in Counseling Psychology 1993

Georgetown University, B.S. in Psychology 1985

Teaching Philosophy

Connection with students, both in and out of the classroom, is foundational to my teaching philosophy. I use a variety of practices to promote relationships with students; in turn, these relationships, I believe, contribute to the confidence, courage, and inspiration required for students to explore their own beliefs, take risks, and ultimately change their own hearts and minds.


Professional Background

Prior to my career in academia, I worked as a mental health clinician with adults struggling with serious mental illness, substance use problems, and a host of other psychosocial difficulties. Before arriving at Clarke, I was an assistant professor at University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Social Work, and while completing my Ph.D., I taught social work courses at the School of Social Service Administration at University of Chicago.

Research Interests

  • Therapeutic relationships in clinical social work
  • Ethics, dual roles, and cultural sensitivity in social work practice
  • Use of Motivational Interviewing in social work practice
  • Teaching social work clinical practice

Courses Taught

  • Motivational Interviewing for Social Work Practice
  • Advanced Clinical Practice
  • Specialized Practice Field Seminar
  • Problematic Substance Use
  • Integrated Health II

Certifications and Memberships

  • Iowa Licensed Masters Level Social Worker
  • Member, NASW National and Iowa division
  • Member, National Rural Social Work Caucus
  • Selected Presentations

    Mahoney, Colleen A., and Steve, Amy. (2018). Field Suervision and Classroom Instruction in Rural MSW Programs: Risks and Benefits of Educational Dual Roles. Presented at the National Rural Social Work Caucus’ 43rd National Institute on Social Work and Human Services in Rural Areas, Murray, KY, July 18.

    Mahoney, Colleen A. (2017). The Client-Social Worker Relationship in Rural Communities: How to be Effective, Ethical, and Culturally-Sensitive. Presented at the National Rural Social Work Caucus’ 42nd National Institute on Social Work and Human Services in Rural Areas, Jackson, TN, July 19.

    Mahoney, Colleen A. (2017). Applied Ethics Training. Presented at Catholic Charities Counseling Services, Dubuque, IA, June 29.