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Portrait of Tara Velez

Tara Velez, MSW

Instructor of Social Work

Educational Background

Master of Social Work from Catholic University of America in Washington, DC (2006)

Bachelor of Arts Social Work from Loras College in Dubuque, IA (2004)

Teaching Philosophy

I strive to create a classroom environment built upon respect and dignity. My courses are designed to stimulate engagement, collaboration, critical thinking, problem-solving, and personal exploration while providing a foundational knowledge of social work principles. I hope to instill or reinforce a commitment to social justice in our students.

Sometimes you have to take the leap, and build your wings on the way down. Kobi Yamada

Tara Velez


Professional Background

Tara has over 12 years of experience in national and international social work macro practice and in social work education. Her most recent positions included the Corporate and Foundations Grants Officer at Clarke University, the Executive Director of St. Mark Youth Enrichment, the Director of the Multicultural Family Center, and the Director of Programs at the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque. Velez volunteered in Gros Morne, Haiti and served two terms with AmeriCorps in 2000 and 2005.

Research Interests

  • Social Justice
  • Policy
  • Bereavement
  • Mental Health Awareness and Education

Courses Taught

  • Field Seminar (BSW and MSW)
  • Introduction to Social Welfare and Social Work
  • Human Behavior and the Social Environment
  • Nonprofit Management and Grant Writing
  • Social Policy: Form and Analysis
  • Diversity and Privilege
  • Social Work with Communities and Organizations
  • Practice 1: Social Work with Individuals

Certifications and Memberships

  • Member of the development committee at the Multicultural Family Center
  • Member of the Changing Minds planning committee
  • Member of the Sexual Violence Prevention committee at Clarke University

Community Service/Volunteer Activities

  • 2018-Current, Clarke University Mackin Mailander Committee
  • 2019-Current, Leadership team for Cherish the Children (group dedicated to supporting bereaved parents)
  • 2018-Current, Threshold Singer and Hospice of Dubuque Volunteer
  • 2018-2019, Chair of the Iowa Chapter of the Star Legacy Foundation
  • 2015-2019, Changing Minds planning committee member
  • 2015-2018, United Way Grant Reviewer & Consultant
  • 2015-2017, Multicultural Family Center development committee member