Keva Miller, Ph.D., M.S.S.W., LCSW
Dean & Professor
Dr. Keva Miller is the inaugural Dean for the School of Social Work and Criminal Justice and a nationally recognized scholar in the areas of child welfare and criminal justice. Prior to joining the University of Washington Tacoma, Dean Miller was the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor at Portland State University School of Social Work. She also held academic appointments at the University of Texas at Austin, Fordham University, and Columbia University. She earned her doctorate in social work from Fordham University and master and bachelor degrees in social work from the University of Texas at Austin.
As a leader, Dean Miller seeks to maintain and enhance the University of Washington Tacoma’s reputation as a distinctive urban-serving institution and partner with faculty and staff to prioritize social justice and organizational excellence through elevating student success; advancing teaching and research excellence; promoting organizational sustainability; enhancing community engagement and partnerships; and creating a shared identity. Dean Miller believes that multi- and interdisciplinary scholarship through research, instruction, and community outreach are critical to the overall mission of the University and School.
Dean Miller’s scholarship challenges linear discourses and conceptualizations on contributors to adverse outcomes among system-involved, vulnerable, and historically marginalized and minoritized populations. Her scholarship also examines risk, protection, and resilience among BIPOC and highly stressed populations. Dean Miller works in partnership with criminal justice and child welfare systems to evaluate program effectiveness and enhance service delivery. Her research, policy advocacy, and practice recommendations have contributed to the preservation of family-based, system-focused prison programs and culturally-responsive practices within child welfare systems.
Dean Miller enjoys spending time with her family on the Oregon coastal shores and at Disney parks.
Christopher Barrans, M.S.W.
Director of Field Education & Assistant Teaching Professor
Chris is an Assistant Teaching Professor for the School of Social Work and Criminal Justice. In his role as Director of Field Education, he has the privilege of connecting students to practicum experiences in the field and watching them put into practice the concepts and teaching learned in the classroom. His interests include HIV/AIDS issues, LGBTQ rights and perspectives specifically trans and gender non-binary experiences. Prior to UWT, he worked in HIV medical case management in the South Sound. He remains committed to increasing access to HIV medications, care, and prevention for all as well as decreasing HIV-related stigma.Contact Information
Rick Butt, M.S.W.
Director, Child Welfare Training and Advancement Program (CWTAP)
Rick has over 33 years of child welfare practice and management experience working in British Columbia, Canada, California and Washington. His expertise includes adolescent development and transitioning issues, leadership development, community engagement and partnership, policy and program development and implementation, and fiscal and contractual accountability.
He currently is the Director for the Child Welfare Training and Advancement Program (CWTAP) at the University of Washington, Tacoma (UWT). Prior to this position he was the Region 3 Director for the Alliance for Child Welfare Excellence for UWT and prior to that, the statewide Adolescent Program Manager with DSHS Children's Administration. In this position he successfully implemented Passion to Action – the Department's first (and only) statewide youth advisory board. This board brought “authentic youth voice” into the development and implementation of policies and procedures affecting child welfare practice in Washington State. Rick also led the successful implementation of the National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD) bringing Washington State to the forefront as one of the leaders in the country for NYTD implementation.
Rick is very passionate about adolescents and transitioning youth. He is a strong ally and advocate in making sure all youth in foster care are given the necessary tools to be successful in adulthood.
In his free time Rick enjoys spending quality time with his 2 children. He has a love for the outdoors - biking, hiking, and kayaking and re-purposing old wood into new life.
Randy Myers, Ph.D.
Criminal Justice Division Chair, Criminal Justice Program Chair & Associate Professor
Randy Myers is an Associate Professor in the School of Social Work & Criminal Justice at UW Tacoma. He received his PhD in Criminology, Law & Society from the University of California, Irvine in 2012. His scholarly interests include youth justice policy and practice, criminological theory, and theories of social control. His work has been published in Punishment & Society, Theoretical Criminology, and the British Journal of Criminology, among other outlets. At UW Tacoma, he regularly teaches courses such as Criminological Theory, Deviance & Social Control, and Adult Corrections. The best part of his job is meeting with students and talking to them about their lives and goals for the future.
In his spare time, he likes to explore the PNW with his young family, attempt to play the guitar, and read.
Claudia Sellmaier, Ph.D.
Social Work Division Chair, MSW & BASW Program Chair, Graduate Program Coordinator & Assistant Professor
Claudia Sellmaier joined the Social Work and Criminal Justice faculty in 2015. She received her social work degree in Germany and practiced social work mainly with homeless youth both in Germany and the United States for over seven years. Her teaching focuses on the role of macro contexts such as policies, communities, and institutions in social work practice and social work education. In her research Claudia examines economic security and work-life fit at the intersection of disability, gender and community resources. She also looks at social work education and professional development in the context of disability both nationally and internationally.Curriculum Vitae
Terri Simonsen, M.Ed.
Director of Academic Services, Finance & Operations
As the School of Social Work and Criminal Justice Director of Academic Services, Finance and Operations, Terri provides support and oversight in the areas of school operations, budget and academic human resources. Her interests center on helping to find creative and strategic solutions to pave the way for better experiences for students, faculty and staff. With a strong background in the areas of university advising, recruiting and student affairs, she’s a valuable resource to those she supports. Local to this area, Terri enjoys all that the Pacific Northwest has to offer. She especially loves spending quality time with her family.
Criminal Justice Faculty
Ken Cruz, J.D., Ph.D.
Ken Cruz has a JD from the University of Connecticut and a PhD from the University of California, Irvine. He joined the School of Social Work and Criminal Justice as an Assistant Professor in 2019. Before he became an academic, he worked in social services for close to eight years as a crisis hotline worker, a behavioral health case manager and a direct care worker at a violence prevention group home. As a practitioner, he witnessed similar stressors endured by his clients in three different states and gained first-hand experience with our extremely overburdened and under-resourced social service systems. These experiences propelled him into academia to examine the structural forces that produce inequitable exposures to distress, trauma and violence. His current research examines practitioners’ experiences of community-based crime prevention, social control, racialized injustice, and transformative solutions. He enjoys hiking, mountain biking and playing percussions. He currently teaches Helping Skills in Criminal Justice, Criminological Theory and American Criminal Courts.Contact Information
Eric Madfis, Ph.D.
Eric Madﬁs, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at the University of Washington Tacoma, where his research focuses on the causes and prevention of school violence, hate crime, and mass murder. He received his Ph.D. in Sociology from Northeastern University in Boston, where he was a Research Associate at the Brudnick Center on Violence and Conflict. He often teaches courses on Criminological Theory, Sociology of Deviance and Social Control, Criminal Homicide, Juvenile Justice, and Diversity and Social Justice in Criminology.
As a nationally and internationally recognized expert on school and mass shootings, Dr. Madfis has spoken to audiences across the country and around the world about his research, including to the United States Congress. The Washington State Legislature utilized his research on the prevention of mass school shootings to inform the passage of a recent legislative mandate implementing non-biased threat assessment procedures in public schools across Washington state. He is the 2018 recipient of UW Tacoma's Distinguished Research Award.
His work has been published in Aggression and Violent Behavior, American Behavioral Scientist, Behavioral Sciences & the Law, Critical Criminology, Homicide Studies, The Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, The Journal of Hate Studies, The Journal of Psychology, Men and Masculinities, School Psychology Review, Social Justice, The Social Science Journal, Sociological Focus, Sociological Inquiry, Violence and Gender, Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice, and in various edited volumes. He served as co-editor of the February 2018 special issue of American Behavioral Scientist on "Media Coverage of Mass Killers." He is the author of How to Stop School Rampage Killing: Lessons from Averted Mass Shootings and Bombings and co-editor of the forthcoming book All American Massacre: The Tragic Role of American Culture and Society in Mass Shootings.Curriculum Vitae
Barb Toews, Ph.D.
Barb Toews is Associate Professor in criminal justice at University of Washington Tacoma. Her research focuses on the relationships among criminal/restorative justice, architecture and environmental design, and psycho-social-behavioral-judicial outcomes for victims, offenders, and justice professionals. Her research is meant to inspire a justice architecture and environmental design that reflects restorative justice values and goals of accountability and healing. Her current focus is on the design of trauma-informed spaces for violence survivors. She actively collaborates with architects, designers, and landscape architects in her research.
Barb has numerous publications related to restorative justice, including its relationship to design. She is co-author, with Howard Zehr, of the forthcoming book, Still doing life: 22 lifers, 25 years later (The New Press) and Critical issues in restorative justice (2004). She is also author of Little book of restorative justice for people in prison (2006) and the current series editor of the Little Books of Justice and Peacebuilding series (Good Books). Her collaboration with architect Deanna Van Buren, of Designing Justice+Designing Spaces, was featured in the By the People: Designing a Better America exhibit, curated for the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, in New York City.
For almost two decades prior to becoming faculty, Barb held leadership positions in restorative and criminal justice non-profit organizations. This included two community-based victim-offender dialogue programs as well as an agency that advocated and provided services for incarcerated people and their families, holding a position in which she developed and facilitated restorative justice programs in collaboration with incarcerated men and women. She is an experienced victim-offender dialogue facilitator in both non-violent and violent crimes.
Barb holds a PhD in Social Work and Social Research from Bryn Mawr College and a Master’s degree in Conflict Transformation (with a focus on restorative justice) from the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding at Eastern Mennonite University.
Social Work Faculty
Anindita Bhattacharya, Ph.D., M.S.W.
Anindita Bhattacharya is an Assistant Professor at the School of Social Work and Criminal Justice at the University of Washington-Tacoma. She received her Master of Arts in Social Work (MSW) from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, India. Subsequently, she worked as a social worker serving women living with serious mental illness in psychiatric institutions in India. She received her Ph.D. from Columbia University School of Social Work. Her current research integrates feminist perspectives to examine social and cultural determinants of women’s mental health and improve care through the development of culturally and contextually adapted interventions. Anindita has expertise in qualitative, mixed-methods, and community-based participatory research methods and brings a global and social justice perspective on social work in both her research and teaching.Curriculum Vitae
Asia Bishop, Ph.D., M.S.W.
Asia Bishop (she/her) is an Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work and Criminal Justice at the University of Washington-Tacoma. She holds a BA in Sociology from Western Washington University, as well as a MSW in Policy Practice and PhD in Social Welfare from the University of Washington. Her research focuses broadly on marginalized youth and the inequities they experience, including how environmental and systemic factors shape health disparities. She takes a critical, intersectional approach to ensure system responses and service approaches informed by her work are relevant to youth’s needs and lived experiences. Asia’s research is informed by personal and professional experience, including 10+ years working with youth, communities, and systems in programming, practice, and research contexts. A significant portion of this work has centered on gang involved youth and those disproportionately impacted by the juvenile legal system. Asia enjoys teaching research methods and mentoring students across levels, where she maintains a focus on critical perspectives, participatory approaches, and applied research skills. At UWT, she is looking forward to teaching mezzo and macro courses across the social work and criminal justice programs. Asia spends her free time reading, playing board games, and adventuring in the mountains.Asia Bishop Contact Information
Jarrod Call, Ph.D., LCSW, MSW
Jarrod grew up outside of Seattle, WA and moved to Denver in the Fall of 2018 to complete his PhD in social work at the University of Denver. As a queer scholar, they value equity, diversity, and social justice, and seek to support LGBT people in living meaningful and exciting lives. Specifically, they research how sexuality and gender interact with an emphasis on transgender healthcare access. Initially headed for medical school, they changed trajectory to social work with the desire to give back to their community. After completing their MSW program at Brigham Young University, they worked as an ER crisis worker and a substance abuse counselor, focusing on residential care for high risk men with extensive histories of homelessness and incarceration. Jarrod has also maintained a small virtual private practice focused on members of the LGBTQ+ community. Outside of work, Jarrod recently developed a passion for pole dancing, and enjoys puzzles, podcasts, trying new restaurants and bars, and reading.Curriculum Vitae
Rich Furman, Ph.D., M.S.W., M.F.A.
Rich Furman, MFA, MSW, PhD, is the author or editor of over 18 books, including a collection of flash nonfiction/prose poems, Compañero (Main Street Rag, 2007). Other books include Detaining the Immigrant Other: Global and Transnational Issues (Oxford University Press, 2016), Social Work Practice with Men at Risk (Columbia University Press, 2010), and Practical Tips for Publishing Scholarly Articles (Oxford University Press, 2012). His work has been published in Another Chicago Magazine, Hippocampus, Bluestem, Chiron Review, Sweet, Hawai’i Review, Pearl, Coe Review, The Evergreen Review, Black Bear Review, Red Rock Review, Sierra Nevada Review, New Hampshire Review, Penn Review, and many others. He is professor of social work at University of Washington Tacoma. A qualitative researcher whose work is situated on the boundary between the expressive arts and the social sciences, he is one of the pioneers of poetic inquiry. He received his MFA in creative nonfiction from Queens University Charlotte’s MFA-Latin America program. He is, or has been in former incarnations, a punk, dishwasher, laminator, photographer, dad, social worker, busboy, chemical-spill cleaner, telemarketer, Time/Life bookseller, dance club bouncer and dog petter. Petting dogs is what he does, and enjoys, best.Curriculum Vitae
Michelle Garner, Ph.D.
Social work is the nexus of concern for improving individual and collective well-being with physical and mental health and social justice implications. This core mission is what attracted me to the field and now unifies and guides my teaching, research, service, and clinical practice.
I am a scientist-practitioner clinician, trained in behavioral health and medicine. After earning my MSW, I worked for years as a clinician and researcher in varied venues and with multiple populations prior to and during my doctoral education. I am a licensed independent clinical social worker (LICSW) and a member of the NASW academy of certified social workers (ACSW). Having joined the UWT faculty in 2006, I now teach practice and theory classes at the bachelors and masters levels, a role I am thoroughly enjoying. I have continued my private practice, which invigorates my teaching by keeping me grounded in my skills and current with practice issues.
I have a health services research orientation in my research and scholarship. As such, my interests are broader than the study of specific populations and lay in seeking to understand and improve common processes of health and social services. Specifically, I am interested in how services are organized for delivery, clinically active aspects of contexts and service providers, and potent content of provided services along with how these things effect who receives services, and how effective and efficient they are. My research and scholarship accordingly center upon:
Empirical outcomes evaluation of health and social service programs and novel psychosocial or structural interventions. Translational science and analytical analyses to conceptualize and improve provider behavior and intervention content for effectiveness at point of services, including preparation of professional social workers and lay community volunteers.
I bring enthusiasm for the profession and my work into the classroom and am contemplative about how to make this enthusiasm contagious!
Vern Harner, Ph.D.
Vern Harner received their BFA (concentrating in fiber arts) and MSW (focusing on mezzo/macro practice) from Arizona State University, and their PhD in social welfare from UW-Seattle. Their research focuses on trans and multiply marginalized communities, specifically quality of life and improving health and social care service experiences. As an instructor, Dr. Harner specializes in teaching not only queer/trans focused social work, but also the history of our profession and foundational research methods. They’re honored to have received the UW Excellence in Teaching Award and be a Husky 100 in 2020. When not working, they enjoy crocheting and taking walks around the block with their rescue dog, Rook.Vern Harner contact information
Marian Harris, Ph.D., M.S.W., LICSW
Marian S. Harris, PhD, MSW, LICSW, ACSW is Professor at the University of Washington Tacoma, School of Social Work & Criminal Justice, and Adjunct Professor, University of Washington, School of Social Work, Seattle, WA. Dr. Harris received her PhD from Smith College School for Social Work and completed a two-year NIMH Post-Doctoral Training Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, School of Social Work. She serves on the Board of Directors, Clinical Social Work Association, Race, Equity and Inclusion Citizen’s Review Panel, WA State Department of Children, Youth, and Families, Coalition for Children of Incarcerated Parents and Board of Trustees, Children’s Home Society of Washington and is a volunteer partner with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, Alexandria, VA.
Dr. Harris is a nationally and internationally known child welfare researcher/scholar whose work focuses on the mother-child attachment relationship, adult attachment typology, childhood trauma, kinship care, racial disproportionality and disparities in child welfare, and children of incarcerated parents. Dr. Harris is the author of varied journal articles, newspaper articles, books, book chapters, reports, Op Eds, and book reviews. She serves on the editorial board for several social work journals.
Some of Dr. Harris’ prior experiences include Interim Vice Chancellor, University of Washington Tacoma, Faculty Associate, University of Chicago, Chapin Hall Center for Children, Adjunct Professor & Research Adviser, Smith College School for Social Work, Consultant Reviewer for the U.S. Children’s Bureau, Inaugural Co-Chair, WA State Racial Disproportionality Advisory Committee and Inaugural Vice Chair, City of Tacoma Citizen’s Review Panel, Tacoma Police Department. Dr. Harris has received a variety of awards for her research/scholarship, teaching, and professional service. Most recent awards are: 2017, Distinguished Research Award, University of Washington Tacoma, 2018 Social Worker of the Year Award, Washington State Chapter, National Association of Social Workers, 2021 Social Justice Award, Washington State Society for Clinical Social Work, 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award & Woman of the Month (November 2021), Professional Organization of Women of Excellence Recognized (P.O.W.E.R). She has dedicated her career to supporting vulnerable and oppressed populations with a major focus on children and families involved with the child welfare and other systems including the criminal justice system.
JaeRan Kim, Ph.D., M.S.W.
JaeRan Kim, Ph.D., MSW, (she/hers) is an Associate Professor in the School of Social Work and Criminal Justice. She was a Title IV-E Doctoral Fellow and a Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) Fellow at the University of Minnesota. Prior to completing her doctoral degree, she worked with foster and adopted children and families and with adults with disabilities in residential care. Dr. Kim’s research is focused on the intersection of adoption and disabilities, in particular exploring disability, race, and transnational experiences for adoptees. Her research has explored the racial, ethnic, and adoption socialization practices of Korean American adoptee parents, the use of out-of-home care for adoptees and has examined the adoption histories of children in residential treatment, group homes and foster care in MN, the experiences of adoptive parents who placed an intercountry adopted child in out-of-home care, and the experiences of adult intercountry adoptees who had displaced adoptions in their childhood. Dr. Kim also researches the intersection of disability and social work, and explores the preparation and training of professional social workers. As a public scholar, Dr. Kim is passionate about engaging in community-based projects; her blog Harlow’s Monkey, which focuses on the transracial/transnational adoptee experience, is one of the longest-running transracial adoption blogs in the United States.Curriculum Vitae
Nancy Kuhuski, MSW
Assistant Teaching Professor
Nancy Kuhuski is an Assistant Teaching Professor at the School of Social Work and Criminal Justice at the University of Washington - Tacoma. She received her Master of Social Work (MSW) right here at UW Tacoma, and her BA in Sociology/Social Service and International Service Certificate from Seattle Pacific University. She is also a graduate of the Child Welfare Training and Advancement Program (CWTAP).
Nancy spent 24 years in direct practice in both the public and private non-profit sectors prior to coming to UWT. Most of her work has been with high risk children and families. Nancy spent 10 of those years in program management/development and supervision where her passions for mentoring the next generation of social workers and innovative and culturally responsive interventions was further fueled. Nancy has expertise in public child welfare, adolescent development, and mitigating the impact of secondary trauma and equipping practitioners with the tools and knowledge to thrive as social workers, not just survive our chosen field.
Nancy has a great love of the outdoors and a passion for travel. When not working or spending time with her family, she is often out in the world doing her very best to live life to the fullest.Contact Information
Ronald San Nicolas, Ph.D.
Assistant Teaching Professor
Ronnie's social work career spans 35 years of combined experiences in behavioral health practice and university teaching in Guam, Hawaii and the State of Washington. Guided by his practice and educational experiences, Ronnie’s teaching focuses on community behavioral health and neurodevelopmental disabilities practice. Particularly of interest to him are neurodiversity, recovery, policy and clinical social work practice. He earned both his MSW with a behavioral health concentration in 1990 and PhD in Social Welfare in 1998 from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He serves at the Coordinator of the UW Tacoma Simon Family Endowment Autism MSW Fellowship program and supervises MSW students in agencies serving neurodevelopmentally disabled adults.Curriculum Vitae
Megan Toothaker, MSW
Assistant Teaching Professor and Field Faculty
Megan is an Assistant Teaching Professor at The School of Social Work and Criminal Justice. Megan identifies as a first-generation college student and received her Bachelors in Communications from Washington State University in 2010 and her Masters in Social Work from Walla Walla University in 2015. Upon graduation, she begin her career in HIV Case Management, managing a program that worked at reducing barriers for marginalized communities, such as the LGBTQ+ and immigrant population, in seeking HIV care. Through her work she has developed a passion for clinical and medical social work and developing anti-stigma and anti-racism initiatives in healthcare and non-profit organizations. At UWT SSWCJ, Megan teaches Professionalism in Social Work, Intro to Social Work and supports social work students in there practicum placement.
In her spare time, she enjoys discovering Tacoma and local shops through walks with her retired racing greyhound, Evee and spending time with her community outdoors.Megan Toothaker Contact information
Hermenia Butler, M.S.W.
CWTAP Field Instructor & Teaching Associate
Hermenia Butler earned her BA in Psychology and her MSW from the University of Washington. She is also a graduate of the Child Welfare Training and Advancement Program (CWTAP).
Ms. Butler began her social work career over 20 years ago as a counselor at a juvenile rehabilitation facility working with incarcerated youth. After receiving her MSW in 1998, Ms. Butler obtained a job with Washington State’s Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF). Over the years, she worked in several programs including Child Protective Services and Child and Family Welfare Services, first as a social worker then CFWS Supervisor, Area Administrator and most recently as the Regional Programs Administrator covering all 13 counties in Region 3. Her expertise includes curriculum development and training to help address the issues of Racial Disproportionality and Father Engagement within the DCYF.
Ms. Butler joined the CWTAP team July 2017.
Mahealani Kalilikane, M.S.W.
CWTAP Field Instructor & Teaching Associate
Mahealani (pronounced MAH-HAY-YAH-LAH-KNEE) Kalilikane graduated from University of Hawaii at Hilo in 2001 with a Bachelors of Science in Sociology and Communication and then completed a Master’s of Social Work (MSW) at the University of Washington, Seattle in 2005. She began her social work profession in 1994 working with foster care youth in a non-profit agency in Hawaii, and then moved to Tacoma, Washington where she continued to work with the foster care population. Ms. Kalilikane began her work with Washington State Department of Social and Health Services Department of Children, Youth and Families in 2004 and held social work positions in Child Family Welfare Services, Child Health Education Tracking, Afterhours and Adoption.
Ms. Kalilikane joined the University of Washington Tacoma Social Work Child Welfare Training and Advancement Program (CWTAP) in June 2015 where she serves as a faculty field instructor for CWTAP students engaged in the achievement of their MSW degree. In her role, she is responsible for educating and training students in the master’s in social work degree program while preparing them to gain and maintain permanent social work positions within the Department of Children, Youth and Families.
Whitney Miller, MSW, LICSW
CWTAP Field Instructor & Teaching Associate
Whitney Miller is a Clinical Social Worker with over a decade of experience advocating for the needs and rights of children and families impacted by various systems to include the public child welfare and healthcare systems.
Whitney completed her undergraduate studies at Saint Martin’s University (BA in Community Services, 2008) and completed her graduate studies at the University of Washington Tacoma. She is a proud CWTAP graduate (MSW, 2012). Professionally, Whitney has worked at the Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) in various social work programs (Child and Family Welfare Services, Court Filing, and Recovery Court) before transitioning to Pierce County Juvenile Court as a Guardian ad litem and was instrumental in the implementation of the Pierce County Best for Babies Program (now Early Childhood Court). Prior to joining the CWTAP team, she worked for Tacoma General Hospital in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) supporting and addressing the needs of families with critically ill infants, many with complex psychosocial situations.
Whitney is committed to addressing racial disparities and implicit bias in systems specifically for pregnant and parenting families. Whitney’s areas of interest include infant mental health, therapeutic interventions for pregnant and parenting families, and advancing clinical skills for public child welfare workers. Whitney is excited to be a part of the program that launched her social work career and to support students pursuing their careers in public child welfare!
Ms. Miller joined the CWTAP team in October 2022.Contact Information for Whitney Miller
Lindsey Phillips, MSW
CWTAP Field Instructor & Teaching Associate
Lindsey Phillips is one of five Field Instructors for the Child Welfare Training and Advancement Program (CWTAP) at UW Tacoma. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Washington State University with a Minor in Sociology in 2009. She began her social worker profession in 2010 working mostly with foster youth through various programs at a local Community Mental Health agency. This included acting as a Behavioral Rehabilitation Services (BRS) case manager, Psychiatric Case Aide and Foster Home Licensor. Her engagement with foster youth was a catalyst for Ms. Phillips to further her education to better serve vulnerable youth. With that aspiration in mind, she graduated with her Master of Social Work (MSW) degree in 2015 from the University of Washington, Tacoma and is a proud alum of the UW T CWTAP program as well.
Ms. Phillips began her work with the Washington State Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) in 2015 and held social work positions in Child Family Welfare Services (CFWS), Investigations and Family Assessment Response (FAR) as both a front-line worker and supervisor. Ms. Phillips has a strong commitment to the health and well-being of children and families with special interests in morale and retention efforts for public child welfare social workers.
Ms. Phillips joined the CWTAP team in October 2022.Contact information for Lindsey Phillips
Moniquetra Slater, M.S.W.
CWTAP Field Instructor & Teaching Associate
Moniquetra Slater, MSW is one of four Field Instructors for the Child Welfare Training and Advancement Program (CWTAP) here at UW Tacoma. She is both proud and honored to be able to work for CWTAP and the School of Social Work and Criminal Justice, and believes this is her way of giving back to the programs that helped to mold and develop her social work career. Ms. Slater graduated from UW Tacoma in 2008 with her Masters of Social Work degree and was a CWTAP graduate herself. She also has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Pacific Lutheran University, where she also completed minors in Sociology and Religion. Ms. Slater has been working with children and families since 2002, including work as a Children’s Mental Health Counselor and as a Child Welfare Social Worker with the State of Washington. During her time with the State Ms. Slater worked in the following programs: Family Voluntary Services, Tribal Payment Liaison, Adoptions, Child and Family Welfare Services, and in Indian Child Welfare as both a front-line worker and supervisor.
Ms. Slater is very passionate about providing best-practice services to children and families. This involves working diligently to build appropriate rapport and effectively engaging with everyone who has a vested interest in the success of the family.
“Children and families need to know that you care, not only by hearing us say it, but by showing them through our efforts to improve their situation. One must work consistently to diminish the inherent power imbalance that the helping professional has over the case plan by incorporating both the client’s own needs and personal concerns in order for a successful, lasting resolution to occur.”
-M. Slater, MSW 2016
Ms. Slater is a staunch advocate for UW Tacoma students, the campus as a whole, and the surrounding communities. She believes her current role is both an honor and privilege, affording her an opportunity to serve & encourage others with like desires to make positive change in society. Ms. Slater is hopeful that her status as a BIPOC woman & educator will help to encourage current/future students to aspire to be on the front lines of social change.
Ms. Slater’s interests include equitable and inclusive public child welfare practices, investing in childhood resiliency, supporting appropriate & adequate community mental health services, and active participation in social advocacy efforts (especially those that affect BIPOC communities). She is the proud dog-mom to a 130-lb. pit-bull mix named Seamus, who is definitely the light of her life. Her 5-year goals include: Learning to actively incorporate more mindfulness activities into all of her daily routines and achieving a licensed independent clinical social worker status.
Ryan Kernan is the Advisor & Academic Specialist for the School of Social Work at UW Tacoma working with both students pursing the BASW (Bachelor of Arts in Social Welfare) and MSW (Master in Social Work) degree pathways. He has over a decade of experience as a professional advisor working in a variety of settings from educational nonprofit organizations focusing on college prep/access with high school students, working with numerous TRIO programs in the Tacoma/Pierce County area, helping students and community members access post-secondary educational opportunities, reducing barriers to provide campus/community resources for college students, mentoring/coaching undergraduates and graduate students, as well as serving as an academic advisor both at the community college and university levels. He received his Masters in Science in Academic Advising from Kansas State University in 2015, his Bachelor degree in Liberal Arts from The Evergreen State College (Tacoma) in 2012, and his Associate of Arts degree from South Puget Sound Community College in 2010.
In his personal time Ryan enjoys spending time outdoors with family and friends, collecting vinyl records, reading, and talking all things music/movies/television.Contact Information
Program Coordinator, Administrative Assistant to the Dean and ProgramsContact information
David Ross, M.S.
David is our Manager of Student Services and Outreach and has been with UWT for over 10 years. He works with SWCJ to oversee advising, admissions and recruitment efforts. He was previously an academic advisor for the School of Engineering and Technology and has been working in higher education for nearly 20 years as an instructor, academic advisor, program lead, and administrative professional. He is passionate about finding ways to make the student experience more effective and efficient. He has a background in counseling (including a BA and MS in Psychology) as well as professional experience and a degree in interior architecture where he once worked with residential clients and studied the psychology of space in California before relocating to Washington. He still enjoys a good design project but is also passionate about traveling, and spending time in his Japanese inspired garden. David can be described as a “Zen” person and students often appreciate his calm nature.Contact Information
Paripa is a Program Coordinator at the SSWCJ who provide administrative, fiscal, and time schedule curriculum support to students, faculty, and staff. She enjoys creating and maintaining effective working relationships as well as developing and maintaining spreadsheet systems. Paripa holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from University of Washington Seattle. In her spare time, she enjoys drawing, spending time with her family and her dog, going on food adventures, and playing strategic board games and video games with friends.Contact Information