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School of Social Work

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Faculty & Staff - Full-Time Faculty

Deirdre Boylan, LCSW   

Deirdre Finney Boylan has been a psychotherapist and supervisor in outpatient, community mental health services for 12 years. She received her B.A. with Honors in Theater from Wesleyan University in 1982, and her MSW from Smith College School for Social Work in 1992. She worked at Kennebec Valley Mental Health Center for nearly eight years, and recently left HealthReach Network/New Directions to be the Weekend MSW Site Coordinator for the University.

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Sandra Butler Professor
M.S.W. Washington University Ph.D. University of Washington

Dr. Butler teaches courses in social welfare policy and macro social work practice. Her research focuses primarily on the health needs and social welfare experiences of low-income women across the life span. Her publications are in the areas of poverty, homelessness, welfare, rural aging, the impact of higher education for low-income mothers, GLBT aging, lesbian health, teen parenting and pregnancy, and policy practice.

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Elizabeth DePoy Professor M.S.W. University of Pennsylvania
Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania

Elizabeth DePoy is professor of social work and interdisciplinary disability studies and also holds an appointment as Senior Research Fellow. Ono Academic College, Research Institute for Health and Medical Professions. Kiryat Ono, Israel. Dr. DePoy is a nationally and internationally recognized scholar in research and evaluation methods and original theory in the fields of disability, diversity, and design. Co-authored with Stephen Gilson, DePoy developed Explanatory Legitimacy Theory which analyzes how population group membership is assigned, is based on political purpose, and is met with formal responses that serve both intentionally and unintentionally to perpetuate segregation, economic status quo, and inter-group tension.

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Stephen F. Gilson Professor

M.S.W. University of Denver
Ph.D. University of Nebraska Medical Center
(medical sciences degree, specialization in psychiatry)

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Kelly Jaksa

Kelly Jaksa, LCSW has been a social worker since 1988 and obtained her MSW from Boston University in 1994. Kelly worked with children, adolescents and their families for 13 years in community, residential, school and hospital settings. From 2002 until 2008, Kelly was the community mental health liaison for the University of Maine’s school of Social Work Program. She was a field instructor for 25 students. Kelly began teaching in the Social Work Program in 2005 as an adjunct faculty member. She has taught both undergraduate and graduate classes in practice, diversity, adolescent, group and family social work practice. Beginning in Fall 2010, Ms. Jaksa will coordinate the undergraduate program in social work.

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Lenard W. Kaye Professor, Director of the Center on Aging
M.S.W. New York University
D.S.W. Columbia University

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Nancy A. Kelly Field Coordinator
M.S.W. Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey

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Dr. Jennifer S. Middleton, Assistant Professor
BSW Colorado State University (1997)
MSW University of Denver (1998)
PhD University of Denver (2011) LCSW State of Colorado (since 2011)

Dr. Jennifer Middleton is an assistant professor of social work at the University of Maine.  Dr. Middleton teaches graduate level research and integrative seminar courses, and serves as a faculty field liaison in the community.  Her research interests include: forensic social work, the impact of childhood trauma on autobiographical memory, the impact of vicarious trauma on retention in child welfare, and the phenomenon of vicarious traumatization among forensic interviewers and other first responders.  Prior to moving to Maine, Dr. Middleton worked as a Senior Research Associate at the Butler Institute for Families at the University of Denver’s Graduate School of Social Work.

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Robin Russel Professor
J.D. Temple University School of Law Ph.D. Jane Addams School of Social Work, University of Illinois

Dr. Russel is the Director of the School of Social Work. She has taught in the areas of foundation practice, social welfare policy, research, child welfare, family violence and spirituality and social work. She started her career as a legal services attorney specializing in juvenile and family law. She has taught in social work, criminal justice, and public administration programs.

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Dr. Werrbach is associate professor of social work and teaches courses in family therapy, advanced generalist practice with individuals and families, small group, and integrative seminar courses. She received the University of Maine Presidential Teaching Award in 2008. Her research interests and publications are in the areas of child mental health, community mental health training, and international social work.

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Image Description: Deirdre Boylan

Image Description: Sandra Butler

Image Description: Elizabeth DePoy

Image Description: Stephen Gilson

Image Description: Kelly Jaksa

Image Description: Lenard Kaye

Image Description: Nancy Kelly

Image Description: Jennifer Middleton

Image Description: Robin Russel

Image Description: Gail Werrbach

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Contact Information

School of Social Work
5770 Social Work Building
Orono, ME 04469
Phone: (207) 581-2389 | Fax: (207) 581-2396E-mail:
The University of Maine
Orono, Maine 04469
A Member of the University of Maine System