Jennifer Crittenden, Assistant Professor
Jennifer Crittenden, PhD, MSW
Jennifer Crittenden joined the School of Social Work (SSW) faculty in 2020. She received her Interdisciplinary PhD in Gerontology from the University of Maine (UM) in 2019. She also received her MSW in 2005 and her BA, with a double major in Psychology and Child Development and Family Relations and graduating with high honors from Honors College, in 2003 from UM. Prior to joining the faculty at the SSW, Dr. Crittenden was the Associate Director at the UM Center on Aging (UMCoA), where she had worked since 2005 in a number of capacities. Dr. Crittenden remains closely aligned with the Center, where she continues to be involved in numerous research and evaluation projects.
A primary area of scholarship, and the focus of her dissertation research, for Dr. Crittenden has been how the multiple roles held by older adult volunteers affect their satisfaction and retention. She received funding from the Corporation for National and Community Service to conduct this research and to complete a post-doctorate further examination and dissemination of her data on RSVP volunteers. She is the Evaluation Co-Director of two current projects at the UMCoA, one with Eastern Area Agency on Aging, examining a technology-driven nutrition program for older adults with chronic diseases, and the second, a workforce enhancement program in geriatrics education. She is also the Principal Investigator of the Lifelong Communities Fellows Project, funded by the Maine Community Foundation, which has established a fellowship program of older adult leaders. She has been the Project Director of the Encore Leadership Program since 2008 and the Certificate in Grandfamilies Leadership, since 2014.
Jen teaches one of the three courses in UM’s Interprofessional Certificate in Gerontology: GRN, Life Transitions in Health in Aging. She has taught social welfare policy in both our undergraduate and graduate programs (SWK 440 and SWK 540) since 2016, as a part-time faculty member, which she will continue to teach as an Assistant Professor. She also teaches the Senior Field Seminar (SWK 495) and the first practice class for BSW students (SWK 361).
Dr. Crittenden has received many awards, including the SSW’s Outstanding Field Instructor Award in 2016 and the Outstanding Alumni Award in 2010. In 2019 she was selected for the Kinship Advocate of the Year Award from Adoptive and Foster Families of Maine. She is a Fellow of the Maine’s Gerontological Society and was the Graduate Fellow of the Scholars Strategy Network in 2015.
Her community service includes sitting on the Advisory Board of the Tri-State Learning Collaborative on Aging and the Steering Committee of the UMSSW Alumni Group. In 2020, she was invited by the Office of the Governor to serve on the Maine Age-Friendly State Advisory Committee, a group tasked with creating a statewide plan for an age-friendly Maine. She also is a grant reviewer for the Health Resources and Services Administration and the Maine Community Foundation. She has been active in both the Maine Gerontological Society, serving as both its Secretary and Treasurer, and in the national Gerontological Society of America, where she co-chaired the Rural Interest Group from 2009-2010.
Dr. Crittenden is the author of numerous reports, book chapters, and peer reviewed articles related to the general topic of health and well- being of older adults. She is a frequent presenter at national professional conferences and invited presenter at statewide colloquia, trainings and workshops.