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Deborah Stiles

Department Chair, Program Director and Assistant Professor of Social Work

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children & families groups school social work trauma-informed care


  • DSW, Teaching and Leadership, University of St. Thomas (2022)
  • LCSW, Indiana (2008)
  • MSW, Social Work—Children & Families, Schools, University of Kansas (1994)
  • BSW, Northwest Nazarene University (1990)

Career Highlights

I bring twenty years of social work experience to my position at Taylor University. My primary fields of social work included inpatient psychiatric hospitals and school-based therapy. While working as a therapist on inpatient psychiatric units, I led groups and provided family therapy. My time in this field allowed me to work with all age groups, including children, adolescents, adults, and the geriatric population. As a school-based therapist I provided both individual and group therapy to elementary school-aged children.

I have presented on trauma-informed care at two national social work education conferences:

  • Beyond One and Done: Promoting Economic Justice through Trauma-Informed BSW Education, presented at the Council on Social Work Education annual program meeting, Nov. 2021
  • Through the Lens of Trauma-Informed Care, presented at the Association of Baccalaureate Social Work Program Directors annual conference. March 2019

I was an invited presenter for the Student Social Work Conference held during the Association of Baccalaureate Social Work Program Directors Annual Conference. March 2019. Topic: Trauma-Informed Social Work Practice.

Through the request of first the Ministry of Youth and Sport in the Bahamas, and secondly the Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development, I have twice facilitated two-day invitational workshops for Bahamian social workers and other youth development workers. A third will be offered through the Ministry of Youth and Sports this November (Nov 2023). The focus of each workshop: training and equipping workers in trauma-informed care principles to enhance worker/client interactions.


Christian higher education is designed to provide students with tools to critically engage with the world through our lens of faith. In the field of social work, critical engagement must be combined with both empathy and curiosity in seeking to understand what has happened to the client. My role as a Christian educator is to teach students the skills to empathetically engage with clients, work with clients to assess their needs, and to collaboratively develop a plan to meet those needs.

Training the next generation to be the hands and feet of Jesus through embodying Micah 6:8 is my deepest desire. We are called to act justly—to be the voice for the voiceless and the marginalized; to love mercy—to be an advocate against injustice towards others; and to walk humbly—to recognize that we are in as much need of mercy and grace as anyone that we think that we are called to serve.

My research interest is focused on trauma-informed care in the BSW curriculum and our department infuses trauma-informed content throughout our courses.

Courses I Teach

Working with Children, Helping Troubled Families, Process and Practice 2—Groups, Diversity and the Disenfranchised, Advanced Social Work Practice, Integrative Senior Seminar, and Senior Practicum


Traveling, cooking and baking, reading, and walking along the Oregon coast