Director of SU's Bachelors in Social Work program earns doctorate

Written by Karen L. Bystrom
July 17, 2017

Congratulations to Mary Kay Brennan, DSW, MSW, LICSW, who graduated this past May with the first cohort in the Doctorate in Social Work, from the St. Catherine University/University of St. Thomas School of Social Work. Dr. Brennan is the Director of Seattle U’s Bachelor of Social Work Program and Clinical Professor in Social Work. She holds an Associate Appointment in Women and Gender Studies.

The St. Catherine University/University of St. Thomas School of Social Work describes the program, launched in 2014, as “the only online doctorate in social work to focus on education as practice. The DSW emphasizes leading-edge pedagogy to prepare scholars to teach in higher education through practice, scholarship, leadership and service.”

Dr. Brennan and her colleagues are featured in the Spring issue of the School of Social Work’s newsletter, Perspectives. An excerpt from the article describes Dr. Brennan’s dissertation:

Banded Dissertation: Innovations in Assessing Practice Skills: Using Social Cognitive Theory, Technology, and Self-Reflection

The field of social work has historically held the tensions between the scientific grounding of knowledge and skills, and the art of practice through the disciplined use of self. Social workers are being trained from a competency-based approach and increasingly use evidenced-based practice interventions. Brennan’ research responds to the trend toward manualized treatment by focusing on the development of skilled use of practitioner wisdom. The teaching of micro practice skills using social cognitive theory (Bandura, 1997) and reflective practice (Kinsella, 2009) aided by digital taping is evaluated for skill attainment and increased self-efficacy.