Chris Cotten

Core Faculty
College of Social and Behavioral Health
Barbara Solomon School of Social Work
Master of Social Work (MSW)

Dr. Christopher Cotten, PhD, MSW, LCSW received his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Northwestern University, his MSW from New York University, and his PhD from the Jane Addams College of Social Work at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His direct service social work experience has been primarily in residential treatment of children and youth and mental health. He has worked with homeless and runaway youth, children in the child welfare system, people with HIV/AIDS, and homeless individuals with severe and persistent mental illness. In higher education, he was an assistant professor at Indiana University’s Northwest campus in Gary, and he received tenure and promotion at the University of West Florida. He has extensive experience as a clinical consultant and trainer. He was a research associate at Chicago’s Howard Brown Health Center, the largest LGBT health center in the Midwest. Dr. Cotten has taught human behavior and the social environment, group work, diversity, and social policy, among other classes. He developed a short-term study abroad service-learning trip to Guatemala, which he has led more than a half-dozen times. In 2014, the Florida state chapter of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) named him Social Work Educator of the Year. Dr. Cotten has seven publications in peer-reviewed journals and has presented at many state, regional, and national conferences. He is a licensed clinical social worker in the state of Florida. He began teaching for Walden as contributing faculty in 2017 and joined the core faculty for Walden’s MSW program in February of 2018.

Courses Taught

SOCW 6015 - Diversity, Human Rights, and Social Justice


BA, Northwestern University

MSW, New York University

PhD, Jane Addams College of Social Work at the University of Illinois at Chicago

Awards / Honors

Social Work Educator of the Year, National Association of Social Workers - Florida Chapter, 2014


Cotten, C., Thompson, C. (2017). High-Impact practices in social work education: A short-term study abroad service learning trip to Guatemala. Journal of Social Work Education

Cotten, C. (2016). My Cisgender Comeuppance. Reflections: Narratives in Helping

Cotten, C., Garofalo, R. (2016). Project Life Skills: Developing the content of a multidimensional HIV-prevention curriculum for young transgender women aged 16 to 24. Journal of HIV/AIDS & Social Services

Hidalgo, M., Cotten, C., Johnson, A. K., Kuhns, L. M., Garofalo, R. (2013). “Yes, I am More Than Just That”: Gay/Bisexual Young Men Residing in the US Discuss the Influence of Minority Stress on Their Sexual Risk Behavior Prior to HIV Infection. International Journal of Sexual Health

Garofalo, R., Johnson, A. K., Kuhns, L. M., Cotten, C., Joseph, H., Margolis, A. (2012). Life Skills: Evaluation of a Theory-Driven Behavioral HIV Prevention Intervention for Young Transgender Women. Journal of Urban Health

Cotten, C., Ridings, J. W. (2011). Getting Out/Getting In: the DSM, Political Activism, and the Social Construction of Mental Disorders. Social Work in Mental Health

Cotten, C. (2009). Fasten Your Seatbelts: Holiday Issues with Children and Youth in Residential Treatment. Residential Treatment for Children & Youth