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Chris Cotten

Core Faculty

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Barbara Solomon School of Social Work

Degree Program 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 - Evanston, IL United States

MSW, New York University - New York, NY United States

PhD, Jane Addams College of Social Work at the University of Illinois at Chicago - Chicago, IL United States

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.