Deborah Whitley

Contributing Faculty
College of Psychology and Community Services
Ph.D. Human Services

Deborah M. Whitley, PhD received a BA in Anthropology and a Master’s degree in Social Administration from Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH. She also received a graduate degree in Public Health and her doctorate in Social Work from the University of Pittsburgh. Prior to entering academia, Dr. Whitley was employed as a research associate at a community planning agency and at a specialty hospital in the Pittsburgh, PA area. Dr.Whitley has experience teaching undergraduate and graduate students in social welfare and human services programs, as well as serving as faculty liaison for students completing their field placements for degree requirements. She has taught in both online and traditional programs. Her primary areas of research are ageing and kinship care. Kinship care, child welfare and intergenerational caregiving are her primary research areas. She is the primary investigator for studying the effects of community-based service interventions on perceptions of psychological distress, social support/resources, and family empowerment among custodial grandparents. She also has studied the early intervention needs of young custodial grandchildren who are at risk for developmental delays. Dr.Whitley has facilitated the replication of university-based service intervention programs for grandparent caregivers in the states of Georgia, Maryland, and North Carolina. She has published in such journals as Families in Society, Child Abuse & Neglect, and Health and Social Work. She is the co-Editor in Chief of GrandFamilies: The Contemporary Journal of Research, Practice and Policy.

Courses Taught

SOCW 6101 - Essential Skills of Social Work Practice

HUMN 6392 - Language of Leadership

HUMN 8750 - Leadership Development

SOCW 6000 - Changing Lives

HUMN 8660 - Social Change, Leadership and Advocacy

RESI 6652 - MSW Residency I-II


PhD, University of Pittsburgh

Master in Social Administration, Case Western Reserve University

Master in Public Health, University of Pittsburgh

BA, Case Western Reserve University