Tom Young

Jennifer Cullen, PhD
Assistant Professor


Research Interests
Services for College Students with Disabilities, Social supports for college students with Development Disabilities specifically students diagnosed with Autism or Asperger's Syndrome, Adult learning theory

Courses Taught
Human Behavior in the Social Environment I and II, Interpersonal Processes, and Social Work Practice
I joined the Widener community in 2006. During the past six years at Widener University, I have dedicated my social work experience and background to supporting college students with special needs including learning disabilities, developmental challenges as well as mental health challenges.

In 2011, I was invited to teach a new course for Master level students entitled Interpersonal Processes. This was an exciting opportunity because it was a unique course designed specifically to focus students on their professional development process and reflect on the values and beliefs that guide and influence their social work practice. My teaching philosophy is based in adult learning theory and I design course lectures to incorporate a variety of interactive techniques and activities to enhance the learning process. The key principles to adult learning include assisting students in finding practical applications of the course content in their professional lives. Thus, I employ teaching strategies that not only enable me to assess student learning but also provide opportunities to practice and apply social work concepts and principles.

The course of my social work practice has afforded me the opportunity to work with many exceptional individuals. I have dedicated my social work expertise and practice skills to support individuals with developmental challenges as they navigate the challenges of the social environment. Through work with these individuals I have come to further appreciate the need for social workers to expand their skill and knowledge base to help disenfranchised populations as they strive to achieve their self-determined goals. Thus, the important of educating new as well as seasoned social works in the areas of person-centeredness and self-determination as they pertain to their clients is a goal of my teaching philosophy. There is no better way to advocate for and support clients than to share the knowledge and lessons learned from clients with future social work practitioners.

PhD in Social Work, Widener University

Masters of Social Work, University of Pennsylvania

Bachelors of Arts in Psychology, Widener University

"Perspectives of Students with Asperger's Syndrome in Higher education settings" Delivered at the Graduate Student Research Symposium, Widener University, April 18, 2013.

"Hanging Out: Socializing in College for Students on the Autism Spectrum" Poster Session that presented at the 24th Annual Postsecondary Disability Training Institute (PTI), Philadelphia, PA, June 12, 2012.

"Assessing the Advising Process: What Did the Student Learn?" Delivered at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference for the National Academic Advising Association, Dover, DE,
March 16-18, 2009.

Professional Memberships and Community Services
National Association of Social Workers
Council for Exceptional Children
Phi Kappa Phi, Honor Society