Jennifer Cullen

Jennifer Cullen, PhD

  • Director of Center for Social Work Education
  • Associate Professor

Affiliated Programs


  • PhD, Social Work (2013)
    Widener University (PA)
  • MSW, Social Work (1998)
    University of Pennsylvania (PA)

About Me

My teaching philosophy is predicated on an understanding that the dissemination of skills and knowledge from one generation of workers in a field to another must focus on the role of both the teacher and the student in this process. Being an educator is not about being an expert so much as it is about being a guide in the journey of self-awareness and self-actualization. My teaching philosophy places the student at the center of the educational process with the teacher's role as a guide in the journey of learning.

The philosophy of andragogy guides my teaching. Andragogy proposed by Knowles (1975) is based on assumptions about adult learners and how their motivation for learning, as well as their application of and orientation to learning, shapes the strategies in the classroom. As a professor utilizing andragogy, I attempt to implement teaching strategies that maximize opportunities to explore theory in action. For example, my classroom experience incorporates exercises and activities to explore the areas of experience that each student brings to the learning process, as well as demonstration of how concepts and material are relevant and can be implemented to enhance the students' professional roles.

Research Interests

My overarching research agenda is to explore and understand the professional identity development of social work students, how values and personal attributes contribute to that development, and then how courses can be structured to enhance and continue to support the developmental process. My research goal is to examine the process of identity development to provide insight to the process, thereby enabling the development of course content that will further strengthen the students' professional development.


  • Haney, J. L., & Cullen, J. A. (2018). An exploratory investigation of social workers’ knowledge and attitudes about autism. Social Work In Mental Health, 16(2), 201-222. doi:10.1080/15332985.2017.1373265

  • Haney, J. L., Houser, L., & Cullen, J. A. (2018). Parental perceptions and child emotional and behavioral problems in autism. Journal Of Autism & Developmental Disorders, 481, 12-27. doi:10.1007/s10803-017-3288-9

  • Satterly, B., Cullen, J. A., Dyson, D. (2018). The intellectual fellowship model: An alternative to traditional and reverse models of mentoring. Mentoring & Tutoring: Partnership in Learning.

  • Cullen, J. (2015). The needs of college students with Autism Spectrum disorders and Asperger's Syndrome. AHEADAssociation on, 28(1), 89–101.

  • Cullen, J. (revised and resubmitted per request 2015). Social experiences of college students with Asperger's Syndrome. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities.

Professional Affiliations & Memberships

National Association of Social Workers (NASW), Council for Exceptional Children (CEC)


  • Bringing Theory to Practice Program Development, Office the Provost, Widener University (2013–2014)
  • Faculty Development Grant, Widener University (Fall 2014–Spring 2015)



  • Widener Social Work Students Participate in Walk Against Hate

    Students and faculty from the Center for Social Work Education participated in the 2022 Walk Against Hate on October 23, 2022 hosted by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) as the WU Widener Team. In addition to the walk, students also engaged in advocacy, educational, and fundraising activities including staffing a table which provided bracelet making, coloring pages, positive affirmation activities, and more for community attendees. 

    The Walk Against Hate is an annual event to bring communities together in solidarity against antisemitism, bigotry, and all forms of hate. 

    Student participants Oli Zimmerman '26, Abigail Bustraan '26, Shaneka Atkins '24, Sarah Coupland '24, Madison McElwee '24, Jessica Mereshensky '24, Mykirah Russel- Hopson '24, Nicole Scharfetter '24, and Younger Zinnah '24 were led by Director for the Center of Social Work Jennifer Cullen associate professor Robin Goldberg-Glenn. 

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