Marina Barnett

Marina Barnett, MSW, DSW

  • Associate Professor, Assistant Provost for Civic Engagement

Affiliated Programs


  • DSW, Social Work (1995)
    University of Pennsylvania (PA)

About Me

I joined the faculty at Widener University in 2004. I teach policy and community organization at the BSW, MSW, and PhD levels. Preparing students as generalist social workers involves helping students understand the multiplicity of roles that we as social workers must play to access necessary resources and seek change with and for our clients. My courses are designed to increase students' awareness of the intersections between direct micro-practice (the individuals in the communities) and macro-practice (the communities in which those clients live and the policies that determine the type and extent of services that are available to address the client's issues).

I focus on advocacy and commitment to social justice, assessment, working with diverse populations, and the use of technology, because I recognize that there will be many challenges that our students will face in the future. They will emerge out of college in the midst of a recession at a time when conservative pundits and ideologues are once again questioning the social work profession and undervaluing its contributions to society. It will be necessary for them to be active leaders in their communities and advocates for their clients. My vision for my students is that they see themselves as leaders capable of engaging any population. Through modeling, I seek to inspire them to be active contributors to the communities in which they live and work.

My courses demonstrate the social work values of partnering with clients, non-judgementalism, and valuing the uniqueness and capabilities of individuals. An assessment of strengths is an integral aspect of both my teaching and my practice. I believe that every person has inherent strengths and gifts that will allow them to contribute to society and address their own issues. For this reason, community partners are welcomed into the classroom to help design interventions, develop research protocols, and provide valuable insights regarding community dynamics.

I seek to inspire my students to take control of their own education, to become active participants in their own lives, and to be dedicated and committed to the eradication of social injustice.

Media Expertise

  • Asset mapping
  • Organization and community development
  • African American families


  • Kauffman, S., & Barnett, M. (2018). Mezzo assessment: Organizations and communities. In J. Poulin, S. Matis & H. Witt, The Social Work Field Placement: A Competency-Based Approach (pp-259-284). New York: Springer Publishing.
  • Kauffman, S., & Barnett, M. (2018). Mezzo interventions: Organizations and communities. In J. Poulin, S. Matis & H. Witt, The Social Work Field Placement: A Competency-Based Poulin, S. Matis & H. Witt, The Social Work Field Placement: A Competency-Based Approach (pp305-330-). New York: Springer Publishing. Approach (pp305-330-). New York: Springer Publishing. 
  • Freed, C., & Barnett, M. (2009). Geographic information system in service learning. Academic Exchange Quarterly, 13(3), 31–38.
  • Barnett, M., Silver, P.T., & Grundy, T.S. (2010). Implementing service-learning pedagogy: A case example. Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement, 13(4), 117–134.
  • Johnson, J., Hayden, T., Thomas, T., Groce-Martin, J., Henry, T., Barnett, M., & Kumanyika, S. (2009). Building community participatory research coalitions from the ground up: The Philadelphia area research community coalition. Progress in Community Health Partnerships: Research, Education, and Action, 3(1), 61–72.


  • Widener University, Fitz Dixon Innovation in Teaching Award (2010)
  • Project Pericles Periclean Faculty Leader Award (2010)


In the Media


  • Social Work Faculty Recognized for Commitment to Community Work Through Pandemic

    Associate Professor of social work Marina Barnett has been awarded the Legion of Honor Award from the Chapel of Four Chaplains for her commitment to, and continued work with, the Chester community during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

    The Legion of Honor Award is one of the highest honors given by the Chapel of Four Chaplains. It is awarded in recognition of exceptional selfless service on the part of an individual which contributes to the well-being of his or her community, and to a spirit of interfaith cooperation. 

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