Mark Abelson, MFA, MSW

Photo of Mark Abelson

Lecturer, Department of Social Work
Lecturer, Department of Sociology

  • SWRK 525: Social Welfare Policy and Services
  • SWRK 621: Advance Social Work Practice in Urban Communities

Abelson earned his Master of Fine Arts and Master of Social Work from UCLA and has extensive experience in policy and practice in the field. He is a human relations consultant specializing in designing, implementing and evaluating programs related to sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. Before CSUN, he worked for the Gay & Lesbian Adolescent Social Services (GLASS) as training director. GLASS provided long-term residential treatment, case management, family reunification and emancipation services to self-identified LGBTQ+ youth. He also worked at United Way of Los Angeles addressing the issues and needs of children, individuals and families experiencing homelessness, and people affected by HIV/AIDS; and as a teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). In addition, he served as the coordinator of a legal advocacy effort for General Relief recipients in Los Angeles County. Community volunteerism is extremely important to him. His involvement includes the County of Los Angeles LGBT Child Abuse Prevention Council, Los Angeles Police Department Professional Advisory Committee, and LAUSD Human Relations, Diversity & Equity Commission.

Understanding policy is extremely important for social workers since policy informs, guides and even mandates the practice with clients, communities and the system involved with by social workers. Policies created – most often through political systems – impact clients on a daily basis and often create challenges/obstacles that social workers must help clients manage/navigate. In order to promote and advocate for social justice on behalf of clients, social workers must be aware of the macro policies that oppress, marginalize and harm those whom social workers help.

Jodi Constantine Brown, Ph.D., MSW

Photo of Jodi Constantine Brown

Professor, Department of Social Work
Director, Online and Offsite Master of Social Work Programs

  • SWRK 535: Social Work Research Methods I
  • SWRK 635: Social Work Research Methods II
  • SWRK 698: Capstone Project

Constantine Brown has extensive education and experience in social work, particularly in research methods. In addition to her Ph.D. in social work earned at Brown School of Social Work, Washington University, she completed a post-doctoral research fellowship in mental health economics at the Department of Healthcare Policy, Harvard Medical School. She has presented locally, nationally and internationally on research and other social work topics, including mindfulness, compassion fatigue, program evaluation and alcoholism. Her teaching and research include program evaluation, pedagogy, integrative medicine, mental health care policy, organizational networks and access to care. She also has published articles in journals on a variety of social work topics. She joined the CSUN faculty in 2011 and believes understanding research is critical to support and advocate for individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities.

Moshoula Capous-Desyllas, Ph.D., MSW

Associate Professor, Department of Sociology

  • SWRK 520: Social Work Practice in Multicultural Contexts

Capous-Desyllas focuses on arts-based research methodologies to highlight the voices and needs of marginalized individuals, groups and communities. She earned a Ph.D. in social work and social research from Portland State University, and has she taught at CSUN since 2011. Capous-Desyllas brings interdisciplinary perspectives to the class, including social work, gender and sexuality studies, sociology related to critical feminist pedagogies, transnational issues, empowerment approaches, anti-oppressive and de-colonizing research and practice methods, critical feminist and queer theory, visual and public sociology, community engagement and social activism through the arts. She has engaged in numerous community-based, photovoice projects with marginalized populations, including collaboration with individuals working in sex trades, LGBTQ+ immigrants and refugees, LGBTQ+ former foster youth, and grandparents as unexpected caregivers. Her passion lies in utilizing the arts as a form of activism for social justice and change. She applies her expertise and experience with diverse groups to this course.

Julie Gould, MSW, LCSW

  • SWRK 630: Family Crisis, Trauma and Grief

Gould earned her Master of Social Work from the University of Southern California and joined the CSUN faculty in 2008. She serves as CalSWEC (California Social Work Education Center) project coordinator for the Department of Social Work. CalSWEC is a partnership of the Department of Social Work, public human services agencies and professional organizations that promotes effective, culturally competent service delivery to the people of California. She has more than 15 years of experience providing mental health services to children and families who experienced trauma. She also has extensive involvement with the public child welfare and mental health systems. Much of social work involves working with clients and communities who have experienced trauma. Gaining an understanding of the impact of trauma on the trajectory of these individuals and communities is essential to effective social work practice. Gould’s education and experience focus on this aspect of social work, and she conveys to her students the importance of this field.

Iris A’Hirataro, MSW

Lecturer, Department of Social Work
Faculty Field Liaison

  • SWRK 522/523: Foundations of Field Education and Placement
  • SWRK 621: Advanced Social Work Practice in Urban Communities
  • SWRK 622/623: Advanced Field Practicum with Urban Families and Placement

A’Hirataro has more than 15 years of experience working in administrative and teaching capacities in higher education, including as a policy research associate at California State University, Fullerton. Since 2015 she has served as a lecturer, field liaison and external field instructor at CSUN. She brings her expertise in field education and practicum, and social work practice, to the classroom. She earned her Master of Social Work, Community Organization, Planning and Administration from the University of Southern California.

SWRK 522/523 and SWRK 622/623 are vital to social work students’ education. A’Hirataro leads these field practica, where text material come to life. Field work allows students to apply their knowledge gained in the courses and to develop skills necessary to meet the needs of individuals, families, groups and communities. These courses allow for feedback, with a focus on the practice of social work across micro-mezzo-macro skill sets highlighted by the Council on Social Work Education’s nine competencies.

Allen Lipscomb, Psy.D., MSW, LCSW

Photo of Allen E. Lipscomb

Associate Professor, Department of Social Work

  • SWRK 501: and 502 Human Behavior and Social Environment
  • SWRK 503: Psychosocial Assessment and Diagnostic Formulation
  • SWRK 510: Generalist Social Work Theory and Practice
  • SWRK 535: Social Work Research Methods I
  • SWRK 601: Advanced Social Work Practice with Urban Families I
  • SWRK 630: Family Crisis, Trauma and Grief
  • SWRK 635: Social Work Research Methods II
  • SWRK 650: Mental Health Recovery and Wellness
  • SWRK 698: Capstone Project

Social work courses provide future social workers with foundational concepts, theories and skills to build upon for their future social work careers. Emphasis is placed on anti-oppressive and social justice services to children, youth and families who reside in urban communities. Lipscomb specializes in this field, and students will benefit from his extensive educational background and experience. He is a clinical psychologist and licensed clinical social worker (LCSW), and he understands the needs of marginalized individuals and communities in an urban environment.

Lipscomb earned his Psy.D. from Ryokan College and his Master of Social Work from the University of Southern California. He also earned a certificate in diversity, equity and inclusion from Cornell University, and a certificate in mixed methods community-based research at the University of Michigan. He has worked in collaboration with school districts and many government agencies.

His areas of research center on the psychiatric epidemiology among racialized and marginalized individuals who have experienced trauma (i.e., complex trauma, traumatic grief and race-based trauma). He has conducted numerous qualitative research studies on racialized Black-identified men across the Black-African Diaspora, exploring their grief, loss and complex trauma experiences. Students will benefit from his knowledge, research, experience and insights in this field.

Susan Love, Ph.D., MSW, LCSW

Photo of Susan Love

Professor, Department of Social Work

  • SWRK 501: Human Behavior and Social Environment
  • SWRK 502: Human Behavior and Social Environment II
  • SWRK 503: Psychosocial Assessment and Diagnostic Formulation
  • SWRK 510: Generalist Social Work Theory and Practice
  • SWRK 535: Social Work Research Methods I
  • SWRK 601: Advanced Social Work Practice with Urban Families I
  • SWRK 602: Advanced Social Work Practice with Urban Families II
  • SWRK 630: Family Crisis, Trauma and Grief
  • SWRK 635: Social Work Research Methods II
  • SWRK 698: Capstone Project

Love has designed curriculum and taught social work classes for this program since it launched. She earned her Ph.D. in social welfare and Master of Social Work from the University of Washington. In addition to her academic background, she has widespread experience in the field. She practiced in community mental health, hospital and hospice social work, and independently in community practice for nearly 30 years. She developed a social media website, ShrinksOnline, for practitioners to share experiences and keep current in the field. She has taught at the university level since 1999 and developed and tested a program for young mothers emancipating from child welfare or juvenile justice systems. She also innovated how social work students are educated in child welfare practice. She served as principal investigator for a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant with an international team of scientists who develop and tested a social media platform for an evidence-based practice to reach and engage highly vulnerable parents. She has published extensively about the field. The social work courses intersect and build on each other to promote a professional social worker in a complex and changing society. Love brings her experience, knowledge and initiative to all her classes.

Katie Mortimer, MSW, LCSW

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Faculty, Department of Social Work
Program Director of MSW

  • SWRK 510: Generalist Social Work Theory and Practice
  • SWRK 602: Advanced Social Work Practice with Urban Families II

Mortimer joined the CSUN faculty in 2006. She is the chair of admissions for the Social Work Department, and she also serves as the graduate coordinator. She is a lecturer for multiple practice, human behavior, field education and elective courses. Mortimer earned her MSW from the University of Southern California and has 25 years of practice experience, serving in both direct practice and administrative capacities in the field. After holding clinical positions in community mental health, she was promoted to clinical supervisor, program director of Therapeutic Behavioral Services (TBS), and program director of Outpatient Services for a local agency. Prior to joining CSUN, her teaching experience included clinical, policy, and theory-based training for both post-bachelor and post-graduate level employees in an agency setting. In SWRK 510 and 602 she provide essential information for social work practice in urban settings, with emphasis on the micro, mezzo and macro settings.

José Miguel Paez, MSW, LCSW

Photo of José Miguel Paez

Lecturer, Department of Social Work

  • SWRK 520: Social Work Practice in Multicultural Contexts
  • SWRK 521: Generalist Social Work Theory and Practice II
  • SWRK 525: Social Welfare Policy and Services
  • SWRK 630: Family Crisis, Trauma and Grief

Paez received his MSW in 2001, with an emphasis on families and children. His background, education and array of activities give him broad expertise in social work practice, policy and services. Paez joined the CSUN faculty in 2009 and teaches clinical and macro practice courses. His theoretical and research interests include decolonization, anti-colonial practice, critical race theory, feminism, intersectionality, liberation and transformative based-healing, historical trauma and healing-centered engagement. In addition to his academic experience, he serves on the planning committee of the We Are Power: Community in Action Conference, an annual event organized by the Department of Social Work.

Paez also organizes the Department of Social Work’s Docs & Talks, bringing attention to important social issue affecting social workers; organizes the Department of Social Work’s Writing Mentors program; and facilitates Social Justice Dialogues for MSW alumni. His campus activities also involve collaboration with programs that include MOSAIC (Mentoring to Overcome Struggles and Inspire Courage), BUILD PODER (Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity Promoting Opportunities for Diversity in Education and Research), the DREAM Center, Office of Student Success Innovations, and the Institute for Transformative Teaching and Learning. He provides ongoing consultation, mentoring, trainings, workshops and clinical supervision in the community. He is currently pursuing his doctorate in Education and Leadership at CSUN.

Hyun-Sun Park, Ph.D.

Photo of Hyun-Sun Park

Professor, Department of Social Work

  • SWRK 501: Human Behavior and Social Environment I
  • SWRK 502: Human Behavior and Social Environment II
  • SWRK 535: Social Work Research Methods I
  • SWRK 635: Social Work Research Methods II
  • SWRK 698: Graduate Project

Park earned her Ph.D. in social work and her Master of Social Work from the University of Texas at Austin. Her areas of interest and research focus on psychological well-being among immigrants and the elderly population. Students will learn about human behavior in the social environment, how to conduct research independently, and how to evaluate their own practice. She has been published in journals and presented at competitive national conferences, including CSWE (Council on Social Work Education), SSWR (Society for Social Work and Research), and APA (American Psychological Association). Her education, experience and research benefit social work students studying behavior and research.

Victoria Terrill, MSW, LCSW

  • SWRK 522/523: Foundations of Field Education & Placement
  • SWRK 622/623: Advanced Field Practicum with Urban Families & Placement

Terrill has 25 years of experience working in a variety of community settings involving social work, including corrections, nonprofit social services, education and medical (hospital and home health). She currently works for the Superior Court of the State of California. She has been a field instructor and field liaison for California State University, Long Beach’s Ventura MSW distance-education cohort and for CSUN’s Ventura and online cohorts. With her extensive experience, Terrill provides students with the opportunity to process, receive and offer feedback related to student field experience. She provides students with an opportunity to bridge theory and practice in the field, and to provide and receive support. Students will have critical conversations and learn about the field and themselves. Terrell engages in discussions related to the profession and the world, and she looks forward to taking part in the social work journey of students.