Biography  Curriculum Vitae
 Publications and Presentations Recent Grants

Elizabeth M. Tracy, PhD

Grace Longwell Coyle Professor of Social Work

PhD, University of Washington
MSW, University of Washington
BA, Radcliffe College

Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel
School of Applied Social Sciences
Case Western Reserve University
10900 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44106-7164


Elizabeth M. Tracy is the Grace Longwell Coyle Professor in Social Work at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences. Currently, Dr. Tracy serves as associate dean for research and training at the Mandel School. She teaches courses in direct social work practice theory and methods in the master level program and a seminar in social work education and teaching in the doctoral program. She has also directed the school social work program that leads to licensure through the Ohio Department of Education for master level and post master level students. Reflecting her interest in schools and families, she has served on the advisory board to the Center for Math and Science Education, UCITE, as faculty associate of the Schubert Center for Child Development and as a University Affiliate of the Ohio Mental Health Network for School Success, promoting expanded school based mental health services in Ohio.

Course List

SSWM 549:  Theories of Social Work Practice
This required, three credit course introduces selected theories and practice approaches commonly used in social work with individuals, families, and groups. The course is designed to provide students with knowledge of theoretical explanations and practice frameworks commonly used in direct social work practice. The course also encourages students to apply critical thinking skills to theory and its practical applications. Case presentations, class discussions and assignments will require students to apply various theoretical perspectives to common problems and issues in social work practice. The course will highlight the use of professional social work values and attention to human development issues, diversity and cultural perspectives as they apply in each theory or framework.

SASS 630:  Seminar in Social Work Education
The purpose of this course is to prepare students for careers in academe. The structure and content of American higher education is examined. Emphasis is placed on curriculum design and course development. This course is also designed to help students develop a strategic approach to teaching based on learning theory.


Founding Board Member, Ohio School Social Work Association
Member, School Social Work Association of America
Member, National Association of Social Workers, Academy of Certified Social Workers

Scholarly Interests

Social Networks and Social Support; Co-Occurring Substance Use and Mental Disorders; Women and Substance Use Disorders

Why I Chose This Profession

My first working experiences after graduating from college were with children with developmental disabilities and their families. I realized early on that in order to work best with the children I needed to connect with their families. Yet the school districts at that time frequently discouraged contacts between teaching staff and families. When I returned to graduate school, my choice was between social work and special education. Ultimately I decided on a social work career because I felt, as I do now, that social work would allow me to impact people as well as the environments that people experienced and confronted. Much of my work as a social worker has revolved around practice models that support families, make use of natural helping networks, and include environmental helping strategies as an important component of clinical practice.

Training – Gender Issues in the Path to Academic Leadership
Evidence-Based Practices Book Series
University of Buffalo Living Proof podcast series

Recent Publications

Min, M. O., Tracy, E. M., Kim, H., Park, H., Jun, M., Brown, S., McCarty, C., & Laudet, A. (In press). Personal networks of women in residential and outpatient treatment: Changes over 12 Months. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment

Brown, S., Jun, M., Min, M.O.Tracy, E.M. (2013) Impact of dual disorders, trauma, and social support on quality of life among women in treatment for substance dependence. Journal of Dual Diagnosis, 9(1), 61-71.

Piccola, T. &  Tracy, E.M. (2013) Family preservation and home based services.  In. C. Franklin (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Social Work On Line Edition.  New York: Oxford University Press.

Allen, S.F. & Tracy, E.M. (2013). Home based interventions. In. C. Franklin (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Social Work On Line Edition.  New York: Oxford University Press.

Tracy, E., Kim, H., Brown, S.Min, M.O., Jun, M.K., & McCarty, C. (2012). Substance abuse treatment stage and personal social networks of women in substance abuse treatment.  Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research, 3(2), 65-79.  PMC3358724

Tracy, E., Laudet, A., Min, M.O., Kim, H., Brown, S., Jun, M.K., & Singer, L. (2012).  Prospective patterns and predictors of quality of life among women in substance abuse treatment. Drug and Alcohol Dependence.  doi:10.1016/j.drugalccdep.2012.01.010  NIHMSID# 357064

Tracy, E., Laudet, A., Min, M.O., Kim, H., Brown, S., Jun, M.K., & Singer, L.T. (2012). Prospective patterns and predictors of quality of life among women in substance abuse treatment. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 124, 242-249.

Brown, S., Biegel, D. E., & Tracy, E. M. (2011). Likelihood of asking for help in caregivers of women with substance use or co-occurring substance use and mental disorders.  Journal of Case Management, 12(3), 94–100.

Tracy, E. M., & Brown, S. (2011). Social networks  and social work practice. In F. Turner, Social Work treatment (5th ed., pp. 447–459). New York: Oxford University Press.

Biegel, D. E., Katz, S., Meeks, D., Brown, S., & Tracy, E. M. (2010). Predictors of depressive symptomatology in family caregivers of women with substance use disorders or co-occurring substance use and mental disorders. Journal of Family Social Work, 13, 25–44.

Munson, M. R., Smalling, S., Spencer, R., Scott, L. D., Jr., & Tracy, E. M. (2010). A steady presence in the midst of change: Nonkin natural mentoring relationships among older youth exiting foster care. Children and Youth Services Review, 32(4), 527–535.

Tracy, E. M., Munson, M., Peterson, L., & Floersch, J. (2010). Social supports: A mixed blessing for women in substance abuse treatment. Journal of Social Work Practice in the Addictions, 10, 257– 282.

Allen, S. F., & Tracy, E. M. (Eds.). (2009). Delivering home-based Services: A social work perspective. New York, NY:Columbia University Press.

Brown, S. & Tracy, E. M. (2008), Building communities of practice to advance mental health services in schools. The Community Psychologist, 41 (2), 46-48.

Piccola, T. & Tracy, E. M. (2008) Family preservation and home based services. Encyclopedia of social work (20th ed., Vol. 2, pp. 2000-2006). New York: Oxford University Press andNASW Press.

Tracy, E. M. (2008). Working with and strengthening social networks. In A. R. Roberts (Editorin-Chief), Social workers’ desk reference (2nd ed., pp. 710-714). New York: Oxford University Press.

Biegel, D. E., Katz, S., Tracy, E., & Townsend, A. (2007). Predictors of dyadic relationship quality of women in substance abuse treatment. Journal of Dual Diagnosis, 3 (1), 87-112.

Tracy, E. M., & Johnson, P. J. (2007) Personal social networks of women with co-occurring substance use and mental disorders. Social Work Practice in the Addictions, 7 (1/2), 69-90.

Tracy, E. M., & Martin, T .C. (2007) Children’s roles in the social networks of women in substance abuse treatment. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 32, 81-88.

Tracy, E. M., & Usaj, K. (2007). School social work with individuals and groups. In L. Bye &M. Alvarez (Eds.), School social work: Theory to practice (pp.141-163). Belmont, CA:Thomson Brooks/Cole.

Recent Presentations

Brown, S., Tracy, E., Jun, M.K., Park, H., & Min, M.O. (January, 2013). By the company she keeps: Client and provider perspectives of facilitators and barriers to personal network change for women in treatment for substance dependence. Oral Presentation at the 17th Annual Conference of the Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR), San Diego, California.

Brown, S., Tracy, E., & Min, M.O. (January, 2013).  Parenting competence and child status in mothers with substance dependence: The role of bonding history and social networks. Oral Presentation at the 17th Annual Conference of the Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR), San Diego, California.

Tracy, E., Min, M.O., Park, H., & Jun, M.K. (January, 2013).  Personal networks and substance use at 12 month post treatment among dually diagnosed women. Oral Presentation at the 17th Annual Conference of the Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR), San Diego, California.

Jun, M.K., Tracy, E., Min, M.O., & Park, H. (November, 2012). Personal networks of women in residential and outpatient substance use disorder treatment. Poster presented at the 58th Annual Program Meeting for the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), Washington, D.C.

Tracy, E., Min, M.O., & Singer, L. (October, 2012). Physical, mental co-morbidities and recovery outcomes among women. Paper presentation in A. Laudet (Chair), Longitudinal Perspectives on Physical and Mental Health Comorbidities among Women in Recovery: Implications for Recovery Support Services and Integrated Care Symposium, 2012 Addiction Health Services Research (AHSR) Conference, New York  NY.

Person-Environment Practice: The Social Ecology of Interpersonal Helping
Susan P Kemp, James K. Whittaker, and Elizabeth M. Tracy

This bookpep_front offers both an affirmation and a challenge to direct social work practice. It addresses a core but long-neglected dimension in social work and human services: accurate environmental assessment and strategic environmental intervention. The text provides a coherent critique and overview of environmental intervention congruent with the demands of such emergent areas as practice with personal social networks, empowerment practice, practice from a strengths perspective, and multicultural practice. It draws on the work of seminal contributors in social work practice and social science.

The primary audience for Person-Environment Practice is the great majority of social workers whose helping efforts extend to individuals, families, groups, and neighborhoods. Its primary aim is to examine each of these levels critically, through the prism of “environment,” and to offer practical suggestions for both assessment and intervention. The authors provide a conceptual framework for understanding environmentally oriented practice; explore its theoretical, historical and empirical underpinnings; and provide extensive information on environmental assessment and intervention, including assessment and intervention with personal social networks.

Kemp, Whittaker, and Tracy write from a rich and varied background of direct practice, research, and teaching. They write out of the conviction that interpersonal practice properly oriented to proximate and distal environments makes an important difference in the lives of clients in distress – a contribution that complements but cannot be replaced by macro level intervention. This book will be of interest to all involved with the implementation, evaluation, or teaching of contemporary social work practice.

Social Work Practice with Families and Children
Anthony Maluccio, Barbara Pine and Elizabeth Tracy

Social Work Practice with Families and Children emphasizes family-centered, social network and school-based interventions in the preparation of social workers for direct and indirect practice with clients from vulnerable populations, especially the poor, people of color, and recent immigrant groups. Sections of the book cover the knowledge base and practice base for social work practice with families and children. The conclusion evaluates practice and service delivery, including the impact of welfare reform and managed care on vulnerable families and children and the implications for social-work education and training.


1: Knowledge Base 1. Understanding Vulnerable Families and Their Children 2. Risks and Vulnerabilities 3. Supporting Families and Their Children 4. Ethical Issues 2: Practice Base 5. Engagement, Assessment, Case Planning, and Goal Setting 6. Family-centered Intervention 7. Social Network Intervention 8. School-based Intervention 3: looking to the Future 9. Evaluation of Practice and Service Delivery 10. Future Challenges and Opportunities Appendices 1. Tools and Instruments to Support Practice 2. National Child Welfare Resource Centers 3. Other Resource Centers and Information Sources 4. Electronic Resources on Family and Children’s Services 5. Electronic Resources on Children’s Special Needs and Exceptionalities 6. Electronic Resources on Schools and Children’s Education 7. Electronic Resources on Health of Children and Adults 8. Electronic Resources on System Reform and Advocacy for Children and Families 9. Electronic Resources on Mentoring and Support Groups 10. Informational and Training Materials on Alcohol and Substance Abuse

Anthony Maluccio is professor of social work at the Graduate School of Social Work at Boston College. He is co-author of Teaching Family Reunification. Barbara Pine is a professor at the University of Connecticut. Elizabeth Tracy is Associate Professor of Social Work at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University. She is co-author of Person-Environment Practice.

August 2002 351 pages 2 figures 0-231-10766-8 cloth $56.50 / (39.00)

Evidence Based Practice Series

In the News

Biegel and Tracy Inducted As 2016 SSWR Fellows

Jan 16 2016

biegel tracyCongratulations to David E. Biegel, PhD, Henry L. Zucker Professor of Social Work Practice and Chair of the Doctoral Program, and Elizabeth M. Tracy, Grace Longwell Coyle Professor in Social Work and Associate Dean for Research and Training on being inducted into the 2016 class of Fellows of the Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR) on January 16, 2016, at the SSWR 2016 Annual Conference.

Fellows are SSWR members who have served with distinction to advance the mission of the Society — to advance, disseminate, and translate research that addresses issues of social work practice and policy and promotes a diverse, equitable and just society. This honor recognizes their individual accomplishments, leadership and contribution to social work research and acknowledges their roles as role models and mentors for individuals pursuing careers in social work research. Eligibility is determined by a point system that awards points for activities in a given year, such as accepted abstracts.

Join Us and Our Presenters at CSWE APM 2015

Oct 12 2015

CSWEThere are a variety of ways you can join the Mandel School at the Council on Social Work Education 61st Annual Program Meeting (#2015APM), the premiere conference for social justice professionals on October 15-18 in Denver, Colorado.

+ Visit us at booth #517. We have special Centennial gifts and lots of great information for our alumni, colleagues, and prospective students.

+ Join us at a private reception for Mandel School alumni, faculty and students to celebrate our Centennial and another record year of research. It is on Friday, October 16, at 5pm at Katie Mullen’s Irish Pub & Restaurant. To RSVP, contact Nada DiFranco ( We are also hosting a Centennial Salon for Denver-area alumni hosted by Amy McClellan, MNO 1998, on Thursday, October 15. To RSVP for that alumni networking event, contact Marianne Lax (

+ Join Dr. Terry Hokenstad, Distinguished University Professor, at the Hokenstad International Lecture on Friday, October 16. Dr. Vishanthie Sewpaul from the University of KwaZulu Natal Durban and the South Africa President of the Association of Schools of Social Work in Africa will present “Challenges to the West and the Rest Value Dichotomies: Culture, Human Rights and Social Work.”

+ An article by doctoral program alumnus Craig R. Boitel, PhD 2002, “Defining Signature Pedagogy in Social Work Education: Learning Theory and the Learning Contract,” which appeared in the Fall 2014 issue of the Journal of Social Work Education was chosen as a JSWE Best Conceptual Article. He will be honored at the Reviewers Reception on Saturday, October 17.

+ Doctoral students Susan Yoon and Hyunyong Park will receive the Outstanding Dissertation Proposal Award by the Korean-American Social Work Educator Association (KASWEA) at the conference. Only two awardees were selected this year and both were from the Mandel School!

+ Presentations by our faculty (bold) and doctoral students (italics):

  • Yoon, Susan & Kobulsky, Julia, Voith, L. A.  Steigerwald, S. (alumna) Violence exposure and adolescent behavior problems: Parent-child relationships as a mediator. Abstract accepted for interactive poster presentation.
  • Holmes, Megan R., Yoon, Susan & Kobulsky, Julia Resilience in physically abused children: Protective factors for aggression. Abstract accepted for oral presentation.
  • Riley-Behringer, M. (alumna), Cage, Jamie, & Yoon, Susan Helping Direct Practice Social Work Students Embrace Their Inner Policy Wonk. Abstract accepted for interactive workshop.
  • Tracy, Elizabeth M., Wood, Zoe Breen, Farkas, Kathleen Making the transition from classroom to online education….and back again. Workshop abstract accepted to present at a Faculty Development Institute.
  • Wood, Zoe & Riley-Behringer, M. (alumna) Be Left for a Newer Model? HBSE Needs a Little Work Done! Abstract accepted for a discussion group section.
  • Hokenstad, M.C.  Engaging in Social Work Education across Borders: Opportunities & Lessons Learned. Abstract accepted for a Partnership Presentation.
  • Hokenstad, M.C. Panelist. Representing Social Work Education at the United Nations. Sponsored by IASSW. 

+ Alumni presenters: David Beimers, PhD 2009; Ralph Belk, MSSA 1996; Carlton David Craig, MSSA 1993; Emily Dakin, MSSA 2001, PhD 2004; Fran Danis, PhD 2000; Laurel Davis, MSSA 1978; Abbie Frost, MSSA 1977, PhD 1984; Altaf Husain, MSSA 1994; Robert Keefe, MSSA 1985; Patricia Kolb, MSSA 1971; Flavio Marsiglia, PhD 1991; Lisa McGuire, PhD 2000; Min So Paek, PhD 2013; Hyeshin Park, MSSA 2010; James Piers, PhD 1997; D. Mark Ragg, PhD 1997; Mary Ann Rawlings, PhD 2008; Joanne Riebschleger, PhD 2001; Maureen Riley-Behringer, MSSA 1994, PhD 2015; Mary Secret, MSSA 1973; Susan Smalling, PhD 2012; and Stacey Steigerwald, MSSA 2015.

Innovative technology-driven teaching methods promote active learning of clinical social work

Jun 12 2015
Betsy Tracy, Lori Longs Painter, Megan Holmes

Betsy Tracy, Lori Longs Painter, and Megan Holmes

As part of a larger initiative to promote active learning, researchers at the Mandel School participated in a yearlong project to integrate active instruction and academic technologies into their social work courses.

The use of interactive technology and technology-based peer-to-peer active learning was considered a natural fit to teach clinical practice skills in social work—techniques designed to recognize students’ diverse learning styles and promote the hands-on application of skills in classroom and field settings.

Led by Assistant Professor Megan R. Holmes (pictured at far right), the researchers implemented the following innovations:

• A foundation methods practice course was “flipped”—students viewed online lectures and instructional videos at their own pace before meeting for class, allowing classroom time to be reserved for collaborative work and case-study exercises to engage students and deepen their understanding.

• Google technology was used in both foundation and advanced masters courses to: help bridge the gap between field and classroom work through case study discussions with community practitioners through video conferencing; create an online and in-class learning community; and promote student collaboration.

• The integration of newly designed interactive classroom learning spaces and collaborative technology to promote a shift toward active learning.

The new approach is described in the Clinical Social Work Journal article “Moving from the Flipcharts to the Flipped Classroom: Using Technology Driven Teaching Methods to Promote Active Learning in Foundation and Advanced Masters Social Work Courses.”

In summer 2013, Case Western Reserve built two active learning spaces designed to promote collaboration, small group exercises and problem-solving. In contrast to typical classrooms with technology mainly for the instructor’s use, these rooms provide several large computer screens for students to use, software to collaborate in small groups and share their work with the class, movable furniture and multiple writing surfaces, which promotes active learning and collaboration.

In the upcoming renovation of its main school building, the Mandel School plans that two of the four renovated classrooms will be active learning and that the other two will be converted in the future.

An example of an active learning in-class project is writing up the psychosocial characteristics of a case study client and assessing the individual’s needs that can guide the social worker.

Teams of students work on assessments using a shared Google document, with each team contributing a portion of the material. And in real time, teams can read what other groups have contributed and learn from it, Holmes said. And when class is over, each has a template to use as a guide in new client assessments.

“Without spending time lecturing, students are freed to experience and practice skills they need as social workers,” Holmes said, “and they collaborate with others and learn from the process.”

Student feedback through course assessments and evaluations indicated that that some enjoyed the variation of group activities and that such activities produced a sense of classroom community. Based on feedback from 46 students in two social sciences courses:

• Students liked the flexibility of moveable, comfortable seating.

• They liked the ability to collaborate using the large screen displays.

• Students also noted the importance of multiple electrical outlets for them to charge their personal devices, often a challenge in more traditionally designed classroom space.

• However, some students were initially somewhat overwhelmed by the amount of new technologies used in the courses. Two comments included that both unfamiliarity with Google drive or being a non-traditional student required a little more “hand holding to understand the technology” and “struggles to access the electronic/computer information.”

• The students felt that once they understood how to use them, they were helpful, but the beginning of the course did create some anxiety.

• The feedback provided by these students, along with the data supporting the benefit of using these applications, have led the program to incorporate technology training in the student orientation.

Elizabeth M. Tracy (pictured at far left), Grace Longwell Coyle Professor in Social Work and associate dean for research and training at the Mandel School, combines traditional lectures enhanced with technologies to draw students into the learning experience for the required “Theory and Practice Approaches in Direct Practice Social Work” course.

“Since most students bring their laptops to class, it just makes sense to actively use this technology during class time in ways beyond taking notes,” said Tracy, who also contributed to the article.

Lori Longs Painter (pictured at center), MSSA 1987, LISW-S, who is on the field education faculty and an adjunct instructor at the Mandel School, used technology to connect students with field instructors in the community so they could get expert advice on case study assessments and interventions.

Holmes, Tracy and Painter are among 24 faculty members in the past two years who received an Active Learning Fellowship. Faculty make a year long commitment to attend workshops and design a course using active learning techniques and technologies. The ITS active learning workshops help faculty understand active learning and how to integrate the method into teaching, said Tina Oestreich, an ITS faculty support and academic technology leader at Case Western Reserve.

“The Active Learning Fellowship is part of an effort to transform the culture of teaching and learning at CWRU, with new learning spaces being part of the effort,” Oestreich said. “The goal is to help faculty to think more deeply about their own teaching practices, provide recognition for faculty’s participation in the fellowship, communicate their efforts to their departments, the university and beyond and provide an additional avenue for academic research.”

Holmes, Tracy, Painter, Oestreich and doctoral candidate Hyunyong Park, from the Mandel School, contributed to the research.