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Dr. Liz Fisher

Professor, Department Chair, BSW Program Director

Dr. Liz Fisher

Office: Shippen Hall 384A

Phone: 717-477-1365



BA - Social Work, Millersville University (1997)
MSW, University of Maryland-Baltimore (2001)
PhD, University of Maryland-Baltimore (2006)



          Prior to teaching, I began my social work career as a YWCA Youth Director where I planned and implemented after school programs for children living in low-income housing, facilitated groups for adolescent girls, planned community events and coordinated summer camps including one for children with social, emotional and/or behavioral issues. Subsequently, I went to graduate school in Baltimore, MD where I helped with community organizing and program development in several grassroots nonprofit organizations and worked with Maryland Association of Nonprofit Organizations. While at SU, I have been involved with the YWCA Carlisle, Pennsylvania GEAR-Up and Cumberland/Perry Housing and Community Partnership. I devote most of my service time working with community members and social service providers to increase access to social services and youth programming in Shippensburg through the Shippensburg Community Resource Coalition: This project provides a unique community-university partnership opportunity and encourages service learning opportunities and internships. I engage in continuous learning by attending numerous conferences and workshops each year along with serving as a volunteer in the community.

           My teaching and research interests include leadership in social services, community development, poverty, gender issues and social justice. I am particularly interested in transformational leadership and have published and provided training in this area. Whether I am training in a workshop or teaching in the classroom, I see my role as a facilitator of learning and work to actively engage participants. I also utilize as much service learning as possible to help students apply what they are learning while giving back to the community. I am passionate about social work and social justice and helping students develop critical thinking skills to use a systems perspective when thinking about social work services.


SWK 102 - Social Work in Social Welfare

SWK 340 – Assessing Organizations and Communities

SWK 370 – Practice with Organizations and Communities

SWK 388 – Preparation for Field Practicum

SWK 389 / SWK 460– Social Work Field Practicum

SWK 391 / SWK 462 – Seminar in Social Work Methods

SWK 420 – Gender Issues for Helping Professionals

SWK 501 – Principles and Philosophies of Social Work

SWK 521 - Foundation Macro Social Work Practice

SWK 530 & 531 – MSW Foundation Field Seminar 

SWK 616 - Leadership Dynamics in Social Work Practice 

SWK 630 & 631- MSW Advanced Field Seminar 

HON 397 - Honors Seminar: Leadership 

Selected Publications & Presentations

Cella, L., Lyman, M. J., Fisher, L., Irot, S., & Binando, G. (2020). More than a sandwich: Developing an inclusive summer lunch literacy program in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania. Reflections: A Journal of Community-Engaged Writing and Rhetoric. Vol 20, (1), Spring/Summer 2020, 243-258

Lyman, M., Fisher, L., & Clark, J. (2018). United Way of Carlisle and Cumberland County (UWCCC) Community Assessment. 

Fisher, L. (March, 2017). Social Work Writing Studios: How to Develop, Implement & Evaluate Roundtable presentation at the Baccalaureate Program Directors Conference. New Orleans, LA

Fisher, L. & Flagler, M. (October 2017). Teaching participatory leadership skills through group work for a service learning project. Presentation at the International Society for Exploring Teaching and Learning Conference. Orlando, FL.

Johnson, K., Clements, J. & Fisher, L. (June, 2016). We all write better together: Developing writing groups for social work students. Presentation at the International Association for Social Work with Groups Conference. New York City, NY.

Fisher, L., Browne, S., Kohutiak, B. (2014). Gather the women: Listening to women through an empowering program. Groupwork, 24(1). doi: 0.1921/7401240202 63

Fisher, L. & Clements, J. (October, 2014). Field Education and Technology for Small to Mid-Size Programs. Roundtable presentation at the Council on Social Work Education Annual Program Meeting. Tampa, FL.

Fisher, L., Lyman, M., Butts, L., & Mosher, M. (2014). Shippensburg, PA: Community Assessment. Report prepared for the Shippensburg Community Resource Coalition. Shippensburg, PA. Available via

Drenovsky, C. & Fisher, E. (2013). An evaluation of an exercise program for older adults. International Journal of Sport and Society, 3.

Fisher, L. (2013). Transformational leadership among grassroots social service organizations. Community Development, doi: 10.1080/15575330.2013.803490

Oktay, J., Jacobsen, J. & Fisher, L. (2013). Learning from experience: The transition from doctoral student to social work educator. Journal of Social Work Education.

Fisher, L. (2012). Book review: The Nature of the Nonprofit Sector and Understanding Nonprofit Organizations: Governance, Leadership, and Management. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 41, 1275-1278.

Fisher, L. (2010). Will I be a competent social worker? The CSWE EPAS, competency, and signature pedagogy. In L.M. Grobman (ed.) The field placement survival guide.

Fisher, L. & Benbow, S. (Oct. 2010). Youth Leadership Conferences: A collaborative effort to address racism in schools. Presentation at the National Association of Social Workers, PA Chapter Conference. Pittsburgh, PA.

Fisher, E. (2009). Motivation and leadership in social work management: A review of theories and related studies. Administration in Social Work, 33.

Fisher, L. (2008, vol. 2). Practical tips for leading an outcomes measurement team in health settings. NASW  Specialty Practice Section.

Fisher, E. (November, 2008). Transformational leadership and organizational capacity for change among grassroots social service organizations. Paper presentation at the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Associations Annual Conference, Philadelphia, PA.

Fisher, E. (March, 2008). Coming down from the Ivory Tower: Bringing social work education to students. Paper presentation at the Association of Baccalaureate Social Work Program Directors Annual Conference, Destin, FL.

Deal, K., Hopkins, K., Fisher, E., Hartin, J. (2007). Field practicum experiences of macro-oriented graduate students: Are we doing them justice? Administration in Social Work, 31(4), 41-58.

Fisher, L. (Winter 2007). Rural homelessness: Engaging a social work school and its students. The  ACOSA Update!, 20(3/4).

Fisher, L., Reed, N., Stough, L., Tracey, M. (2007). Making the most of seminar courses to be the capstone of your social work education. New Social Worker. Also reprinted as a chapter in, Grobman, L. (ed.), The Field Placement Survival Guide, 2nd ed. Harrisburg, PA: White Hat Communications.

Clements, J.A. & Fisher, E.A. (June, 2006). Helping to heal the helpers: Transformational leadership as a model for clinical supervision of child welfare workers. Paper and Lecture at the International Interdisciplinary Clinical Supervision Conference, Buffalo, NY.

Fisher, E. (2005). Facing the challenges of outcomes measurement: The role of transformational leadership. Administration in Social Work, 29(4), 35.


Contact the Social Work and Gerontology Department 382 Shippen Hall 1871 Old Main Drive, Shippensburg, PA 17257 Phone: 717-477-1717 Fax: (717) 477-4051