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About Mary Nienow, PhD, LGSW

Dr. Mary Nienow earned her BSW from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 1997, her MSW from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, in 2003, and her PhD in Social Work from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, in 2018. Dr. Nienow has nearly twenty years of experience in research, teaching, advocacy, program coordination, policy development and analysis and community organizing. Dr. Nienow was the co-founder of Grasstops, a nonprofit advocacy organization that assisted nonprofits and small community groups with their policy and advocacy goals. Her extensive practice experience also includes Policy Consultant for Hennepin County Medical Center, Field Director at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Executive Director at Child Care WORKS, and lead researcher on Health and Human Services for the Minnesota Senate DFL Caucus. Prior to joining the St. Catherine University social work faculty as BSW Program Director and Assistant Professor she was an Assistant Professor of Social Work at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire from 2017-2019. Nienow is co-author of the book Whole Person Librarianship: A social work approach to patron services. She has presented on this topic locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.  Dr. Nienow’s additional research interests include professional socialization of macro practice social workers, policy and program development, and community based participatory research.   


Present Program Director, St. Catherine University Social Work

Curriculum Vitae


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Professional Service and Affiliations

2019 - Present Chair, Licensing for Macro Practice Social Work Workgroup of the Special Commission to Advance Macro Practi
2019 - Present Commissioner, Special Commission to Advance Macro Practice
2010 - Present Member, Council on Social Work Education
2003 - Present Member, National Association of Social Workers
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  • Social Work with Large Systems
  • Social Welfare Policies and Programs
  • Social Work Research


2003 - 2018 PhD, University of Minnesota
2002 - 2003 MSW, University of Minnesota
1993 - 1997 BSW, University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire

Contact Information

Mailing Address:
2004 Randolph Avenue, F-15
St. Paul, MN 55105

Office Location: 101 Fontbonne Hall
Office Phone: 651-690-6722 [text and voice]