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About Sharyn DeZelar, PhD, MSW, LICSW

Sharyn DeZelar, PhD, MSW, LICSW, joined the St. Catherine University faculty in fall 2019 as a full-time Assistant Professor.  Dr. DeZelar earned a PhD in Social Work in 2018 from the University of MN (Twin Cities) along with a certificate in Disability Policy and Services. She earned her MSW in 2006 from St. Catherine University/University of St. Thomas School of Social Work, and her BSW from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 1998.  Dr. DeZelar’s research focus is largely related to disabilities, and its intersection with family support, parenting, poverty and child welfare.  Dr. DeZelar also has been working on several projects related to diversifying the social work profession via inclusion and equity for students with disabilities. She has significant practice experience in housing services, disabilities and mental health.

She currently has several published articles in peer-reviewed journals, with others under review. All journal articles inform the social work profession, as they relate to topics if the intersection of disability and child welfare, experiences of social workers with disabilities in field and employment, and intervention with parents with disabilities. All articles are rich in implications for social work practitioners, programs and policies. Dr. DeZelar has conducted many oral and poster presentations at peer-reviewed academic and research conferences, on topics relating to child welfare, disabilities, family case studies, innovative family interventions, inclusion and equity in higher education, and practice collaborations. She has also conducted an invited presentation at the Minnesota chapter of the National Association of Social Workers annual conference on recognizing and confronting ableism within the social work profession, as well as presentations and workshops for education and support staff on neurodevelopmental disabilities (specifically Smith-Magenis Syndrome).


Present Assistant Professor, St. Catherine University Social Work Department


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Professional Service and Affiliations

Member, Council on Social Work Education
Member, National Association of Social Workers
Member, Society for Social Work and Research
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  • Theory and Practice of Social Work
  • Social Work Practice Research
  • History and Philosophy of Social Work


2018 PhD, University of Minnesota ‐ Social Work
2018 Certificate in Disability Policy and Services, University of Minnesota
2006 MSW, St. Catherine University ‐ School of Social Work
1998 BSW, University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire ‐ Social Work

Contact Information

Interviews (1)

Presentations (22)

Publications (14)