Don Schweitzer, PhD, LMSW

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Course Information

At Pacific University, all faculty teach a variety of different courses. Typically, we do not use graduate teaching assistants, which means that your classes will be taught by professors and that you will have plenty of opportunities to get to know the faculty in your discipline.

Below I have listed some of the courses that I teach. We are always developing and trying out new classes, so the list may change now and then.

SOCWK 300 | Micro Social Work Practice

SOCWK 320 | Human Behavior in the Social Environment (HBSE)

SOCWK 480 I Pre-Practicum Seminar

Senior Seminar

Areas of Research & Specialization

I am an associate professor of social work at Pacific University and have worked with homeless populations throughout my social work career. My current research focuses on understanding and ameliorating the problem of homeless and runaway youth. I believe that current policy and treatment responses frequently exacerbate the problems of these youth by compounding family conflicts that result in youth being "pushed" out of their homes. These policies are obstacles to genuine care, and as a result, many young people have few options beyond high-risk living arrangements.

My research goals are to continue to conduct participatory and qualitative research in an effort to help shape innovative forms of policy, treatment models and service evaluation that can help overcome the problems associated with homeless and runaway youth.


PhD in Social Work and Social Research, Portland State University, Portland, Ore., in 2011

Master of Arts in Social Work, Boise State University, Boise, Idaho, in 2005

Bachelor of Arts in Social Work, Idaho State University, Pocatello, Idaho, in 2004

Personal Affiliations

National Association of Social Workers

American Evaluation Association

Oregon Program Evaluators Network

Published Works

Nelson, K., Walters, B., Schweitzer, D., Blythe, B., & Pecora, P. (2008). A ten-year review of family preservation research: Building the evidence base. Seattle, WA: Casey Family Programs

Cahn, K., Schweitzer, D., Jamieson, A., & Slevin, H. (2009). Stronger youth and smarter communities: An analysis of Oregon’s investment in runaway and homeless youth programs. Portland, Ore.: Portland State University.

Schweitzer, D. (2011). Runaway and homeless youth: Changing the discourse by legitimizing youth voice. Dissertation. Portland State University.

Nelson, K. & Schweitzer, D (2012). What works in family preservation services. In P.A. Curtis & G. Alexander (Eds.), What works in child welfare. Child Welfare League of America.

Schweitzer, D. (2012). Running on empty: Service and citizens stretched to the limit. Report. Hillsboro, OR. Washington County Anti-poverty Workgroup.

Schweitzer, D., Helmer, C., Lee, L., Linderman, M., Moore, D., & Schweigeraht, C. (2013). Asking for directions: Partnering with youth to build the evidence base for runaway and homeless youth. Report. Pacific University, Forest Grove, Ore.

Schweitzer, D., Chianello, T. & Korthari, B. (2013). Compensation in social work: Critical for satisfaction and a sustainable profession. Administration in Social Work, 37, p. 147-157.

Teaching Experience

Associate Professor and Director of Field Education

Pacific University, Forest Grove, Ore.

Micro Social Work Practice

Human Behavior in the Social Environment (HBSE)

Senior Seminar

Pre-Practicum Seminar

Visiting Professor (Aug 2008-May 2009)

Pacific University, Forest Grove, Ore.

Social Work with Groups

Counseling and Interviewing Techniques

Principles of Social Work

Adjunct Faculty (Aug. 2007-May 2008)

Pacific University, Forest Grove, Ore.

Social Work with Groups

Counseling and Interviewing Techniques

Principles of Social Work

Micro Social Work Practice

US Navy Instructor – Nuclear Power Training Unit, Idaho Falls, Idaho, February 1991 to March 1993
Instructed officer and enlisted students in theory, operation, and maintenance of nuclear propulsion plant systems.

US Navy Shipboard Instructor – USS Hawkbill, August 1990 to January 1991
Instructed officer and enlisted personnel in theory, operation, and maintenance of nuclear propulsion plant systems. Trainings were consistently evaluated as “very effective” and “above average” training value.

Why I study social work

Since beginning my work in social services, I’ve always wanted to study social work. At the bachelor’s level, social work taught me the skills I needed to work with at-risk populations such as the homeless and other impoverished groups. At the master’s level, social work taught me skills to work with the mentally ill and those struggling with addiction. At the doctoral level, social work taught me to understand the theory behind why social problems exist and ways to effectively measure the interventions we employ. Moreover, I am extremely proud of the extensive history social work has with advocating for the needs of the voiceless in our communities.

What I would tell a student considering a major in social work.

Social work is an exciting field that offers many occupations working with a variety of populations. Do you think you might want to work with the homeless or with at-risk youth? Perhaps you’ve thought about working with women coming out of prison, helping them transition back into our communities or with the elderly? Maybe you’d like to work in a hospital assisting patience access services in the community. These are just a few examples of the type of work social workers do. However, while social work is an exciting, diverse profession with a long history of facilitating real change in our communities, I would encourage students to visit with one of the social work professors as well as any social workers they may know in the field and ask them more. We’d be happy to sit down and talk with you.

Office Location: 
Marsh Hall 223 (Forest Grove)
Area of Study I Teach (Undergraduate): 
Area of Study I Teach (Graduate/Professional):