Darla Spence Coffey, PhD

Council on Social Work Education

Darla Spence Coffey assumed the duties of CSWE President and Gero-Ed Center co-Principal Investigator on July 2, 2012. As a former participant in a GeroRich infusion project and Faculty Development Institutes, and now as Center co-PI, she recognizes the imperative to prepare social workers with gero competencies.

Prior to her appointment as president, she served as professor of social work, associate provost, and dean of graduate studies at West Chester University. Coffey received her bachelor’s degree from Eastern College, her MSW from the University of Pennsylvania, and her PhD from Bryn Mawr College Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research. She was a member of the social work faculty at West Chester University beginning in 1998, where she contributed to the initial accreditation of the MSW program in 2000 and served as the director and chair of the university’s undergraduate social work program from 2002 to 2005. Since 2005 Coffey has served in senior university administrative capacities, providing leadership for academic program development, curriculum, academic policies, assessment of student learning, transfer articulation, accreditation and faculty development. During the 2008–2009 academic year she served West Chester University as interim provost/vice president for academic affairs. Her service activities within the university are extensive, including co-chairing West Chester’s Campus Climate Intervention Team and serving as a founding member of the Advisory Board of Women in Leadership and Service.

Coffey has an extensive background in social work practice in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and domestic violence, and is a nationally recognized author and speaker on these topics. After years of working with and researching the effects of domestic violence on children, Coffey developed a curriculum, Parenting After Violence, and trained cohorts of social workers in the child welfare system in Philadelphia, PA in its implementation.

Coffey has been active in national social work organizations throughout her career. As a long-time member of CSWE, she has served on the Council on Leadership Development and the Commission on Educational Policy. Coffey is a member of the National Association of Social Workers and the Association of Baccalaureate Social Work Program Directors, where she served on the Executive Committee from 2005–2009. She has also served on numerous community boards that provide services to women and children, and is currently a national advisor to the Institute for Safe Families in Philadelphia, PA.