CSWE Press

Activating a Teaching–Learning Philosophy: A Practical Guide for Educators

Erlene Grise-Owens, J. Jay Miller, and Larry W. Owens
Publication Date: 09/30/2018
ISBN: 978-0-87293-182-4
Pages: 130
Publisher: CSWE Press
This how-to manual provides a structured framework for developing a comprehensive teaching-learning philosophy from articulation through implementation to evaluation—and then reactivation. Using professional literature and teaching-learning experiences, the authors provide pragmatic steps for using a grounded philosophy to inform, engage, and assess teaching-learning. They advocate an integrated teaching-learning philosophy to promote ongoing commitment, engaged competency, and meaningful purpose in practice for educators.
The book can be used as an individual tool for professional development or in programs that prepare engaged educators, including doctoral curricula. It can also be used to inform unit and even university-level activation of a joint, shared, philosophical approach to support accountability efforts, such as institutional effectiveness and accreditation.
The authors intend this book to serve as the resource they wish they had possessed when they first ventured into the teaching role—and, indeed, throughout a career trajectory.

About the Authors

Erlene Grise-Owens, EdD, LCSW, MSW, MRE
, is partner in The Wellness Group, ETC. This LLC provides evaluation, training, and consultation on practitioner self-care and organizational wellness. Erlene taught for more than two decades in social work education, achieving the rank of full professor. During that time, she served as director of field education and graduate program director. Erlene also worked in administrative and direct practice roles in community and agency practice arenas, including child welfare, behavioral health, and religious-affiliated contexts. Erlene has substantive scholarship, particularly in scholarship of teaching–learning and self-care/wellness in the helping professions. At this point in her career, Erlene is focused on promoting well-being in the helping professions, including higher education.

J. Jay Miller, PhD, MSW, CSW, is the associate dean for research, associate professor, and founding director of the Self-Care Lab in the College of Social Work at the University of Kentucky. Jay’s research and academic interests include child welfare, self-care as a professional practice skill, and scholarship of teaching–learning. Jay currently serves as the chair of Kentucky’s Juvenile Justice Advisory Board, Board of Social Work, and Children’s Justice Act Taskforce. Jay is a past recipient of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services’ Paul Grannis Award and is a 2014 inductee into the College of Health and Human Services Hall of Fame at Western Kentucky University.  Last but not least, Jay is a proud foster and kin care alum!

Larry W. Owens, EdD, MSW, CSW, is associate professor of social work at Western Kentucky University (WKU). He is the lead faculty member at the WKU Elizabethtown Regional Campus. Beginning as a child care worker, Larry has more than 25 years of direct care, clinical, and administrative experience. His experience included working in outpatient mental health services, foster care, group homes, residential treatment, emergency shelters, adoption, and independent living services. Larry’s research interests include scholarship of teaching–learning, education at branch campuses, and leadership in the helping professions. He is particularly committed to global educational experiences and was recently selected as faculty for Semester at Sea.


“The authors have done an exemplary job in creating a guide with broad applicability and resources for junior and senior faculty. This valuable tool prompts readers to create and evaluate their personal philosophy of teaching while providing a framework for synergy between teaching, scholarship, and service. I highly recommend this unique book to faculty members, administrators, and doctoral students, who will find it essential to their professional growth and development.” —Dr. Saundra H. Starks, LCSW, Professor and MSW Program Director, Western Kentucky University
Activating a Teaching–Learning Philosophy: A Practical Guide for Educators