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Portrait of Mary Gitau

Mary Gitau, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Social Work
(563) 588-6578
Catherine Byrne Hall 323
MS 1705 (to send on-campus mail)

Educational Background

PhD in Education, University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming; 2011

Master in Social Work (MSW), University of Wyoming, Laramie; 2012

Master of Arts; Communication, University of Wyoming, Laramie; 2007

Bachelor of Science, Organizational Communication, Ithaca College, Ithaca, New York, 2004

Teaching Philosophy

I approach my teaching with the concept of seeking to help and encourage my students to achieve remarkable learning results. I am well aware that with a sound learning experience, students use their gained knowledge to bring about positive change to the societies that they will eventually encounter in their future careers. Achieving these outcomes implies adopting a holistic approach to teaching and creating a secure and stimulating environment that allows my students to grow intellectually, emotionally and socially.

Be the change that you wish to see in the world. Mahatma Gandhi

Mary Gitau


Professional Background

Prior to joining Clarke as an assistant professor of social work, I worked as a project manager for a HRSA funded project with the University of Wyoming Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing as part of the MSW post-graduate work experience. In addition, I worked for the UW’s Division of Social Work from 2007-14 both as part-time lecturer and graduate assistance teaching various social work courses. Other related experience include 1) Volunteer social worker at Laramie Downtown Clinic, a free primary health care (non-emergency) for acute and chronic conditions for Albany County residents; 2) President of policy council for the Laramie Head Start Program and 3) Teaching for the African American Studies program at the University of Wyoming.

Research Interests

  • Establishing Cultural Competence and Cultural Humility in working with minority population
  • Community Engagement
  • Disparities in educational access
  • Global Social Work & Social Justice
  • Mental Health Stigma and Help Seeking Among African Immigrants Living in the USA

Courses Taught

  • Social Work Practice with Communities and Organizations
  • Human Behavior and Social Environment
  • Domestic Violence
  • Social Work Research I
  • Social Work II
  • Diversity and Privilege
  • Advanced Issues in Social Work (Global Issues)
  • Social Work Policy

Certifications and Memberships

  • Kenya Scholars and Studies Association (KESSA)

Community Service/Volunteer Activities

  • Board of Directors for Multicultural Family Center, July 2015 to Present
  • Planning Committee Member of the Race in The Heartland, a regional conference that covered issues across the state as they relate to Race and Equity, May-Oct 2019
  • Planner & Organizer of annual African Celebration event in Dubuque “Celebrate Africa” in Collaboration with Multicultural Family Center, University of Dubuque and Clarke University (2014-Present)
  • Investment Review Panelist, United Way of Dubuque Area Tri-States, (2016-2017)-reviewed applications for organizations that had requested funding from United Way.
  • Co-Chair for Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King 2017 Tribute for the Dubuque Schools K-12 Students’ Contests (2016-2017)

Additional Information

  • Organized and led two short-term Study Abroad to Kenya (June 2017 & Jan 2020).
  •  Initiated and facilitated signing of Memorandum of Understanding between Clarke University and Mount Kenya University in Kenya that was officially signed in June 2016
  • Publications

    Gatua, M. W., Lu, Y., & Gitau, P. (2016). Assessment of school needs for low-achieving students: primary school teachers and administrators’ perspectives towards Students’ learning in public schools in Kenya. Journal of Global Research in Education & Social Science, 7(1): 18-28

    Diaz Swearingen, D. C., Clarke, P.N., & Gatua, M. W. (2015). Cultural competence in rural nursing education: Are we there yet? Nursing Education Perspectives, 36 (1), 22-26

    Yu, L., & Gatua, M.W. (2014). Methodological considerations for qualitative research with immigrant populations.  The Qualitative Report, 19 (30).

    Gatua, M.W. (2014). Sailing against the wind: Voices of Kenyan adult women in U.S. post-secondary education and social-cultural contexts. Journal of Adult Learning, 25(2), 39-46.

    Boyle, D. K., Cramer, E., Potter, C., Gatua, M. W., & Stobinski, J. X. (2014). The relationship between direct care RN specialty certification and patient outcomes in surgical units. Association of PeriOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) Journal, 100 (5), 511-528.

  • Presentations

    Research Capacity Building between Kenya and the Diaspora: A Reflection on Kenya’s Education Development. Paper accepted for presentation at the Kenyan Scholars and Studies Association 2017 Annual Conference, Atlanta, Georgia, Sept 7-9, 2017.

    Gitau, M.W. (2017). Beyond Free Primary Education in Kenya: Focus on Access and Quality. Paper presented at the 7th Annual AISA International Interdisciplinary Conference in collaboration with Multimedia University of Kenya, June 27-30 2017, Nairobi, Kenya.