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Portrait of Mary Gitau

Mary Gitau, Ph.D.

Assistant 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 for the University of Wyoming Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing as a project director for a HRSA funded project. Specific to the social work profession, I worked for the UW’s Division of Social Work from 2007-14 both as a graduate teaching assistant and a part-time lecturer teaching various courses in the social work curriculum that included: Social Work Practice with Communities & Organizations; Introduction to Social Work; Human Behavior in the Social Environment; and International Social Work & Social Development. Other related experience includes serving as president of policy council for the Laramie Head Start Program and as a volunteer social worker at Laramie Downtown Clinic, a free primary health care (non-emergency) for acute and chronic conditions for Albany County residents.

Research Interests

  • Multicultural/diversity issues
  • cultural competencies
  • community developments and disparities in educational access
  • International social work
  • Global social justice issues

Courses Taught

  • Social Work Practice with Community and Organizations
  • Domestic Violence
  • Social Work Research I & II
  • Diversity and Privilege;
  • Advanced Issues in Social Work (Global Issues)

Certifications and Memberships

  • Board of Directors for Multicultural Family Center (2015-2018)
  • Chair- Clarke Multicultural Issues Committee (2016-2017)
  • Co-Chair-Dr. Martin Luther King 2017 Tribute Contest for Dubuque Schools
  • Kenya Scholars and Studies Association (3 years)

Additional Details

  • International Social Work where I have engaged social work students in projects to support rural women in Kenya living in a poor and marginalized community to acquire job skills and training fundraising project in collaborating with a community development agency based in Kenya.
  • Organized and facilitated 3 & 4rd Annual Conference for 110 Elementary School Teachers in Rural Public Schools in Nyeri County, Kenya
  • Conducted  2 hour training workshop with Faculty Members in the College of Education & College of Social Sciences at Mount Kenya University, Kenya on a topic: “Preparing students to work effectively in cross-cultural contexts”, June 30th, 2016.
  • Conducted 2 hour training workshop with Students in the College of Social Sciences at Mount Kenya University, Kenya on a topic: “Enhancing critical thinking”, June 30th, 2016.
  • 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

    Panelist: Vision, Mindset and Legacy of Selected Mothers from Kenya, panel discussion at the Kenyan Scholars and Studies Association 2016 Annual Conference, The Atlanta Marriott Marquis, Atlanta, GA, Sept 8-11, 2016


    Presenter: Empowering Rural Primary School Teachers through Professional Workshops. Kenyan Scholars and Studies Association 2016 Annual Conference, Atlanta, GA, Sept 8-11, 2016.

    Keynote Address Speaker: University of Dubuque 2016 Faculty Day, May 17, 2016 on a topic “Benefits Campus Diversity and Internationalization: Understanding International Students’ Culture”

    Facilitator of the Dialogue, Bridging the Gap: A Conversation on the Black Diaspora in America (Sponsored by University of Dubuque Multicultural Student Engagement Office & Black Student Union (BSU) & February 3rd, 2016

    Presenter: Pursuit of Academic Excellence, Girls Mentorship Program, a Collaborative program organized by Karatina University, Kenya and 7 Girls Boarding High Schools in Mathira East-Sub County Educational District, Karatina, Kenya, July 11, 2015.