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Darla Coffey

Darla Spence Coffey, PhD, MSW

  • Senior Leadership Fellow
  • Research Interests

    Leadership, health care and policy

    Darla Spence Coffey, PhD, MSW, served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) from 2012-2022. As the national association for social work education, CSWE represents over 900 accredited undergraduate and graduate programs of professional social work. Through its programs and initiatives, CSWE promotes emerging technologies, interprofessional education, international collaboration and innovative models, pedagogies, and practices to advance social work education. As the voice of social work education, CSWE works to strengthen the position of social work within higher education, the national political environment, and in the perceptions of the general public.

    Coffey is known for her collaborative approach and made important strides to integrate social work into interprofessional networks and activities. During her time at CSWE, Coffey ensured that social work was represented at the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) and was an active member of two of the NASEM forums: the International Global Forum for Innovations in Health Professions Education and the Forum on Mental Health and Substance Abuse. Coffey served as the inaugural member-at-large on the Board of Directors of the Interprofessional Education Collaborative and provided leadership for the Federation of Associations of the Schools of the Health Professions from 2018-2022.

    Prior to her time at CSWE, Coffey was a professor of social work and associate provost at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. In that capacity, Coffey oversaw all specialized and professional accreditation processes, as well as the institutional accreditation by Middle States Commission on Higher Education. She launched the Teaching, Learning and Assessment Center, and was an inaugural member of the Advisory Board of Women in Leadership and Service. Critical to her work in this role, Coffey facilitated the first ever Campus Climate Survey, which led to numerous efforts across campus to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion for all members of the campus community.

    Coffey began her career as a social worker, working in several different settings, including child welfare, juvenile justice, psychiatric, substance abuse, and domestic violence. She received her Bachelor of Social Work from Eastern University, her Master of Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania, and her doctoral degree from Bryn Mawr College Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research.

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