Laura J. Praglin

Department of Social Work
Faculty - Associate Professor of Social Work and Coordinator, Conflict Resolution Certificate Program


Social Work


Ph.D., The University of Chicago, Concentration: Religion and Human Sciences; Psychological Studies. M.A. in Social Work, Univ. of Chicago, School of Social Service Administration. M.A.R., Yale University. B.A., Connecticut College.

Research Interests

History of the Social Work Profession; Multiculturalism/Diversity; Conflict Resolution; Immigrant and Refugee Populations; Spirituality/Religion in Practice; Ethics; Community Engagement & Service-Learning

Also see Selected Publications below.

Teaching Interests

Dep't of Social Work:  Diversity and Multiculturalism; Conflict Resolution; Immigrant and Refugee Populations; Spiritual/Religious Diversity

Dep't of Philosophy and Religion & Gerontology Certificate Program: Death, Dying and Bereavement

Community Outreach Trainings: Family and Children’s Council, Waterloo, IA.  “Ethical Documentation.” Training on appropriate case documentation and confidentiality procedures for 15 staff members, March, 2012.

Pathways Behavioral Services, Waterloo. “Cultural Diversity.” Mandatory training for 55 staff members in 8 branch offices, May 2010. Iowa Board of Certification Continuing Ed. course (CEUs 2.5 hours, Racial/Ethnic Contact).


National Assn. of Social Workers (NASW-Iowa) Diversity Committee; Coordinator, Conflict Resolution Certificate Program; CSBS Rep., American Democracy Project; Ruth Anderson Scholarship Committee; National Coalition Building Institute; Field Education & Graduate Curriculum Committees; Social Work Faculty Search Committees. Formerly: Chair, Prof'l Assessment Comm. (tenure/promotion); Category IV Core Curriculum Review; MSWSA Advisor; Iowa Dialog Center Advisory Board; Academic planning committee for Dalai Lama’s visit; Co-moderator, Holocaust Commemoration services.

Selected Publications

Praglin, L.J. (in preparation).  ‘Dear Sharer of Many Problems'’: The Correspondence of Ida Cannon and Richard Clarke Cabot, 1907-1939.

Praglin, L.J., & Nebbe, L.L. (2014). Introduction to animal- and nature-assisted therapies:  A service-learning model for rural social work. Contemporary Rural Social Work, 6, 146-156.

Praglin, L.J. (2014).   “Jessie Donaldson Hodder.”  NASW HIstoric Pioneers series. Reprinted on Social Welfare History Project website at and

Praglin, L.J. (2007). Ida Cannon, Ethel Cohen, and early medical social work in Boston: The foundations of a model of culturally competent social service. Social Service Review 80,1, 27-45 (Univ. of Chicago Press).

Praglin, L.J. (2006). The nature of the “in-between” in D.W. Winnicotts concept of transitional space and Martin Buber’s das Zwischenmenschliche. Retrieved from

Praglin, L.J. (2005). Discovering the links between Jewish healing, spirituality, and modern psychology. In W. West and R. Moodley (Eds.), Integrating Cultural and Traditional Healing in Counseling and Psychotherapy (pp. 170-181). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Praglin, L.J. (2004). Spirituality, religion, and social work: An effort toward interdisciplinary conversation. Social Thought: Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Social Work  23,4, 67-84.

VanWormer, K., and Praglin, L.J. (2003). Restorative justice programs to meet female offender needs. In A. Roberts (Ed.), Critical Issues in Crime and Justice (2d ed., pp. 395-407). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Praglin, L.J. (2002). Death, dying and bereavement. In Kropf, N. P., & Tompkins, C. J. (2002). Teaching aging: syllabi, resources, & infusion materials for the social work curriculum. Alexandria, VA: Council on Social Work Education.

Praglin, L.J. (1999). The Jewish healing tradition in historical perspective. The Reconstructionist 63, 6-15. Reprinted in H.E. Person (Ed.), The mitzvah of healing: an anthology of Jewish texts, meditations, essays, personal stories, and rituals (pp. 3-15). New York: UAHC.

Praglin, L.J. (1992). God and theodicy in Peter Berger’s Sacred Canopy and in Arthur Cohen’s Tremendum: Implications for post-Holocaust social science and theology. In F. Tebbe (Ed.), Church Divinity (pp. 106-22). Notre Dame, IN: Graduate Theological Foundation.  First place award, Graduate Theological Foundation, National Essay Context, 1989.

Selected Awards and Honors:

University of Northern Iowa: Provost’s Award for Service-Learning, 2010

University of Minnesota, Social Welfare History Archives, C. Chambers Travel Fellowship, 2009

Niagara Foundation & Iowa Dialog Center Award for “outstanding efforts in guidance for the Iowa  Dialog Conference and continuing contributions in promoting interpersonal, intercultural and  interfaith dialogue,” 2009.

Harvard University, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Schlesinger Library for the History of  Women in America, Cambridge, MA. 2008-09 and 2003-04 research grants.

Courses Taught

Conflict Resolution

Diversity and Difference

Human Behavior in the Macro Social Environment

Working with Immigrant and Refugee Populations

Spiritual Diversity in Social Work Practice

Dying and Bereavement

MSW Practicum Seminars and Faculty Field Liaison.


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