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Dana Branson, PhD, LCSW

Director of Field/ Assistant Professor
Social Work
Office:  Brandt 324

Curriculum Vitae
For success in daily life--Work hard first, play second.

What area do you teach?

Social Work


Ph.D. in Psychology from Northcentral University in 2011, received Master of Social Work (child and family emphasis) from the University of Kansas in 1995, and completed undergraduate work at Southwest Baptist University, obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Sociology, with a minor in Counseling in 1993.

Your philosophy of teaching:

As a student, I had tremendous respect and admiration for my professors. Those I remember most were interesting and energetic lecturers, as well as approachable and personable. Therefore, I attempt to be the type of teacher that I enjoyed in the classroom. As a social work instructor, my three main objectives are: 1) to facilitate an appreciation for the discipline of social work and its application to the planned change process, 2) to instill and advance a life-long passion for social advocacy for those who lack privilege, and 3) to enhance self-awareness of personal bias and enhance core competencies of social work practice. I love social work--the discipline, the work, and the people in the social work circles. I hope my teaching conveys this to students and I desire to pass a bit of my passion on to others.

Why did you decide to teach?

I have dreamed of being a college professor since I was in college. I was positively impacted by the time and instruction that was poured into me by my professors and I wanted to do that for others someday. Additionally, I enjoy the opportunity to be a life-long learner. Teaching forces me to stay on top of social work topics, read, research, and write. This allows me to give back to the profession through students and scholarly production. I also enjoy college students and supporting their educational path and challenges along the way.

Credentials/career path

After completing my master's degree in social work, I moved to Chicago, IL for 1.5 years where I worked with adolescent males in a residential treatment facility. These young men were almost exclusively from Cook County, IL, gang-affiliated, and all of them were involved in the Department of Corrections. I served as the cottage therapist. It was a wild time and an amazing learning opportunity. I then moved back to Missouri and worked at Missouri Baptist Children's Home in East Prairie, MO for 1 year as a residential therapist. This was another learning opportunity with new challenges. I then moved to Family Counseling Center in Cape Girardeau, MO and provided substance abuse treatment services for the next 19 years to adult women on a residential basis and outpatient services to adolescents. I began as an adolescent therapist, moved to diagnostician, and ended as the assistant program director. In August 2016, I started teaching at Southeast Missouri State University in the Department of Social Work full-time. Being hired at Southeast has been an aspiration for a long time and I am delighted to be part of the university community.

Professional Highlight

With all sincerity; being hired as an assistant professor at Southeast is one of my biggest professional highlights.

Involvement in international social work in Ireland, Belarus, and Brazil


The Heart of Social Work Award
Clinical Social Worker of the Year

Organization with which you are involved

National Association of Social Workers (NASW), Missouri Credentialing Board (MCB)
Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)
American Psychological Association (APA)
International Association of Trauma Professionals (IATP)
Missouri Credentialing Board (MCB)

Most Recent/Notable Published Work

Along with Monica Bixby-Radu, PhD, we recently published: Do qualitative researchers experience vicarious trauma? And, does it matter? Journal of Sociology and Social Work.

Best advice for students

For academic success—GO TO CLASS!!!! Make every effort to be in class, be engaged with what is being presented, and awake (seriously—get some source of caffeine, gum, thumb-tacks, whatever it takes). There are important nuggets of information you cannot get from the textbook or a classmate’s notes.

If you are struggling, please come talk to us—and the sooner the better!! As instructors, we are highly vested in your success. We desperately want to assist you and see you succeed…but you have to meet us half way. Do not be intimidated by our degrees or titles. Although we might be a bit eccentric, we really are just regular people…we just have lots of books!

For success in daily life--Work hard first, play second.

Be grateful and thankful for everything—no matter what, there is always someone else out there that is struggling more than you!!

And last, but not least: Never underestimate the power of a nap—you’ll be amazed at how a nap can change your outlook on life and current situation.


Brandt 329
Department of Criminal Justice, Social Work and Sociology
One University Plaza, MS 7950
Cape Girardeau, Missouri 63701