Faculty & Staff

Michael LaSala, Director of the DSW Program


Michael C. LaSala, PhD, LCSW is associate professor at the School of Social Work at Rutgers University and has been a practicing psychotherapist and teacher/trainer for 30 years. His research and clinical specialties are the couple and family relationships of gay men and lesbians.  Dr. LaSala’s book entitled: Coming out, coming home: Helping families adjust to a gay or lesbian child (Columbia University Press) describes the findings and practice implications of a National Institute of Mental Health funded qualitative study of 65 gay and lesbian youth and their families.  Other examples of Dr. LaSala’s work can be found in 30 journal articles and his blog for Psychology Today (www.psychologytoday.com/blog/gay-and-lesbian-well-being). Dr. LaSala is a much sought after speaker on gay and lesbian couple and family issues and has recently presented workshops, keynotes, and plenaries in Sweden, Canada, Finland, Estonia, Italy, and throughout the U.S.. Further information on Dr. LaSala’s work can be found on his website, drmichaellasala.com

Miriam Jaffe, DSW Writing Program Instructor

Miriam Jaffe-FogerMiriam Jaffe is a developer of and Instructor in the Writing Program for the DSW at Rutgers University. She previously was Assistant Director of the Writing Program at Rutgers University, and ran the Plangere Writing Center, serving struggling populations of readers and writers at the undergraduate and graduate level through course design and evaluation. She holds a PhD in 20th Century American Literature based in Cultural Theory and Ethnic Studies and a dual certification in Composition. She focuses on issues of life-writing and autoethnography in literature, and her composition pedagogy concentrates on issues of close-reading, connective thinking, and analysis that makes use of textual evidence and various theoretical frameworks. In 2008, Rutgers recognized her with the Outstanding Teacher Award.

Becca Klaver, DSW Writing Program Instructor

beccaBecca Klaver holds a PhD in English from Rutgers, where she completed a dissertation entitled “Include Everything: Contemporary American Poetry and the Feminist Everyday.” She also attended University of Southern California (BA), where she studied screenwriting, creative writing, gender studies, and Spanish, and Columbia College Chicago (MFA), where she studied poetry writing. While teaching in the Rutgers English Department, she received the Outstanding Contributions to the Rutgers Writing Program by a Teaching Assistant Award. As a poet, Becca is the author of the collection LA Liminal (2010), and her second book, Empire Wasted, will be published in the fall of 2016. Her poems explore pop culture, gendered identity, American cultural narratives, and physical &vs. digital life. She has also published scholarly articles, reviews, essays, and short stories, and has a background as a literary journal and small press editor. Current projects include co-editing the multimedia ebook Electric Gurlesque, an anthology of women’s poetry, and co-hosting the podcast The Real Housewives of Bohemia.

Nicholas J. West, Instructional Designer

nwest150-2Nicholas J. West is the Rutgers DSW Program’s Instructional Designer & Program Coordinator. Nicholas is an operations strategist, a web developer, and a native mobile application developer who currently specializes in JavaScript, ReactJS, & React Native. Nicholas is also a graphic designer and avid musician who co-founded the New Jersey chapter of Classical Revolution. His current research interests include Human-Computer Interaction, digital consciousness, dissociation, modern journalism, and Brazilian music.

Former Faculty Administration:

Jerry Floersch, Founding Director of the DSW Program

Jerry FloerschJerry Floersch, Associate Professor, Rutgers University School of Social Work, is a 1998 graduate of the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration. After earning the masters degree in social work from the University of Kansas, he worked as a social worker in drug and alcohol, hospital, mental health, and community settings. He administered a mental health crisis service and played a key role in developing and implementing housing policies and programs for the adult severely mentally ill. He is the author of Meds, Money, and Manners: The Case Management of Severe Mental Illness, published by Columbia University Press (2002), where, utilizing ethnographic and socio-historical methods, he examined the rise of community support services, the rise of the case manager and case management, and the limits of management models in providing services. He is a recent NIMH K08 recipient (2004-2009) for training in and development of qualitative methods to study youth subjective experience of psychotropic treatment. His work on psychotropic treatment focuses on the meanings adolescents and young adults make of their medication treatment, including social and psychological ‘side effects.’ In 2008, he was recipient of a Case Western Reserve University Presidential Research Initiative award, where as the PI, he led a two-year investigation of college student use of mental health services, including psychiatric medications. His new book, with Jeffrey Longhofer and Paul Kubek, On Having and Being a Case Manager, builds on earlier work in this field by exploring a clinical method for case management practice.  He is currently conducting a multisite study of college student use of psychiatric medications.  He has a new book under contract with Oxford University Press: Qualitative Methods for Practice.

Jeffrey Longhofer, Founding Head of DSW Curriculum

Jeff LonghoferJeffrey Longhofer (Ph.D., 1986, Anthropology, University of Kansas; MSW, 2002, Smith College School for Social Work) is an associate professor of social work at Rutgers University.  He is a clinical social worker and applied anthropologist whose research focuses on health and mental health practice, the cross-cultural study of mental illness, mental health case management, and the roles stigma and shame play in the social and psychological dynamics of practitioner/patient interactions. His work is aimed at understanding the multi-level sites where chronic mental and physical illness intersect to produce biographical disruptions, narrative reconstructions, renegotiated senses of selfhood and positive action aimed at the production of well being.  His recent ethnographic research has been in childcare settings and among children with parents suffering from life-threatening illnesses. He has worked on cultural constructions of health and illness and old age among the Mennonites, Old Order Amish, and Hutterian Brethren, and on the organizational culture and patterns of communication among cancer patients, family members, and practitioners. His research has appeared in journals including Psychiatric Services, Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry, Transcultural Psychiatry, Journal of Aging Studies, Qualitative Social Work: Research and Practice, Families, Systems and Health, Social Work and Mental Health, Ethnohistory, and Theory and Society.  He is coauthor (with Jerry Floersch and Paul Kubek) of On Being and Having a Case Manager: A Relational Method for Recovery, Columbia University Press. His second book, under contract with Oxford University Press, Qualitative Methods for Practice, looks at how qualitative methods can be used most effectively in the study of open practice systems (with Jerry Floersch and Janet Hoy). He has served as the associate editor for the Society for Applied Anthropology journal, Human Organization, and editor of the American Anthropological Association journal, Culture and Agriculture.  He serves on the editorial boards of Culture and Agriculture and the International Journal of Psychoanalysis.  He is a fellow of the Society for Applied Anthropology and a 2007 graduate of the Cleveland Psychoanalytic Center.