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Cynthia Lietz

Dean and President's Professor
Faculty w/Admin Appointment, DTPHX Campus, Mailcode 3520

Cynthia A. Lietz is dean of the Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions and President's Professor in the School of Social Work at Arizona State University. 

Lietz is a seasoned college administrator, having served in a variety of roles including associate dean, vice dean and most recently, dean of Watts College. She is proud to lead a community of faculty, staff, students and community members who are committed to working together to address challenges facing our society. The need for effective, evidence-based public service has never been more clear.

Lietz is also an active scholar who conducts research that informs strengths-based practice with youth and their families. Specifically, she applies the construct of resilience to family systems examining the ways family units cope with and grow stronger despite trauma, loss and other challenges. This includes looking at the strengths (e.g. empathy, social support, spirituality) and the adaptation process that helps young people and their families overcome adversity.

Lietz is particularly interested in the translation of research to practice. As a result, she developed Strengths-Based Supervision (SBS; Lietz, 2013), a model of clinical supervision that supports effective implementation of family-centered practice in child welfare settings. This model has been adopted by the public child welfare systems in Arizona, Michigan, Florida, Texas and Idaho, and infused into training material at several additional organizations including the Butler Institute in Colorado, and the Virginia and Arizona Chapters of the National Association of Social Workers.

Lietz is also known for her passion for student success, serving as PI for ASU’s Bridging Success program, a campus-based program of support for ASU students who have a background in foster care. She was also chosen by the Associated Students of Arizona State University for the Centennial Professor Award in 2013 to honor her commitment to teaching and community-based research. 

  • Ph.D. Arizona State University 2004
  • M.S.W. University of Illinois-Chicago 1993
  • B.A. Valparaiso University 1991
Florida Institute for Child Welfare - Podcast about Child Welfare Supervision
Research Interests: 

Family Resilience: The strengths (e.g. empathy, social support, spirituality) and coping/adaptation process through which youth and families overcome adversity.

Strengths-Based Supervision & Leadership: How leaders support effective implementation of strengths-based, family-centered practice.




  • Segal, E.A., Gerdes, K.E., Lietz, C.A., Wagaman, M.A., & Geiger, J.M. (2017). Assessing empathy: What is it and how do we measure it? New York: Columbia University Press.
  • Langer, C.L. & Lietz, C.A. (2014). Applying Theory to Generalist Social Work Practice. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Refereed Journal Articles                                                                           

  • Cheung, J.R., Lietz, C.A., Carpenter, B.M., Sitz, E., Lietz, B.C. (2021). Cultivating resilience in college students with a foster care background. Journal of Public Child Welfare, 15(2), 182-202.

  • Julien-Chinn, F.J. & Lietz, C.A. (2019). Building learning cultures in the child welfare workforce. Children and Youth Services Review, 4(1), 360-365.

  • Lietz, C.A. (2018). Infusing clinical supervision throughout child welfare practice: Advancing effective implementation of family-centered practice through supervisory processes. Clinical Social Work Journal, 46(4), 331-340.

  • Lietz, C.A., & Julien-Chinn, F.J. (2017). Do the components of Strengths-Based Supervision enhance child welfare workers’ satisfaction with supervision? Families in Society, 98(2),146-155.

  • Geiger, J.M., Cheung, J.R., Hanrahan, J.E., Lietz, C.A., & Carpenter, B.M. (2017). Increasing competency, self-confidence, and connectedness among foster care alumni entering a 4-year university: Findings from an early start program. Journal of Social Service Research.

  • Piel, M.H., Geiger, J.M., Julien-Chinn, F.J., & Lietz, C.A., (2017). An ecological systems approach to understanding social support in foster family resilience. Child and Family Social Work22, 1034-1043.

  • Lietz, C.A., Julien-Chinn, F.J., Geiger, J.M., & Piel, M.H. (2017). Cultivating resilience in foster families. Family Process.

  • Geiger, J.M., Piel, M.H, Lietz, C.A., & Julien-Chinn, F. (2016). Empathy as an essential foundation to successful foster parenting. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 25, 3771-3779.
  • Lacasse, J.R., Lietz, C.A., Hayes, M., Rider, A., & Hess, J.Z. (2016). The client experience of psychiatric medication: A qualitative study. Social Work in Mental Health, 41(1), 61-81.
  • Julien-Chinn, F. & Lietz, C.A. (2016). Permanency-focused supervision and workers' self-efficacy: Exploring the link. Social Work, 61(1), 37-44.
  • Geiger, J.M., Hanrahan, J.E., Cheung, J.R, & Lietz, C.A. (2016). Developing an on-campus recruitment and retention program for foster care alumni. Children and Youth Services Review, 61, 271-280
  • Hayes, M.J., Geiger, J.M., & Lietz, C.A. (2015). Navigating a complicated system of care: Foster parent satisfaction with behavioral and medical health services. Child & Adolescent Social Work Journal, 32(6), 493-505.
  • Lietz, C.A., Lacasse, J.R. & Cheung, J. (2015). A case study approach to mental health recovery: Understanding the importance of trauma-informed care. Ethical Human Psychiatry & Psychology, 16(3), 167-182.
  • Lietz, C.A., Hayes, M.J., Cronin, T.W., & Julien-Chinn, F. (2014). Supporting family-centered practice through supervision: An evaluation of strengths-based supervision. Families in Society, 95(4), 227- 235.
  • Geiger, J.M., Hayes, M.J., & Lietz, C.A. (2014). Providing foster care for adolescents: Barriers and opportunities. Child & Youth Services, 35(3), 237-254.
  • Hodge, D.R. & Lietz, C.A. (2014). Using spiritually modified cognitive behavioral therapy in substance dependence treatment: Therapists’ and clients’ perceptions of the presumed benefits and limitations. Health & Social Work, 39(4), 200-210.
  • Lietz, C.A., Lacasse, J.R., Hayes, M., Cheung, J. (2014). The role of services in mental health recovery: A qualitative examination of service experiences among individuals diagnosed with Serious Mental Illness (SMI). Journal of the Society for Social Work Research, 5(2), 161-188.
  • Cacciatore, J., Lacasse, J.R., Lietz, C.A., & McPherson, J. (2014). A Parent’s TEARS: Primary results from the traumatic experiences and resiliency study. Omega: Journal of Death and Dying. 68(3), 183-205.
  • Lietz, C.A. (2013). Strengths-based supervision: Supporting implementation of family-centered practice through supervisory processes. Journal of Family Strengths, 13(1).
  • Lietz, C.A., & Hodge, D.R. (2013). Incorporating spirituality into substance abuse counseling: Examining the perspectives of service recipients and providers. Journal of Social Service Research, 39(4), 498-510.
  • Lietz, C.A., Stromwall, L.K., & Carlson, B.E. (2013). Women service members and family reintegrationFamilies in Society, 94(3), 186-193.
  • Geiger, J.M., Hayes, M., & Lietz, C.A. (2013). Should I stay or should I go? A mixed methods study examining the factors influencing foster parents' decisions to continue or discontinue providing foster care. Children and Youth Services Review, 36(9), 1356-1365.
  • Carlson, B.E., Stromwall, L.K., & Lietz, C.A. (2013). Mental health issues in recently returning women veterans: Implications for practice. Social Work, 58(2), 105-114.
  • Gerdes, K.E., Geiger, J.M., Lietz, C.A., Wagaman, A.M., & Segal, E.A. (2012). Examination of known-groups validity for the Empathy Assessment Index (EAI): Differences in EAI scores between social service providers and recipients at community treatment agencies. Journal of the Society for Social Work Research, 3(2), 94-112.
  • Mullins, J., Cheung, J., & Lietz, C.A. (2012). Family preservation services: Incorporating the voice of families into service implementation. Child and Family Social Work, 17, 265-274.
  • Lietz, C.A., & Hodge, D.R. (2011). Spirituality and child welfare reunification: A narrative analysis of successful outcomes. Child and Family Social Work, 16, 380-390.
  • Lietz, C.A., Gerdes, K.E., Sun, F., Geiger, J.M., Wagaman, A.M., & Segal, E.A. (2011). The empathy assessment index (EAI): A confirmatory factor analysis of a multidimensional model of empathy. Journal of the Society for Social Work Research2(2), 104-124. 
  • Lietz, C.A. (2011). Empathic action and family resilience: A narrative examination of the benefits of helping others. Journal of Social Service Research, 37(3), 254-265. 
  • Lietz, C.A., & Strength, M. (2011). Stories of successful reunification: A narrative study of family resilience in child welfare. Families in Society, 92(2), 203-210.
  • Lietz, C.A. (2011). Theoretical adherence to family centered practice: Are strengths-based principles illustrated in families’ descriptions of child welfare services? Children and Youth Services Review, 33, 888-893.
  • Gerdes, K.E., Lietz, C.A. & Segal, E.A. (2011). Measuring empathy in the 21st century: The development of an empathy index rooted in social cognitive neuroscience and social justice. Social Work Research, 35(2), 13-16.
  • Lietz, C.A., Lacasse, J.R., & Cacciatore, J. (2011). Social support in family reunification: A qualitative study. Journal of Family Social Work, 14(1), 3-20.
  • Lietz, C.A., Andereck, K.L., & Knopf, R.C. (2010). The breakthrough series collaborative on service integration: A mixed methods study of a strengths-based initiative. Advances in Social Work, 11(2), 248-266. 
  • Gerdes, K.E., Segal, E.A., & Lietz, C.A. (2010). Conceptualizing and measuring empathy: The need for clarity and consistency. British Journal of Social Work, 40(7), 2326-2343
  • Lietz, C.A., & Zayas, L.E. (2010). Evaluating qualitative research for social work practitioners. Advances in Social Work, 11(2), 188-202.
  • Lietz, C.A. (2010). Critical thinking in child welfare supervision. Administration in Social Work, 34(1), 68-78.
  • Lietz, C.A. (2009). Examining families’ perceptions of in-home services: A mixed methods study. Children and Youth Services Review, 31, 1337-1345.
  • Lietz, C.A. & Rounds, T. (2009). Strengths-based supervision: A child welfare supervision training project. The Clinical Supervisor, 28(2), 124-140.
  • Lietz, C.A. (2009). Critical theory as a framework for decision making in child welfare: Some possibilities. The Journal of Public Child Welfare, 3(2), 190-206.
  • Lietz, C.A. (2008). Implementation of group supervision in child welfare: Findings from Arizona’s supervision circle project. Child Welfare, 87(6), 31-48.
  • Sullivan, A.L. & Lietz, C.A. (2008). Benefits and risks for public housing adolescents experiencing Hope VI revitalization. Journal of Poverty, 12(2), 133-154.
  • Lietz, C.A. (2007). Uncovering stories of family resilience: A mixed methods study of resilient families – Part II. Families in Society, 88(1), 147-155. 
  • Lietz, C.A. (2007). Strengths-based group practice: Three case studies. Social Work with Groups, 30(2), 73-87. 
  • Hodge, D.R. & Lietz, C.A. (2007). The international sexual trafficking of women and children: A review of the literature. Affilia22(2), 163-174. 
  • Langer, C.L., Lietz, C.A. & Furman, R. (2007). A model for teaching qualitative research to undergraduate social work majors. Journal of Baccalaureate Social Work, 12(2), 70-82. 
  • Lietz, C.A. (2006). Uncovering stories of family resilience: A mixed methods study of resilient families – Part I. Families in Society, 87(4), 575-582. 
  • Lietz, C.A., Langer, C.L. & Furman, R. (2006). Establishing trustworthiness in qualitative research in social work: Implications from a study regarding spirituality. Qualitative Social Work, 5(4), 441-458. 
  • Furman, R., Lietz, C.A., & Langer, C.L. (2006). The research poem in international social work: Innovations in qualitative methodology. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 5(3), 24-34.
  • Lietz, C.A. (2004). Resiliency based social learning: A strengths-based approach to residential treatment. Residential Treatment for Children and Youth, 22(2), 21-36.


  • Lietz, C.A. & Geiger, J.M. (2017): Guest editorial: Advancing a family-centered practice agenda in child welfare, Journal of Family Social Work, 20(4), 267-270.
  • Lietz, C.A. (2009). Establishing evidence for strengths-based interventions? Reflections from social work’s research conference. Social Work, 54(1), 85-87.

Book Chapters

  • Lietz, C.A. (2021). Strengths-Based Supervision. In K. O’Donoghue & L.K. Engelbrecht (Eds.), Routledge International Handbook of Social Work Supervision, (pp. 571-579). Routledge.
  • Lietz, C.A. (2020). Tracing the impact of the strengths perspective: a personal narrative. In A.N. Mendenhall & M.M. Carney (Eds), Rooted in Strengths, (pp. 149-164). University of Kansas Libraries.
  • Lietz, C.A. (2014). Child welfare supervision. In C.W. LeCroy (Ed.), Case Studies in Social Work Practice (3rd Edition) (pp. 97-106).  Hohoken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons. 
  • Lietz, C.A. & Zayas, L. (2014). Evaluating qualitative research studies. In R.Grinnell & Y. Unrau (eds.), Social Work Research and Evaluation: Foundations of Evidence-Based Practice, (10th ed.) (pp. 595-605). Oxford University Press. Chapter was adapted from Lietz, C.A., & Zayas, L.E. (2010). Evaluating qualitative research for social work practitioners. Advances in Social Work, 11(2), 188-202.
  • Lietz, C.A. (2013). Family resilience in the context of high risk situations. In D. Becvar (Ed.), Handbook of Family Resilience (pp. 153-172). Springer Publishing.
  • Segal, E.A. & Lietz, C.A. (2013). Child welfare: Working with children and their families. In E. Segal, K. Gerdes & S. Steiner, An Introduction to the Profession of Social Work: Becoming a Change Agent (4th ed.) (pp. 173-201), Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole, Cengage Learning. H
  • Hodge, D.R. & Lietz, C.A. (2010 – Reprint of an earlier article). The international sexual trafficking of women and children. In P. A. Adler & P. Adler. (Eds.) Sociological Odyssey: Contemporary Readings in Introductory Sociology (3rd ed., pp. 400-405). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage


Spring 2021
Course NumberCourse Title
CPP 294Special Topics
Fall 2020
Course NumberCourse Title
SWU 171Introduction to Social Work
Spring 2020
Course NumberCourse Title
MCO 591Seminar
Fall 2019
Course NumberCourse Title
SWU 171Introduction to Social Work
Spring 2019
Course NumberCourse Title
CPP 494Special Topics
Fall 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
SWU 171Introduction to Social Work
CPP 494Special Topics
Professional Associations: 

• National Association of Social Workers (NASW) • Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) • Society for Social Work Research (SSWR)

Graduate Faculties / Mentoring History: 

• Kalah Villagrana - Dissertation Chair • Justine Cheung - Dissertation Chair • Francie Julien-Chinn - Dissertation Chair & Doris Duke Fellowship Mentor • Megan Hayes Piel - Dissertation Chair & Doris Duke Fellowship Mentor • Jennifer Mullins Geiger - Dissertation Committee Member & Post Doc Mentor • Rebecca Hornung - Dissertation Committee Member • Breanna Carpenter - Barrett Honors Thesis Chair • Katrina Glaze - Barrett Honors Thesis Chair • Andrea Cimino - Doctoral Teaching Assistantship Advisor • Undergraduate Research Mentor (Erin Sitz, Breanna Carpenter, Claire McLoone, Airiqa Tibbs-Ramirez, Justine Cheung)

  • Fresh Start Women's Foundation, Executive Board Member (2017 to present)
  • Journal of Family Social Work, Editorial Board (2010 - 2019)
  • Nina Scholars Advisory Committee, Committee Member (2014 - 2021)
  • Recovery Empowerment Network, Board Member (2011 - 2012)
  • Child Welfare Training Institute Advisory Committee, Committee Member (2011 - 2012)