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Elizabeth Lightfoot

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Director; Foundation Professor
Faculty w/Admin Appointment, DTPHX Campus, Mailcode 3920

Elizabeth Lightfoot is director and Foundation Professor at the Arizona State University School of Social Work. Lightfoot’s research centers on disability policy and services, with a focus on the intersections of disability with child welfare, aging, disparities, and abuse. She has recently completed several projects investigating the interactions of parents and children with disabilities in the child welfare system and her research findings have been used as evidence the creation of national policies involving disability.

She also has been involved in several ongoing community based participatory research partnerships related to the development of strengths or asset-based interventions targeting immigrant and refugee health, particularly for those from East Africa.  

Before coming to ASU, she was the Global Distinguished Professor at the University of Minnesota School of Social Work for 23 years. At Minnesota she directed the PhD Program for 15 years, developed new MSW tracks in community practice, international social work, and health, disability and aging, and established an MSW field placement in Namibia. She also has been a Fulbright Scholar for sabbatical years in both Namibia and Romania and has a new faculty development project in Kazakhstan through the US Embassy.

She is a member of the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare, has received the Group for the Advancement of Doctoral Education’s Educational Leadership award, and has received university and college wide awards for international engagement, educational leadership, and teaching. She has served as the President of the Group for the Advancement of Doctoral Education in Social Work and has been on the board of both the Society for Social Work and Research and the Council of Social Work Education.

She enjoys teaching doctoral classes in research methods and policy and MSW courses in disability, policy and macro practice, she has advised 25 PhD students, and she has mentored students and faculty around the world.  

  • Ph.D.  Public Policy (Joint Program). O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs and the Department of Poltiical Science, Indiana University.
  • M.S.W.  Social Work (Human Services Management). School of Social Work, University of Minnesota.
  • B.S.  Multidisciplinary Studies. (Philosophy, Sociology, Psychology, Religious Studies, Spanish), Santa Clara University.