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Susan Cole

Emerita Professor

headshot of Susan Cole


(217) 244-5231

School of Social Work
1010 W. Nevada St.
Urbana, IL 61801

What I Do

After a 25-year professional career in education and social work that included clinical social work practice, program development, evaluation, and research, Dr. Cole joined the School of Social Work at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign as an assistant professor in 2001. She was promoted to the rank of associate professor with tenure in 2008. Her career has included development and evaluation of such programs as the Adolescent PKU Program, PKU-Clinic, the University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor; the behavioral health program in the Human Services Department, Ministry of Health, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Majuro, Marshall Islands; the Peer Education Program, Hawaii State Department of Health and Department of Education; and development, implementation, and evaluation of the outpatient social work and behavioral health programs for recent immigrants and homeless, severe and persistently mentally ill served at the Kalihi-Palama Health Center, Honolulu, Hawaii.


Dr. Susan Cole received her bachelor’s degree from Marygrove College, Detroit, MI in 1968, her MSW from the School of Social Work at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in 1983, and her PhD in social welfare from the Mandel School of Applied Social Science, Case Western Reserve University, in 2001.


Dr. Cole is recognized for her research into factors affecting attachment relationships between infants and foster caregivers and psychosocial factors affecting foster caregivers. She is also recognized for her work evaluating crisis nursery interventions for the six nurseries throughout the state of Illinois. An evaluation of the outcomes of Project Return, Springfield, IL, on recidivism of women with families returning from prison is her current focus.

Her research interests include factors affecting attachment relationships of infants in foster care, psychological attributes of foster caregivers, and empirical evaluation of crisis nursery services and volunteer prison reentry services for women. Dr. Cole’s clinical practice focus is with infants, children and adolescents, clinical practice with groups, and diversity issues in clinical practice.

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