Faculty & Staff


Dr. Arlen Carey
Associate Professor, Program Coordinator
ST 131 (Rochester)
  Arlen joined the faculty in 2004, and he works on the Rochester campus.  He earned a BA, MA, and PhD in sociology from the University of Texas at Austin. He was an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Central Florida in Orlando for seven years, during which time he conducted and published research in the areas of demography, inequality and social theory. His academic interests include inequality and child welfare.
Dr. Ruth Charles
Maxwell 269
  Ruth has an MSW and PhD from Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York. Ruth’s central interests are policy analysis and qualitative research methods. The current welfare reform is of crucial interest as it affects how we all do our work. Ruth’s activism and social justice has her involved in grant writing and local community planning/implementation with welfare reform. Other areas of interest are women/gender studies, multi-cultural issues, international social welfare policy and developing internet knowledge for policy work.
Sarah Collins
Maxwell 264
  Sarah Migas Collins joined the faculty at Winona State University in 2013. Sarah taught in the Child Advocacy Studies program for three years before teaching in the Social Work Department. Sarah has appointments in both the Social Work Department and Child Advocacy Studies program. She received her B.A. from Marquette University, her MSW from Dominican University. Sarah is currently pursuing her DSW at the St. Catherine University-University of St. Thomas School of Social Work. Her dissertation is examining student perceptions of interdisciplinary education and collaboration. Sarah was also an adjunct professor at Dominican University in the Graduate School of Social Work. Sarah spent 6 years working for the Office of the Illinois Attorney General where she co-authored Cyber Safety Survey: The Results and Cyberbullying: A Student Perspective. Additionally, Sarah has worked both locally and globally on human trafficking and child welfare. Her interests include child welfare, parenting education, human trafficking, international social work, interdisciplinary collaboration and education, women/gender studies, and the impact of technology on children and families. 
Dr. Charissa Eaton
Associate Professor
Maxwell 267
  Charissa joined the faculty in 2010. She has an MSW from the University of North Dakota and a PhD from the University of Minnesota, School of Social Work. Charissa is a Licensed Independent Social Worker in Minnesota. Her practice experience includes geriatric case management, dialysis social work, hospital social work, and administration. Charissa’s academic and research interests are aging, medical social work, healthcare policy and mixed methods research.
Dr. Cathy Faruque
Professor, Department Chair
Maxwell 140

  Cathy is the Chair of the Social Work Department. Cathy has a BS in Sociology from Winona State University and an MSW from San Diego State University. She has her PhD in Psychology from North Central University. Her academic interests are primarily focused in international social work, religion and spirituality in social work, trans-cultural practice, institutional discrimination, racism and homelessness. She has published several books and a documentary on trans-cultural practice and poverty in the developing world.
Rebekah Kirgis
ST 134 (Rochester)
  Rebekah joined the department in 2015 as a sabbatical replacement.  She has her BS from Winona State University and her MSW from the University of New England.  Prior to joining the department, she was a social worker with a non-profit in the Rochester area in collaboration with Olmsted County Child Protection.  She worked closely with families in crisis as they created safety plans for their children.  Rebekah taught a parenting class based on the Incredible Years, was co-facilitator of an anger management group for men and co-facilitated a girls group for skills building.  Rebekah has been trained on the Native American process of Circle.  She has been a Keeper for many Circles in her area.  While in the field Rebekah presented at international conferences organized by the American Humane Association and KEMP.  She also presented at several Minnesota state run conferences.  Rebekah’s passion is education and developing thoughtful, mindful social workers who creatively think outside of the box as they work side by side with their clients. 
Mary Kirk
  Mary began teaching at Winona State University in the spring of 2014.  She has appointments in both the Social Work department and Child Advocacy Studies program.  Mary has a B.A. in Sociology from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and an MSW from the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa.  She is currently a doctoral student in the DSW program at St Catherine University and University of St Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. Her prior work experience includes school social work, medical social work, homelessness services, mental health advocacy, parenting education and clinical work with children and families.  Her academic interests include poverty, child welfare, child development, play therapy, women/gender studies, international social work, and immigration/refugee services. 
Dr. Robert Jay Palmer
Associate Professor
Maxwell 139
  Jay joined the faculty in 2007. He has a BS in Human Services from California State University Fullerton, an MSW from California State University Long Beach, and earned his PhD at the University of South Carolina. His social work practice includes the areas of HIV/AIDS, homelessness, mental health, GLBTQ youth and persons with developmental disabilities. Jay’s academic and research interests center around pedagogy and the development of critical thinking and professional expertise.
Dr. Oswald Shanalingigwa
Associate Professor
ST 134 (Rochester)
  Oswald joined the faculty in 2009. He has a BA in Sociology from the University of Dar-es-salaam, Tanzania and a MSW and PhD from University of Minnesota. His prior work experience is in the area of children and women while working with UNICEF, Tanzania. Adult mental health while working as a case manager and later as Program Director for Adult Mental Health Rehabilitative Service in the twin cities. Oswald’s central interests are on cross cultural studies, social welfare in global context, child welfare, mental health, global justice movements and ecological crisis. 
Dr. Jessica Tye
Assistant Professor, Field Coordinator (Rochester)
ST 129 (Rochester)
  Jessica joined the faculty in 2011 on the Rochester campus. She earned an Ed.D. from St. Cloud State in Higher Education Administration, a Masters of Social Work from the University of St. Thomas/College of St. Catherine, and Bachelors in social work and psychology from Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa. Jessica is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker in Minnesota. Her social work practice experience includes chemical dependency treatment, grant administration, and gender specific case management. Jessica’s academic and research interests are college student mental health, faculty intentions to refer students to counseling, alcohol and drug addiction, and child welfare.

Anne Vande Berg
Assistant Professor, Field Director
Maxwell 266

  Anne joined the Social Work Department at Winona State University in July 2013. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Cultural Anthropology from Macalester College in 1988 and her MSW from the University of Minnesota in 1999, where she was also a Title IV-E Child Welfare Fellow. She is a Licensed Independent Social Worker in the state of Minnesota and has 17 years of professional experience in social services, with seven years post-graduate direct practice experience. Anne also served as the Site Coordinator and Field Liaison for the University of Minnesota's distance MSW program in Rochester, MN, where she also taught several courses in the program as well. Anne's practice areas and interests include children and families in education settings, child welfare and ICWA, and nonprofit management.


Winona Campus

Lori Moe
Office Manager
Maxwell Hall 255
507.457.2928 (Fax)

 Rochester Campus

Jane Applen-Anderson
Administrative Assistant
ST 128
507.529.6121 (Fax)