Faculty & Staff


Dr. Alex Espadas

Assistant Professor
RB 312 (Rochester)

Alex joined the faculty in 2018, and he works on the Rochester campus. He earned a BS in psychology, with a minor in sociology from the University of Houston, and a MSW and PhD in social work from the University of Houston.

Alex’s has conducted and published research on access to mental health services and recidivism and cultural pathways to mental and healthcare services. He has extensive social work practice experience working with clients with opiate and other drug use concerns, inpatient clients with severe and persistent mental illness, and community advocacy among immigrant and international communities.


Dr. Ruth Charles

Professor & IVE Coordinator
Maxwell 269

Ruth has an MSW and PhD from Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York.

Ruth’s central interests are policy analysis, qualitative research methods and work on trauma informed care. Ruth is a Master Trainer and Certified Presenter for ACE Interface, which trains and presents research on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE).

Ruth’s activism and social justice has her involved in local community planning/implementation on trauma informed care and legislative analysis. Ruth coordinates the IV-E Child Welfare program that focuses on preparing BSW social workers to work in foster care.


Dr. Cathleen Jo Faruque

Maxwell 273

Cathy has been with the WSU Social Work Department since 1997. Cathy served as Coordinator of the Rochester Social Work Program from 1997-2004, Field Director of the Department of Social Work from 2004-2009 and Chair of the Department from 2009-2018.

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. Cathy is an Licensed Independent Social Worker in the state of Minnesota. She is a Board Certified Professional Counselor and Certified Fellow and Diplomate with the American Psychotherapy Association.

Her academic interests are primarily focused in mindfulness-based stress reduction, environmental social work, international social work, religion and spirituality in social work, trans-cultural practice, institutional discrimination, racism and homelessness.

Her 17 years of practice experience is predominately in mental health, homelessness and work with older persons. She has published several books and journal articles. Cathy produced a documentary on trans-cultural practice and poverty in Bangladesh and is also a published poet. Currently, Cathy is developing a non-profit to provide low-cost continuing education for social work professionals.


Dr. Arlen Carey

Associate Professor
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 during which time he earned an MSW and conducted and published research in the areas of demography, inequality, and social theory. He has extensive social work practice experience as a trauma therapist and remains active in that field.


Mary Kirk

Instructor & Rochester Field Coordinator
Maxwell 265 & ST130

Mary began teaching at Winona State University in the spring of 2014. She has held appointments in both the Child Advocacy Studies program and the Social Work Department. Mary will be serving as the Rochester campus BSW program Field Coordinator in Fall 2018.

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. Mary is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker in 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 resiliency, social work pedagogy, child development, child welfare, play therapy, women/gender studies, poverty and international social work.


Dr. Jay Palmer

Associate Professor
Maxwell 275

Jay joined the faculty in 2007. He received an AS in Health Science in 1985 and worked as a psychiatric nurse before earning a BS in Human Services from California State University Fullerton in 1992. Jay received an MSW from California State University Long Beach in 1995, and a PhD in Social Work at the University of South Carolina 2009.

His social work practice experience includes the areas of HIV/AIDS, homelessness, gang involved youth, mental health, and persons with developmental disabilities. As a board member, Jay has worked with organizations that support LGBTQ persons, and ones that address sexual assault and intimate partner violence.


Dr. Oswald Shanalingigwa

Associate Professor & Department Chair
ST 134 (Rochester)

Oswald joined the faculty in 2009. Oswald will start his appoint as Department Chair in Fall 2018. 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 families while working with the government in Tanzania. Other experiences include 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 is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) in Minnesota. Oswald’s central interests are cross-cultural studies, mental health, refugee issues, child welfare and global justice.


Dr. Jessica Tye

Assistant Professor
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, child welfare services, 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, child welfare, and MSW program development.


Dr. Anne Vande Berg

Assistant Professor & Field Director
Maxwell 260

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 completed her Doctorate of Social Work from the University of St. Thomas/St. Catherine University in May 2017. She is a Licensed Independent Social Worker in the state of Minnesota and has over 17 years of professional experience in social services, with seven years post-graduate direct practice experience.

Anne's practice areas and interests include trauma-informed practices, interprofessional education, children and families in education settings and nonprofit management.


Dr. Charissa Eaton

Professor & Program Coordinator
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 and ethics.


Lori Moe

Office Manager
Maxwell 255
507.457.2928 (fax)

Lori joined the Social Work Department at Winona State University in 2008. She is the office manager on the Winona campus for Social Work, Recreation, Tourism and Therapeutic Recreation (RTTR) and Healthcare Leadership and Administration (HLA).

She started working for the State of Minnesota in 1985 for the Department of Health. Lori worked 11 years for the Department of Corrections and joined Winona State in 1998.


Jane Applen-Anderson

Office Manager
507.529.6121 (fax)

Jane has been an Administrative Assistant on the Winona State University-Rochester campus since 1999. She has been with the Social Work, Accounting, Business Administration, Computer Science and ACE Departments since 2007.

Before that, Jane was the Administrative Assistant for the Undergraduate Nursing Department for 8 years. Prior to starting at WSU-R, Jane was with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Registrar’s Office.