School of Professional Studies

Social Work

Meet our Faculty and Staff

Full-Time Faculty


Deneen Harris M.S.W. Ph.D., Associate Professor
B.A. Criminal Justice & BSW Social Work Southern Illinois University
M.S.W. Southern Illinois University
Ph.D. University of Alabama
(203) 837-3292


Karen McLean M.S.W., Ph.D., Department Chair, Associate Professor
B.A. University of Connecticut
M.S.W. University of Connecticut School of Social Work
Ph.D. University of Connecticut School of Social Work
(203) 837-8937

April Moreira, D.S.W., L.C.S.W Assistant Professor, Field Coordinator
B.S.W. Western Connecticut State University,
M.S.W. Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service
D.S.W. Southern Connecticut State University
(203) 837-8958
Rebecca Wade-Rancourt, M.S.W., L.C.S.W, Assistant Professor
B.S.W. Western Connecticut State University
M.S.W. Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service
Sharon Young Ph.D., L.C.S.W,  Professor
B.S. University of Connecticut
M.S.W. University of Connecticut School of Social Work
Ph.D. Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service

Department Secretary

Katie Maxwell
(203) 837-8410


Adjunct Faculty

Adjunct faculty members extend the expertise of the Department and are additional learning resources for students.  The adjuncts teach part-time, and serve as field training liaisons.  They are carefully chosen from among professional social workers who are active in practice and administration.


Sean Boyle, MS.Ed. earned a bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Western Connecticut State University and an MS.Ed. from University of Bridgeport. Sean has over 14 years in child welfare experience at the Department of Children and Families. . He teaches Child Welfare -Theory & Practice.





Carolina Grijalba-Rodriguez, LMSW holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Fordham University and a B.A in Social Work from Sacred Heart University. She has over 19 years of experience in clinical, agency, and system settings. While most of her work has been in direct clinical practice, Mrs. Grijalba-Rodriguez has also developed and presented prevention trainings and curricula to educate and raise awareness on gender violence and interventions at a state and national level.  In addition, she worked as a DCF Domestic Violence Consultant and supported the Area Office staff in addressing domestic violence as it related to child abuse and/or neglect. In her current role, as the Gender-Based Violence Prevention Program Director at Center for Safer Communities, LLC; she developed and pioneered a new batterer intervention program called Changing Behaviors which meets the CT Standards as well as implemented the first Caring Dads program in CT.



Jennifer Huber, LCSW holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Connecticut, as well as a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Connecticut School of Social Work. Jennifer has 16 years experience working with children and families in clinical agency settings, as well as the public school system. Currently, she runs a private practice in Danbury, Connecticut.





Darryl A. Hugley, MSW holds a Master of Social Work in Clinical Practice, a Master of Science in Urban Studies, and a Bachelor of Science in Sociology from Southern Connecticut State University.  Additionally, he holds an Associate in Science in General Studies from Gateway Community College.  His thesis in Urban Studies is entitled, “The State of Black Nationalism in 21st Century Urban America”.  His thesis in Social Work is entitled, “Case Management as A Key to Social Work Practice”.  Against the backdrop of Social Protest Movements including, #Black Lives Matter (#BLM), Hip Hop, Black Nationalism, Black Power, and the Civil Rights Movement, Mr. Hugley’s most recent research focuses on examining how new scholarship in contemporary urban America has fundamentally altered the study of racial justice issues related to mass incarceration, quality education, ending unemployment, the impact of racial segregation, and the New Jim Crow writ large.  Mr. Hugley served as a Faculty Fellow for Manchester Community College. An avid political activist and community organizer, Mr. Hugley also served as a Commissioner for the State of Connecticut African American Affairs Commission (AAAC), the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO) Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Commission, and as an Executive Board Member for the Greater New Haven Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).  He is a member of Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. and was officially recognized in 2019 as being 100 Men of Color by the Connecticut General Assembly.  He works as a Clinical Milieu Counselor, Psychiatric Educator, and Crisis Prevention Instructor (CPI) for Yale-New Haven Psychiatric Hospital (YNHPH).



Bianca Shinn-Desras currently serves on CT State League of Women Voters Board of Directors and holds advanced degrees in school health education, public health, and urban studies from Southern Connecticut State University. Ms. Bianca Shinn-Desras has extensive experience in the field of social services, public health, and education. She previously served as Investigation Social Worker with the CT State Department of Children and Families, and Minister Counselor at the Permanent Mission of Haiti to the United Nations. She is currently the Director of Family Advocacy, Middle School program at Domus Kids.   Bianca is a Member of Charter Oak Communities Advisory Board and Member of Fairfield County Community Foundation Advisory Task Force. Bianca is a certified health education specialist and certified health education teacher.



Qur-an Webb, MSW, is the Director of Operations at Welcome 2 Reality, LLC. Qur-an has been in the social work field for over 20 years. Qur-an is the Connecticut Chapter Lead for Media Literacy Now which focuses on education around media literacy. In this role, Qur-an was instrumental in getting Public Act No. 15-94 and Public Act No. 17-67 passed in Connecticut which now mandates school systems to educate the safe use of social media and computer programming instruction and create an advisory council must be was created related to digital citizenship, internet safety, and media literacy. He also works as an independent contractor and is an adjunct instructor. Qur-an is the vice president of the Association of Black Sports Officials. In this role, Qur-an advocates for the rights of and opportunities for Black sports officials and pushes for equality among officials. He also provides training and professional development opportunities domestically and internationally for the company.


Professors Emeriti

Beatrice Nemzer, MSW, Professor Emeritus, retired in 1990 after teaching social work for 25 years.  Her areas of expertise included gerontology and generalist practice.  Professor Nemzer held a BA in Sociology from Brooklyn College and an MSW from Hunter College in New York City.  She also held a post-masters certificate in gerontology from the Hunter College Brookdale Center. Every year the Department hosts the Bea Nemzer Symposium to honor her contribution as a founding mother of our program.

Phyllis Greenfield Ross, DSW, CSW, Professor Emeritus, Dr. Ross taught at WestConn from 1993 until 2005.  She holds a bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Music from Brandeis University, a master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania and a doctorate in Social Welfare from Wurzweilzer School of Social Work, Yeshiva University.

Marjorie Steinberg, MSW, Associate Professor Emeritus, retired from full-time teaching at WCSU in 2012 following 18 years of devoted service to WCSU’s students.  She holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Mt. Holyoke College, and a master’s degree in Social Work from Fordham University School of Social Service. Ms. Steinberg has taught social work curriculum and family studies courses in undergraduate programs, and has done field advisement and coordination for graduate programs.

Rob Veneziano, MSW, Ph. D., Professor Emeritus, retired from full-time teaching at WCSU in 2013 following 13 years of joyful service to WCSU’s students.  Her served as the Department Chairperson from 2004 to 2103.  He holds a bachelor’s degree in Social Welfare from Southern Connecticut State University, a master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Connecticut, and a doctorate in Anthropology with a focus on child development and family studies. Dr. Veneziano has extensive experience in teaching in undergraduate and graduate programs.

Kathleen “Kit”  Hinga , MSW, Ph.D., Assistant Professor Emeritus, retired from full-time teaching in 2017 following 12 years of engagement with WCSU’s students and the Social Work Program. She holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from the Elms College and a master’s degree in social work from Boston University and a doctorate in Social Policy and Sociology with a focus on social change in communities and organizations. Dr Hinga taught courses at WCSU in social policy, practice with communities and organizations, practice in the field, a lab experience in community organizing and a led a study/travel student trip to Geneva on the anniversary of the signing of the UN Declaration of Human Rights. She also Coordinated the Field Internship Program from 2006 to 2012. She has extensive experience in teaching at all levels of Social Work education as well as extensive social change experience.  She received the Social Work Distinguished Faculty Award from the School of Professional Studies in 2017.

Patricia “Patti” Ivry, MSW,  Professor Emeritus, joined the Department of Social Work in 1980 and taught across the curriculum, served as Field Coordinator, Department Chair, led CSWE Accreditation renewals, and created and directed the Executive Forum, a non-profit institute on campus. She also served as Interim Dean of the School of Professional Studies, for the last 18 months of her tenure. During her long career, from which she retired in after 38 years she taught both graduate and undergraduate students, held national positions in professional organizations, leadership roles on campus, elected office locally, and she was a strong advocate on issues of social justice. Professor Ivry holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Creative Writing from Goucher College, and a Master’s Degree in Social Work with a concentration in community organizing from the University of Maryland School of Social Work. Additionally, she studied at the doctoral level in Sociology, at the City University of New York’s Graduate Center.