Rocco Cimmarusti, PhD

Visiting Assistant Professor of Social Work

Office Location: Alumni Hall 114
Telephone: 630-844-5539
Email Address:

Teaching Philosophy
Throughout my teaching career I have been focused on creating a context for student learning rather than having students navigate an obstacle course of content only for the sake of grades. I seek to inspire students to learn how to think as social workers rather than for them to learn only technical skills. I have thought about the development of my teaching style over the years and have come to think of it as having developed in stages as follows:

The first stage was to gain sufficient knowledge of content in order to gain credibility as a teacher. My style was a more hierarchical model (teacher to student) and more content focused. That wore thin for me as content became familiar and hierarchy became tedious. So I sought more. Then there came a long stage of my teaching which could best be described as entertaining the student. This was a more collaborative model (teacher with student). I enjoyed this phase and earned my reputation as a supportive teacher during it. I believe the stage I am currently in, possible only because of my confidence in content and reliance on teaching ability, seems to be teaching within a co-creation model (teacher and student). I now teach so the student is more involved with and invested in what he/she is learning. It's no longer just a class session, a unit plan or a passive experience. It's the development of a learning community where student and teacher invest in learning together. What I as the teacher bring to the classroom isn't just familiarity with content (though that's there). It isn't just a pleasant enjoyable educational experience (though that, too, is there). Today as teacher, I strive to bring to and facilitate throughout the course, the ability to learn how to learn. And if I can discern anything from evaluations of my teaching, it appears that students feel that I am helping them experience the transformative power of learning and learning how to learn. I am personally pleased to be a part of that experience.

PhD - Jane Addams College of Social Work, University of Illinois at Chicago
MSW - Jane Addams College of Social Work, University of Illinois at Chicago
BA - Northeastern Illinois University

Areas of Specialization
Brain management
Clinical Social Work/Psychotherapy; individual, group and family therapy models
Treatment of trauma, anxiety and stress disorders

Highlights of Publications, Honors and Professional Contributions
Thirty-four years as a professional social worker with experience in clinical work, program development, program administration, research and evaluation, writing, and teaching.

More than 700 hours of advanced clinical training.

Ten years of adjunct faculty teaching experience at bachelor, master, and doctoral degree levels at various universities.

Six years as a family therapy trainer at the world renown Family Systems Program, The Institute of Juvenile Research.

Hold two professional licenses in Illinois: Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.

Author of 34 professional publications, eight of which are book chapters and 10 of which are articles published in refereed journals.

Wrote two nationally recognized curricula to be used for programs receiving family preservation and family reunification contracts from the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

Managed a statewide training program for training child welfare workers to provide services in family preservation and family reunification programs.

Created three outpatient behavioral health clinics, one school-based behavioral health clinic, and two behavioral health research and training institutes.

Awarded more than $1,000,000 in fundraising and successful grant writing, including funding of my dissertation.

Thirty years as a field instructor for various educational institutions.

Funded and organized a three-night, four-day day trip to Disney World, Orlando, Florida, for 14 intellectually disabled, mentally ill, child welfare-involved adolescent females in residential care and 16 of their staff.