Noam Ostrander, PhD, LCSW joined DePaul University's Department of Social Work as an assistant professor in 2006. He received his A.M. from the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago and his Ph.D. in Disability Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Prior to joining the faculty, Dr. Ostrander worked with former gang members who sustained violently-acquired disabilities. Through his research and publications, Dr. Ostrander has developed an international reputation as an expert on gun violence, disability, and masculinity. This research is informed through Dr. Ostranders social work experience in hospitals, community agencies, and as a clinical therapist.
Above all, Dr. Ostrander values his opportunities to teach and mentor students entering the social work field. Dr. Ostrander utilizes a four-pronged approach in teaching to empower students with the skills and confidence necessary to embrace their chosen pathway. First, he encourages students to realize that they are collaborators, co-creating a learning environment through critical but respectful discourse. Second, he seeks to raise students' awareness about issues of social justice and inequality, as well as the complexities inherent in addressing these issues. By engaging in this effort, the students explore the core Vincentian question: "What must be done?" This leads to the third prong: knowledge integration. To identify, understand, and address social injustices, students must critically analyze ideas that span multiple disciplines. Finally, Dr. Ostrander seeks to understand and build on students' existing strengths. Students who enter the department's MSW program possess a host of skills and attributes that undergird all the work they will do in the program. Whether inside the classroom or in the field, Dr. Ostrander tries to tap into those skills and integrate them into the students' development as emerging social work professionals.