The Catholic University of America


Linda Plitt Donaldson, Ph.D.
Associate Professor

Phone: 202 319 5478


Ph.D., Social Work, Catholic University of America, National Catholic School of Social Service, Organizational Factors as Correlates of Nonprofit Human Service Agency Advocacy Behavior in Washington, D.C.

M.S.W., Social Work, University of Maryland at Baltimore, Community Organizing and Social Administration

B.S., Decisions and Information Science, University of Maryland

Areas of Specialty: Community organizing and development, policy analysis and advocacy, homelessness, nonprofit administration, program development, and grassroots leadership development.

Research Interests: nonprofit human service agency advocacy; advocacy and social change practice; social change leadership development within grassroots communities and human service agencies; asset-based community development; and strategies to end homelessness.

Professional Experience:

Dr. Donaldson began her faculty position at NCSSS in 2004, bringing extensive experience in nonprofit social service management. Prior to teaching at NCSSS, Dr. Donaldson worked for ten years in a community-based homeless services agency in Washington, D.C, providing direct service, directing programs in advocacy, social justice, family services, and developing affordable housing. Prior to her nonprofit experience, Dr. Donaldson was a Legislative Fellow for the late Senator Paul Wellstone. Dr. Donaldson continues to maintain a small consulting practice to train and develop the advocacy and social change capacity of human service agencies and grassroots communities.

Selected Publications:

Donaldson, L.P. & Daughtery, L. (in press). Introducing asset-based models of social justice into service learning: A social work approach. Journal of Community Practice.

Donaldson, L.P., Early, B.P., & Wang, M. (2009). Toward building a culture of strengths in U. S.
M.S.W. Programs. Advances in Social Work, 10(2), 211-229. 

Fullerton, C., Gifford, R., Flynn, B., Peterson, K., Ahearn, F., Donaldson, L.P., Ursano, R. (2009). The effects of the 2002 sniper attacks on the homeless in Washington, D.C. Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness, 3(3), 163-167.

Donaldson, L.P., Ahearn, F., Fullerton, C., Gifford, R., & Flynn, B. (2009). Resiliency among people who were homeless during the sniper attacks of October 2002. Journal of Poverty, 13(1), 20-39.

Donaldson, L.P. & Shields, J. (2009). Development of the policy advocacy behavior scale: Initial reliability and validity, Research on Social Work Practice, 19, 83-92.

Donaldson, L.P. (2008). Toward integrating Catholic social teaching with graduate social work education, Journal of Catholic Higher Education, 27(1), 33-49 

Donaldson, L. P. (2008). Developing a progressive advocacy program within a human services agency, Administration in Social Work, Volume 32, 3, 25-47.

Donaldson, L. P. (2008) Review of the book Consensus Organizing: Building Communities of Mutual Self-Interest. For the Journal of Community Practice, 16, 1.

Donaldson, L. P. (2007). Advocacy by nonprofit human services: Organizational factors as correlates to advocacy behavior. Journal of Community Practice, 15, 3, 139-158.

Manderscheid, R. & Donaldson, L. (Eds). (2007). Community mental health collaboratives from Michigan to China. [Special Issue]. International Journal of Mental Health, 15, 3.

Donaldson, L. P. (2006) Review of the book Confronting Oppression Restoring Justice: From Policy Analysis to Social Action. Social Thought, 25, 1, 107-109.

Donaldson, L. P. (2006). Evaluating community organizing. In Immigrant-led organizers in their own voices: Local realities and shared visions. Washington: Catholic Legal Immigration Network.

Donaldson, L. P. (2005). Collaboration strategies for reforming systems of care: A toolkit for community-based action. International Journal of Mental Health, 34, 1, 90-102.

Donaldson, L. P. (2004). Toward validating therapeutic benefits of empowerment-oriented social action groups. Social Work with Groups, 27, 2/3, 159-175.

Selected Presentations:

"Developing a Progressive Advocacy Program in Human Services." for the NASW-DC Metro Annual Conference, March 2009.

"Pre-Conference Intensive on Compulsive Hoarding" for the NASW-DC Metro Annual Conference, March 2009.

"Catholic Social Teaching and Asset-Based Community Development: An Integrated Model for Teaching Generalist Social Work Community Practice" for the North American Association of Christian Social Workers Conference, February 9, 2008.

"University-Community Agency Research Partnerships: Connecting the Ivory Tower with the People" for the CSWE Annual Program Meeting, October 29, 2007.

"Building on the Strengths of Social Work Practice to Advocate for Health Care Policy Change." For the Society for Social Work Leadership in Health Care, November 10, 2006.

"The Ethical Dimensions of Advocacy Practice for Direct Service Agencies." For the NASW-DC Metro Chapter 2005 Annual Conference.

Plitt Donaldson, L. (2004). "The Nexus Between Advocacy and Direct Service." For the 2004 Annual Conference of the Alliance for Nonprofit Management.

Courses Taught: Social Work Practice with Groups, Organizations, and Communities; Social Welfare Policy and Services I and II; Homelessness: Individual and Social Concerns; Social Planning; Community Organizing; Advanced Social Policy; and the Advanced Social Justice and Social Change Field Integrative Seminar.

Honors and Awards:

2008 Bruno Damiani Graduate Educator of the Year Award

2003 The Griffin Foundation Award for Service Excellence

Professional Memberships:

National Association of Social Workers

Association of Community Organizing and Social Administration

Council on Social Work Education

Social Work Action Alliance