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Office Hours

M 10:00 AM-11:00 AM,03:00 PM-03:30 PM
T 09:45 AM-10:30 AM
W 01:30 PM-03:30 PM
R 09:45 AM-10:30 AM

Professor Sofka received her B.S. in psychology from the University of Illinois and her MSW and Ph.D. in social work from Washington University in St. Louis.  During her social work career, she worked in medical, mental health, and hospice settings. She became a social work educator in 1993 as has taught Introduction to Social Welfare and Social Work, various practice courses, research methods, and elective courses on death and dying and mental health. Areas of research include the use of technology in death education and grief counseling as well as how museums serve as healing spaces. 

Degree Program University
Ph.D. Social Work Washington University
M.A. Social Work Washington University
B.S. Psychology University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

My Siena Experience

My Teaching Philosophy

Everyone in the classroom should have an active role in learning.  I believe that every student has valuable ideas, experiences, and questions to contribute.  It is my job to create a partnership in learning where we can all benefit from each other's insights, wisdom, and curiosity. 

My Favorite Courses to Teach

1) SWRK 100 (Introduction to Social Welfare and Social Work) allows me to share information about the profession that I love.  Since this course meets the core social science requirement, I get to meet students from majors throughout the College whose varying opinions about social welfare lead to incredibly interesting discussions! 

2) SWRK 430 (Social Work Research)  As a self-professed "research geek", I enjoy helping students to gain an appreciation for the ways that research helps social workers to make a difference in the world (and love to receive e-mails from graduates of our program describing how the course has helped them with graduate school or in their social work practice).  

3) SWRK 466:  Death: The Final Frontier   Thanatology is an absolutely fascinating subject and I believe the world would be a much nicer place if everyone had the chance to learn how to support people who are dealing with the universal experience of loss.  

My Professional Experience

Year Title University
2013 - Now Professor of Social Work Siena College
2006 - 2006 Adjunct University of Western Ontario
2006 - 2013 Associate Professor Siena College
2005 - 2005 Visiting Assistant Professor Institute of Life and Death Education and Counseling
1999 - 2003 Visiting Assistant Professor Washington University
1999 - 2003 Visiting Assistant Professor Washington University
1999 - 2003 Visiting Assistant Professor Washington University
1998 - 2000 Visiting Assistant Skidmore College
1993 - 1998 Assistant Professor University at Albany
1989 - 1989 Medical Social Worker Carle Foundation Hospital
1989 - 1992 Psychiatric Social Worker Carle Pavilion
1988 - 1988 Intern American Association of Retired Persons
1988 - 1989 Intern Association for Gerontology in Higher Education
1986 - 1988 Research Assistant Washington University
1984 - 1985 Research Assistant University of Illinois

Current Research

My research interests include:

1) Public responses to tragedy;
2) The impact of social media on how people cope with loss;
3) The use of technology and online resources in death education and grief counseling;
4) How museums related to tragedy serve as "healing spaces".

Netiquette Regarding Digital Legacies and Delaing with Death, Tragedy, and Grief - Complied by Dr. Carla Sofka

Articles & Book Reviews

  • Hannelore Wass: The lasting impression of a death educator, scholar, mentor, and friend.
    Death Studies, vol. 39
    2015
  • Outside the box: Creative partnerships for
    Exhibitionist
    2011
  • Healing and healing: Museums as healing spaces
    International Journal of the Inclusive Museum, vol. 2
    2009
  • Days in the lives of gerontological    social workers
    Journal of Social Work in End-of-Life and Palliative Care
    2008
  • Adopting maternity: White women who adopt transracially or transnationally
    MultiCultural Review
    2004
  • Assessing loss reactions among older adults: Strategies to evaluate the impact of 9-11-2001
    Journal of Mental Health Counseling
    2004
  • What kind of funeral? Identifying and resolving family conflicts
    Generations
    2004
  • Transcommunality: From the politics of conversion to the ethics         of respect
    MultiCultural Review
    2003
  • A history of childhood: A socio-cultural survey across millennia
    MultiCultural Review
    2002
  • Shattered bonds: The color of child welfare
    MultiCultural Review
    2002
  • Trauma to trauma
    MADDVOCATE
    2002
  • For the butterflies I never chased, I grieve: Grief and loss issues of childhood sexual abuse
    Journal of Personal and Interpersonal Loss
    1999
  • Social support internetworks, caskets for sale, and more: Thanatology and the information superhighway
    Death Studies
    1997
  • Specifying the dimensions of recovery
    Sixth Annual Conference on State Mental Health Agency Services Research
    1996
  • The role of self-help in the recovery process
    Sixth Annual Conference on State Mental Health Agency Services Research
    1996
  • Treatment of complicated mourning
    Omega: Journal of Death and Dying
    1996
  • A contrasting profile: Participants and non-participants of self-help groups
    Fifth Annual Conference on State Mental Health Agency Services Research and Program Evaluation
    1995
  • Older people giving care: Helping family and community
    Journal of Social Service Research
    1995

Awards & Distinctions

  • Raymond C. Kennedy Excellence in Scholarship Award
    Category: Research
    Siena College, 2017
  •  Award for record of distinguished service to the organization.


     

    Category: Service-Professional
    Association for Death Education and Counseling, 2014

Books & Book Chapters

  • Understanding children's grief: Supporting loss and growth.
    Routledge
    2018
  • Data Collection: Methods, ethical issues, and future directions
    Nova Scotia Publishers
    2017
  • Postmortal Society
    Ashgate/Routledge
    2017
  • Supporting Bereaved Students at School

    2017
  • Promoting Social Justice in Loss and Grief
    Routledge Press
    2016
  • Living with Grief: Helping Adolescents Cope with Loss
    Hospice Foundation of America
    2014
  • The A-Z of Death and Dying: Social, Cultural, and Medical Aspects
    ABC-Clio
    2014
  • The A-Z of Death and Dying: Social, Cultural, and Medical Aspects
    ABC-Clio
    2014
  • The A-Z of Death and Dying: Social, Cultural, and Medical Aspects
    ABC-Clio
    2014
  • The A-Z of Death and Dying: Social, Cultural, and Medical Aspects
    ABC-Clio
    2014
  • Handbook of Thanatology

    2013
  • Dying, Death and Grief in an Online Universe: For Counselors and Educators.
    Springer Publishing.
    2012
  • Educating for Social Justice: Transformative Experiential Learning

    2011
  • Adolescents and Death

    2009
  • Encyclopedia of Death and the Human Experience

    2009
  • Encyclopedia of Death and the Human Experience

    2009
  • Annual book for the Hospice Foundation of America's Teleconference

    2007
  • Handbook of Thanatology

    2007
  • Case Studies in Generalist Practice

    2003
  • Grief and the healing arts: Creativity as therapy

    1999
  • Social Work Practice: Cases, activities, and exercises

    1999
  • Holiday Hope: Remembering loved ones during special times of the year

    1998
  • Catalog for the University at Albany Art Museum exhibit

    1997
  • Grieving Days, Healing Days

    1997
  • Our stories of miscarriage: Writing to heal

    1997
  • Consumer's guide to cancer resources

    1996
  • Bereavement: Helping the survivors

    1987
  • Death: Completion and discovery

    1987

Presentations

  • Digital survivor advocacy: Fighting so you may never know our pain.
    2017
    Annual Conference of the Association for Death Education and Counseling, Portland, Oregon
  • Adolescents and traumatic loss.
    June, 2014
    Hospice Foundation of America Webinar., Washington, DC, Virtual
  • Beading as a tool for coping with loss.
    June, 2014
    2014 International Conference on Grief and Bereavement, Hong Kong, China- Hong Kong
  • Teaching that matters: Classroom activities / collaborations.
    April, 2014
    Annual Conference of the Association for Death Education and Counseling, Baltimore, Maryland
  • The 921 Earthquake Museum: Survivor advocacy and healing.
    April, 2013
    Annual Conference of the Association for Death Education and Counseling, Hollywood, California
  • Beading as a tool for coping with loss.
    July, 2012
    Loss & Healing Workshop Series, Hong Kong, China- Hong Kong
  • Museums and Memorials as Healing Spaces
    July, 2012
    Loss & Healing Workshop Series, Hong Kong, China- Hong Kong
  • Beading as a tool for coping with loss.
    June, 2012
    Loss & Healing Workshop Series, Taipei, Taiwan
  • Museums and Memorials as Healing Spaces
    June, 2012
    Loss & Healing Workshop Series, Taipei, Taiwan
  • 9/11: Museums Respond.
    2011
    Researching New York 2011 Conference, Albany, New York
  • Helping adolescents with dying and grief: Death education opportunities in the public library and online.
    2011
    Annual Conference of the Association for Death Education and Counseling, Miami, Florida
  • The cultural reincarnation of Michael Jackson
    2010
    Annual Conference of the Association for Death Education and Counseling, Kansas City, Missouri
  • Adolescents and technology: Coping with loss in the digital world
    2009
    Annual Conference of the Association for Death Education and Counseling, Dallas, Texas
  • History and healing: The role of museums.
    2009
    Second International Conference on the Inclusive Museum, Brisbane, Australia- QLD
  • Museums, memory, and music: A model project for education, awareness, and fundraising.
    2009
    Second International Conference on the Inclusive Museum, Brisbane, Australia- QLD
  • Creating contemporary mourning jewelry as a strategy for coping with loss
    2007
    Annual Conference of the Association for Death Education and Counseling, Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Teaching restorative justice through a cemetery service project
    2007
    Annual Conference of the Association for Death Education and Counseling, Indianapolis, Indiana
  • What death educators have learned about death education.
    2007
    Annual Conference of the Association for Death Education and Counseling, Indianapolis, Indiana
  • A constrasting profile: Participants and non-participants of self-help groups
    1995
    Fifth Annual Conference on State Mental Health Agency Services Research, San Antonio, Texas
  • Motivation to provide mutual-help outreach: Implications of the helper-therapy principal
    1994
    16th Annual Conference of the Association for Death Education and Counseling, Portland, Oregon
  • Motivation to provide mutual-help outreach: Implications of the helper-therapy principal
    1994
    16th Annual Conference of the Association for Death Education and Counseling, Portland, Oregon
  • The first amendment vs. private grief: Conflict between the Constitution and compassion
    1993
    15th Annual Conference of the Association for Death Education and Counseling, Memphis, Tennessee
  • For the butterflies I never chased, I grieve
    1991
    13th Annual Conference of the Association for Death Education and Counseling, Duluth, Minnesota
  • Laughing in the Face of Death: A Glimpse of Thanatology in the Cartoons
    1990
    12th Annual Conference of the Association for Death Education and Counseling, New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Volunteer participation in Mutual-help outreach for the widowed: A profile of Widowed Persons Service volunteers
    1989
    Symposium on the Impact of Life Threatening Conditions: Self-help Groups and Health Care Providers in Partnership, Chicago, Illinois
  • The widowed and their significant others: An examination of social support stability
    1988
    Gerontological Society of America's Annual Meeting, San Francisco, California
  • Widowed Persons Service: A community networking effort to aid in coping with loss
    1987
    87th Annual Conference of the Missouri Association for Social Welfare, St. Louis, Missouri
  • sychosocial bereavement education: Psychodynamic and cognitive behavioral perspectives
    1987
    3rd Annual King's College Conference: 'Bereavement: Helping the Survivors, Ontario, Canada
  • Personal and situational correlates of conjugal bereavement
    1986
    8th Annual Conference of the Forum for Death Education and Counseling, Atlanta, Georgia