Don Phelps, LCSW
Don Phelps received his Ph.D. in social work from the University of Illinois in 1997 and is currently a Professor of Social Work at Aurora University. Since 1985, he has worked as a youth and family therapist, outdoor adventure therapist, clinical director, chief operating officer, and chief executive officer in behavioral healthcare. Phelps worked as an adjunct faculty member for 9 years before coming to the university full time in 2001. Phelps has received many university awards for his teaching and community service. In 2016 he received the AUSA Meritorious Faculty Award; in 2012 the SWA Professor of the Year Award; in 2010 John McKee Citizenship Award; and in 2003 the Trumbo Excellence in Teaching Award. He has served in many leadership roles at the NASW including President of the Board of Directors of the IL Chapter (2015-2017). In 2007, he received the Social Worker of the Year Award. During a university sabbatical in 2011, Phelps provided training and clinical consultation at the Casa Hogar Los Angelitos orphanage in Manzanillo, Mexico. Since then he has continued to do pro bono work for the orphanage and has written several articles and given presentations in Mexico and the USA on the use of trauma-informed therapy and expressive arts with children who have experienced developmental trauma. In 2003, Phelps spent a month in South Africa and served as a member of a professional delegation from NASW. Phelps and a couple of his graduate students designed and implemented a therapeutic play and expressive arts program for children at Hesed House, the second-largest homeless shelter in Illinois. The program has served over 400 children in the last 12 years. In May 2019 the program received the National Exchange Club “Goods Deeds” Award.