Skip to Content

College of Social Work

Faculty and Staff

Patrice Penney, MSW, LISW-CP-S, Approved Supervisor

Title: Assistant Professor
College of Social Work
Phone: 803-777-9461
Office: Hamilton 323
LinkedIn: My LinkedIn profile
Resources: Curriculum Vitae
Penney Patrice

Teaching Expertise

2023 and 2024 MSW Educator of the Year

  • Trauma-informed practice

  • Child, adolescent, and family therapy

  • Child and adolescent mental health

  • Relational cultural practice 


Professor Patrice Penney joined the faculty of the College of Social Work in 2015 as a clinical assistant professor. Her practice, teaching, and scholarly interests are in the areas of relational practice, child and family resilience and mental health, family therapy, trauma-informed practice, and innovations for children at risk in the U.S. and internationally. She was awarded Educator of the Year by graduating Master of Social Work students in 2018, 2020, and 2022, and in 2019, a Two Thumbs Up award, which recognizes faculty and staff who have made a significant difference in a student’s experience. 

Penney has over 30 years’ experience as a clinical social worker and clinical supervisor, and two decades of teaching. In 1986, she established and served as the first director of the Outreach Community Center in the Chicago area. Developing a range of community-based programs, Penney focused her energies on directing community mental health that served low-income children, families, and adults. She also created a strong clinical internship program, trained and supervised more than 70 master’s level interns, and served as the director of clinical training.      

Penney moved to Nairobi, Kenya in 2003 to join Africa International University, where she developed and taught counseling and psychology programs at the graduate and undergraduate level. In 2014, Penney launched the Initiative for Children at Risk Africa, an international non-profit organization. ICARA’s mission is to deliver trauma-informed caregiver training (currently in ten African countries), develop trauma counseling resources for children, and engage in research and advocacy. To date, more than 1,600 African caregivers, social workers, teachers, administrators, police, and government officials have been trained, reaching several hundred thousand children. Penney also self-published, “Nurturing Hearts: Trauma-Informed Care for Orphaned and Vulnerable Children,” for use across Africa.  College of Social Work students and alumni have assisted in curriculum development and research related to OVCs and traveled and trained with Penney in Africa. 

Penney has presented at the local, state, and national level regarding trauma-informed and relational practices. She published an article with Associate Professor Naomi Farber in 2020 on relational teaching that appeared in Journal of Teaching in Social Work. Penney has worked with Resilient Richland, a coalition to develop trauma-informed care across agencies and communities in Richland County (SC) and has developed a trauma-sensitive school social work program in Augusta, Georgia. She is active in training schools, local, and state agencies on trauma-responsive interventions and care. 

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.