Toni Jensen, DSW

Contact Information

Toni Jensen, DSW
Associate Professor of Social Work
Department Chair and Master of Social Work Program Director
Title IX Investigations, leadership development, ethics, and program administration and evaluation
tjensen2 [at]
Social Work
Office location

Smith-Curtis 340F

I identify with a critical paradigm.  To me, this means that I see learning as a dynamic and changing process.  I believe students learn best when they are engaged in the discovery process from the beginning and are able to explore their learning from their own individualized perspective.  This means that students are primarily responsible for knowledge acquisition and I am primarily responsible for knowledge development. In other words, students are expected to come prepared to class, having completed the required readings or other identified learning activities.  From there, I will work with students in class through a variety of exercises to build upon the foundational knowledge they have, and will provide detailed and on-going feedback in order to assist student development.  As a result, students will not only know something, they will understand it, be able to analyze it and synthesize varied perspectives on it.

I also believe that we all come at things from varied perspectives and experiences.  As such, the use of self-reflection is critical  in this program to help you explore experiences and their impact on personal values, beliefs and ideas. Through these strategies, development and reflection, I hope to push students to critically analyze and assess concepts and ideas presented as mainstream.

In short, I believe that teaching is an interaction of learning between the student and the teacher, whereby both walk away more enriched than before.


Dr. Jensen started teaching at NWU in 2012 as an adjunct faculty in the Social Work Department, teaching mostly in the accelerated, adult program, and became full time faculty starting in the fall of 2014. In June of 2016, Dr. Jensen assumed the role of Field Director for NWU's social work program and in 2018 Dr. Jensen transitioned from her role as the Field Director to serve as the program director for the Master in Social Work and became the Chair of the Social Work Department in the fall of 2020.  Prior to her time at NWU Dr. Jensen worked full time for the Administrative Office of the Courts and Probation under the Nebraska Supreme Court where she served as the Domestic Violence Programs and Services Specialist, with areas of expertise in domestic violence and sexual offenders, as well as victim related issues. Also during her time with Probation and the Courts, Dr. Jensen worked on various projects to assist in building leadership skills in managers and supervisors. Prior to that Dr. Jensen worked for the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska in a variety of roles, including case manager for domestic violence and sexual assault victims, program coordinator for a supervised visitation service, and also as a grant writer and grants compliance officer. 


Bachelor's degree in Social Work from Dana College (Blair, NE) in 2003

Master's degree in Social Work from the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) in 2007

Master's degree in Public Administration from UNO in 2007

Doctorate in Social Work from the University of St. Thomas (St. Paul, MN) May 2020

Courses taught


  • SW 1150 Introduction to Social Work
  • SW 2270 HBSE I
  • SW 2280 HBSE II
  • SW 2290 Elective: Social Work in the Criminal Justice System
  • SW 3200 Social Welfare Policy, Services, and Delivery Systems
  • SW 3100 Macro Social Work Practice
  • SW 4650 Research Informed Practice
  • SOCWK 4970 Field Seminar and Practicum


  • SOCWK 5010 Human Behavior in the Social Environment
  • SOCWK 5220 Macro Practice
  • SOCWK 5110 Social Welfare Policy
  • SOCWK 5460 Trauma Conscious Social Work Administration
Research and academic interests

My research focus is on leadership development, specifically development through the educational process.  My recent social work practice experience has been focused on program evaluation, community assessment, and training development/evaluation.  My previous practice experience focused on crime victims and trauma, as well as secondary trauma concerns. My other interests include social work in the criminal justice system and social work ethics.

Service interests

I currently serve on the Board of Directors for the Poverty Impact Network and consult with local non-profits and governmental agencies on strategic planning, grant writing, program evaluation and other areas of interest.

Professional and community affiliations, certifications and awards

Certified Social Worker
2015 Victim Allied Professional Award