Loyola University Chicago

School of Social Work


Katherine Tyson McCrea, PhD

Title/s:  Full Professor
PI, Empowering Counseling Program

Specialty Area: Mental health and social services for severely disadvantaged children and youth; global social work; participatory action research; practitioner-relevant approaches to research

Office #:  Maguire Hall 566

Phone: 312.915.7028

Email: ktyson@luc.edu

CV Link: Tyson CV_2019

Mission in Action

Social workers for the future need to be prepared for contexts that are increasingly global, meaning enriched with cross-cultural communication, interacting with people crossing borders, and facing obstacles and opportunities that are global in scope. Unfortunately, the exciting aspects of globalization are accompanied by increasing inequality, meaning social workers’ roles as partners and advocates become ever more important. Social work education can be transformative as we enable students to move past obstacles of ethnocentrism and other ‘isms’ and form partnerships globally and locally to advance social justice. It is a great pleasure to help this to happen through the international courses I teach and through direct practice and research about practice. We partner with clients in a participatory research process that advances their human capital and enables them to develop scientific knowledge about themselves and their social services. We also enable students to tackle the complexities of working with people facing profound poverty and, through their compassion and skill, to offer hope grounded in advancing clients’ choices and self-determination.


Recognized as a Master Teacher by the Council on Social Work Education since 1994, Professor Tyson McCrea developed social work curriculum about child treatment, philosophy of research, and global social work practice. A Fulbright Senior Specialist, she taught seminars for social workers from the U.S. and abroad (Korea, Lithuania, Italy, Greece, Finland, and Thailand), in-person and through video-conference methods. The founding Editor-in-Chief of Illinois Child Welfare, she developed the journal so that it has become international and multidisciplinary, with a practice-oriented emphasis (see www.illinoischildwelfare.org). Since 2006 she has been the Principal Investigator for the participatory-action–based Empowering Counseling Program (ECP), which provides clinical social work and after-school services (see http://www.standuphelpout.org and more recently, Saving Lives Inspiring Youth) for disadvantaged children and youth in Chicago's high-poverty, high-crime communities. The Empowering Counseling Program has received over $500,000 in funding from After School Matters, the Illinois Violence Prevention Program, the McCormick Tribune Foundation, and the Gabe W. Miller Memorial Foundation. The ECP has educated 43 masters and doctoral level social workers, and served over 500 disadvantaged children and youth. ECP research has yielded two dissertations, numerous journal articles, and local, national, and international presentations. As Empowering Counseling Program PI, Prof. McCrea is a Co-Principal Investigator, in partnership with Prof. and PI Maryse Richard's Risk and Resilience Lab, in a $1 million Department of Justice award, studying the development of resilience via cross-age mentoring for youth living in high-poverty, high-crime Chicago communities.

Research Interests

  • Improving clinical social work models for traumatized, disadvantaged children and youth,
  • The development of compassion in disadvantaged youth through processes such as cross-age mentoring,
  • Global social work with a focus on child welfare, and
  • Participatory action research.

Courses Taught

  • Global Social Work: Practice to Advance Peace and Social Justice
  • Participatory Action and Qualitative Research to Advance Social Justice
  • Clinical Social Work Practice with Children
  • Social Work Practice with Individuals and Families
  • The Nature of Clinical Knowledge (Doctoral Program)