Social work faculty

Valerie M. Stokes, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Social Work
Department Chair

Ph.D., University of South Dakota
M.S.W., University of Nebraska at Omaha
B.A., Northwestern College

VPH 311 E


Dr. Stokes joined Northwestern’s social work department after serving as executive director of The Bridge, a transitional housing agency in Orange City. She previously spent seven years as a therapist at Northwestern, including four as co-director of student counseling services. She also has worked as a program supervisor at the Council on Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence and as a social worker at the Crittenton Center in Sioux City. A licensed independent social worker and licensed master social worker, Stokes holds a doctorate in human development and educational psychology. She is the 2012 recipient of the college's Teaching Excellence Award.


    Publications and presentations

    • Reisetter, M, Schweinle, A, & Stokes, V. (2008, approved with revisions to The Qualitative Report). Elements of Engagement for Successful Learning.
    • Stokes, V., & Schweinle, A. (2007). Sleep and academic functioning. Growth: The Journal of the Association for Christians in Student Development, 7, 27-37.
    • Almond-Reiser, T.M., & Stokes, V. (2007). Texting is changing the social environment of adolescent females. Paper presented at annual meeting of the Mid-West Educational Research Association. October 2007. St. Louis MO.
    • Stokes, V. (2009, July). Community Needs Assessments on Immigration: Issues in a Small Rural Community. Presentation at 34th Annual National Institute on Social Work and Human Services in Rural Areas, Duluth, MN.
    • Stokes, V. (2009, April). One Rural Community’s Needs Assessment on Immigration. Presentation at Iowa Chapter National Association of Social Workers, Des Moines, Iowa.
    • Stokes, V. (2008, March). Domestic Violence and Education: How witnessing trauma influences learning process. Invited presentation for Family Crisis Center’s Empowering in Unity workshop, Sioux Center, Iowa.
    • Stokes, V. (2008, February). Domestic violence: prevalence, dynamics, patterns, and power issues. Invited guest lecturer for Northwestern College psychology students, Orange City, Iowa.
    • Stokes, V. (2008, January). A Nurse’s guide to domestic violence: How to ask the right questions and recognize abuse from examination cues. Invited guest lecturer for Northweste

    Professional involvements and accomplishments

    • Consultant, Family Crisis Center, fall 2009–present
    • Social Work Promotions Committee, Iowa Chapter, National Association Social Workers, fall 2009–present
    • Tri-County Domestic Violence Coalition, February 2008–present
    • Quantitative Statistics Teaching and Research Assistant, University of South Dakota, 2006-07
    • Iowa Coalition on Homelessness, June 2007–present
    • The Bridge, Orange City, Iowa, volunteer grant writer, March 2007
    • State of Iowa Suicide Prevention Task Force, 2002–06
    • Board member, Community Health Partners, Orange City, 2000-04
    • Healthy 2010 Coalition, Sioux County, IA, 2001–02
    • CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate), 3rd Judicial District, IA, 1998-99
    • CSADV (Council on Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence), 1995-96
    • Opportunities Unlimited, Sioux City, Iowa, 1994–95
    • Domestic Violence Aid Center, Sioux Center, Iowa, 1990–91
    • Children’s Haven International, Reynosa, Mexico, service project volunteer, March 1990
    • Salvation Army, Sioux City, Iowa, 1987 and 1988


    • National Association of Social Workers
    • National Association of Christians in Social Work
    • Christian Association of Psychology Studies
      NASW IA - Rural Northwest Iowa Branch co-coordinator, 2007-2008
      NASW IA - Social Work
    • Promotion/Membership Committee, 2008-2010 
      NASW IA  - Clinical Supervision Task Force,
    • 2010
      NASW IA - Vice President, 2011- 2013, returning again as VP 2014 for three-year term.
      Board member for CASA (Center for Assistance,
    • Service, and Advocacy) of NW Iowa.


    • Teaching Excellence Award, Northwestern College, 2012
    • NAMI-Iowa recipient of the Heros in the Fight award, 2008