Valerie Stokes
Professor of Social Work and Director of Academic Diversity Initiatives
Valerie Stokes

As the chair of Northwestern’s social work department, Dr. Stokes provides students with a safe, encouraging environment in which she shares real-life examples from her own therapeutic practice.

Diversity champion
Dr. Stokes played an important role in the development of Northwestern’s Vision for Diversity, which states the importance of embracing diversity in God’s creation, lamenting human brokenness, reconciling with one another, and pursuing human flourishing. As director of academic diversity initiatives, she leads and supports initiatives related to faculty, curriculum, scholarship and other academic operations.

Practicing therapist
The owner of New Leaf Therapy in Le Mars, Iowa, she brings current practice examples to the classroom and stays up to date on new research and theories.

Standout professor
Dr. Stokes was the 2012 recipient of Northwestern’s Teaching Excellence Award, following nominations in which students called her the ultimate mentor for budding social workers and commended her willingness to help whenever they have questions.

Committed disciple
She follows God’s calling in Isaiah 1:17 to seek justice, learn to do good, defend the vulnerable and fight oppression. These faith commitments fuel her passion for social work and for creating a safe, authentic space to promote healing, restoration and relational connection for growth.

Read Dr. Stokes’ bio