David Hage is a passionate educator committed to helping social work students develop the knowledge, skills, and values necessary to ensure competent generalist and clinical social work practice. David is dedicated to also teaching students pursuing training across various allied health professions principles of case management, geriatric care management, gerontology, and leadership. David currently serves as an Assistant Professor of Social Work, Field Director, and Coordinator of Gerontology Education at Misericordia University, a private Catholic University in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Students can find course related and other helpful external links on the “Resources” page.
When I reflect on the impact that several of my teaching mentors have had on my present identity as an educator, there are several core values that I have carried over into my teaching approach. Each of these educators had a strong student-centered approach rooted in the dignity and worth of each diverse person and the value of relationships with students and those they will work with professionally in the future. They were ethically grounded and competent in professional standards of practice. Their approaches also highly valued truth, justice, and service to others. The teaching philosophy that I have developed embodies these core values.
As an educator with training and experience in social work, interdisciplinary health care, mental health, leadership, and gerontology, I have the privilege of using my varied practice experience and education to help students translate theory into practice as they begin to develop and refine their professional identities. As a social worker, I value the person-in-environment framework, which considers strategies to professionally assist individuals, families, groups, communities, and organizations execute needed change in micro, mezzo, and macro systems. As a clinical social work healthcare provider with management and leadership experience, I aspire to help students understand principles of population health, health promotion, and health policy in support of developing future healthcare leaders and administrators. As a gerontologist, I am interested in understanding the complex needs of a rapidly aging society and advancing strategies to help this population maximize independence and quality of life across the life course. These overlapping content areas are closely aligned and helpful in engaging students as they increase their confidence and competence in interdisciplinary healthcare and leadership roles.
My concept of learning acknowledges situated cognition for students, which notes that students learn best when the learning environment provides sufficient structure and personally meaningful content that offers opportunities to utilize new cognitive skills and strategies (Wilson, 1993). I also integrate Collingwood’s flexible Three-Stage Theory Framework, which accounts for staged contexts of learning (Collingwood, 2005). In this theory, a service user profile is obtained, a theory is introduced to inform and intervene, and the appropriate knowledge, skills, and values are incorporated (Collingwood, 2005). This theoretical orientation provides students in the classroom or field with a practical and validated learning approach, which applies to students with various levels of preparation and individual learning needs. In sum, my teaching approach carefully combines structured evidence-based learning strategies in the context of the real-world application, informed by a strong value base.
Collingwood, P. (2005). Integrating theory and practice. The Journal of Practice Teaching and Learning, 6(1), 6-23. doi:10.1921/17466188.8.131.52
Wilson, A. L. (1993). The promise of situated cognition. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, 1993(57), 71-79. doi:10.1002/ace.36719935709 …
Descriptions of Courses Taught
GCM 500: Geriatric Care Manager I (graduate/doctoral)
This course will provide an introduction to geriatric case management, review standards and practice guidelines, cover geriatric assessment, psychopathologic conditions common in the elderly, ethics, care planning, communication issues, and other related topics.
GCM 510: Dementia (graduate/doctoral)
This course will concentrate on dementias that afflict older adults in ever increasing numbers, focusing on the magnitude, pathology, progression, treatment and interventions for these diseases. Client, family, and human service systems, long-term care, and personal care issues will be studied in depth. The course will offer opportunities for geriatric care managers to gain a pragmatic experience in dealing with dementia clients, their families and other care providers.
GER 241: Introduction to Social Gerontology (undergraduate)
From a global life-course perspective, this course provides an introduction to the study of aging as one of many normal life processes in contemporary culture. Issues discussed include the biological, psychological, and sociological aspects of aging and the implications of those factors.
GER 277: Adult Development & Aging (undergraduate)
This course provides an overview of adult development from early adulthood through death, and focuses on both normative changes and individual differences in aging. Topics discussed include biological changes, changes in health and health habits, cognitive and intellectual changes, sex roles and family roles, work and associated roles, development of relationships, changes in personality and motivation, mental health and psychopathology, and death and dying. Developmental theories, models, and research methods will also be discussed.
GER 358: Counseling the Older Adult (undergraduate)
This course will prepare students to effectively understand and plan to implement individual and group counseling techniques appropriate for older adults with emotional or social difficulties in adjusting to the aging process.
GER 375: Aging Policy & Services (undergraduate)
This course examines historical development and current implementation of social policies specific to the aging population. Discussion of policies affecting income, health care, social services, and volunteerism will be addressed throughout the course.
HP 135: Health Behavior Change Application (undergraduate)
This course focuses on several behavioral and social science theories, determinants of risk, and ways to link theories to prevention interventions. The course includes exercises in understanding the factors that influence behavior; an overview of the different levels of interventions; a framework to link theory, behavioral determinants and interventions; and small group work to strengthen skills learned in the course.
Soc 101: Comparative Sociology (undergdauate)
Utilizing a global perspective, this course employs a socio-cultural perspective that challenges students to think critically about diverse cultural groups. Sociological concepts such as culture, social structures, exchange systems, and family systems are examined as they relate to different cultures throughout the world.
SWK 252: Social Welfare Policy & Services (undergraduate)
A systems approach to the study and assessment of contemporary social welfare programs is a central theme of this course. Focuses on the interplay of social, political, and economic forces that influence the planning and implementation of social welfare services are examined.
SWK/PSY 285: Communication Skills: Interviewing & Recording Techniques (undergraduate)
Through an interactive teaching format, including small group work, this course teaches the development of skills that may be useful in working directly with clients and others, including listening for emotions, monitoring one’s own reactions and responses, and building a client-worker relationship, which can foster constructive change in the client.
SWK 351: Human Behavior & The Social Environment II (undergraduate)
A life-cycle course sequence exploring the bio-psycho-social-cultural determinants of human behavior from an ecological/systems perspective. Emphasis is placed on the adaptive capacity of humans in interaction with their physical and social environments. SWK 350 examines conception through adolescence and SWK 351 young adulthood through old age.
SWK 366: Methods & Processes I (undergraduate)
This course emphasizes skills in social work assessment and intervention wit micro client systems. The generalist perspective and theoretical underpinnings of systems intervention will be developed and applied in the context of generalist social work practice.
SWK 367: Methods & Processes II (undergraduate)
Throughout this course, students develop skills in social work assessment and intervention within mezzo systems. The generalist perspective and theoretical underpinnings of systems intervention are developed and applied in the context of generalist social work practice.
SWK 466: Principles of Case Management (undergrdauate)
This course is focused on the fundamentals of case management practice skills that are able to be applied in a variety of social service agency, health care, mental health, addictions and other environments. The course will help students develop foundations for best practices in case management practice. Careful consideration will be paid to the case manager’s attitude and professional use of self. Effective communication skills will be addressed in the context of assessing client strengths and needs, and how to best help clients meet their complex needs. The course will also help students learn to formulate an individualized plan with each client and how to monitor the effectiveness of services.
SWK 372/473/474: Field Instruction Seminars I, II, & III (undergraduate)
These courses are held concurrently with level I (junior year), II & III (senior year) placements. A weekly seminar format is used for students involved in field instruction; for the duration of field placement. Student case materials, experiences, and external resources are critically analyzed, synthesized, and evaluated. Integration theoretical knowledge with practical field experience is the focus of these courses. Social work field instruction is the signature pedagogy within social work education.
SWK 472/ 475/476: Field Instruction Sections I, II, & III (undergraduate)
Students work in a community agency or clinical environment two days per week (200 hours) each semester for a total of 3 semesters (600 total hours). One placement occurs in Spring of junior year. The other two placements occur in fall and spring semesters during senior year. Field instruction takes place under the supervision of an agency supervisor and a member of the social work faculty. Students participate fully in agency activities. Social work field instruction is the signature pedagogy within social work education.
Letters of Recommendation
Guidance For Requesting Recommendation Letters from Professor Hage
It is my honor to write letters of recommendation for students who I have come to know in the classroom or other campus settings. It is generally a best practice to request letters of recommendation from people who know you well, and it is even better to have a more substantive and stronger letter written by someone who can meaningfully say something about your unique knowledge, skills, abilities, and interests.
If I have written a letter of recommendation for you before, please make requests for new recommendation letters at least two weeks in advance of your deadline when possible. If I have not written you a recommendation letter before, please make your request for your recommendation letter at least three weeks in advance when possible. I will do my best to accommodate your request, however, teaching responsibilities, presentations, research projects, and other work-related responsibilities may make my availability variable at times, so this advanced notice helps increase my ability to accommodate your request.
Please include the following information with your requests for a reference letter:
- Your name
- Your address
- Your phone number
- Your email
- Name of the program, scholarship, award, or job, etc. you are applying for
- The name/title of the recipient of the letter
- Address of the recipient of the letter
- *Please note that in some cases, recipients of recommendations may require recommendations be provided in a specific format or digitally, if this is the case, please have the recommendation letter recipient email the request or please forward it to me directly.
- Current resumé/C.V.
- Recommendation deadline
- List the class(es) of mine you took/year/grade achieved (I will review my records before completing the letter) or send your unofficial transcript if you would like me to speak to your overall academic performance in addition to course(s) you took with me.
- Please provide a 1 paragraph description written in the third-person describing why your background/achievement is a good match for the opportunity you are applying for. I will not rely upon this information alone for your letter, but this will better help inform my writing and focus.