Dr. Owens is Associate Professor of Social Work at Western Kentucky University. In addition to teaching full-time in the Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program, he coordinates BSW education at the WKU-Elizabethtown Regional Campus. Dr. Owens teaches across the BSW curriculum including Human Behavior in the Social Environment, Social Welfare Policy, field practicum, social work practice courses, and a leadership in social work elective course.
Dr. Owens’ research interests include child welfare practice, leadership, scholarship of teaching and learning, and international social issues. His interest in international issues led to participation in several international educational trips including China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Korea, New Zealand, and Sweden. Also, Dr. Owens was a faculty member on service-learning trips to Belize and Bolivia.
Dr. Owens has over 25 years of direct care, clinical, and administrative social work experience. His experience has included working in outpatient mental health services, foster care, group homes, residential treatment, emergency shelters, adoption, and independent living services. As a “pracademic,” Dr. Owens has extensive experience in social work administration, program development, supervision, staff training, advocacy, and direct practice. This practice experience informs his teaching. Students often comment that they appreciate the “real life” examples and expertise he brings to the learning experience.
Dr. Owens lived and worked in Venezuela for two years immediately after college. This experience changed his worldview and set him on a life course of traveling the globe. He is committed to providing students with similar opportunities. In addition to travel, Dr. Owens’ personal interests include cooking and golf. His life partner, Dr. Erlene Grise-Owens, is a former social work educator. She is a partner in The Wellness Group ETC, which provides evaluation, training, and consultant for individuals and organizations on best practices in self-care and wellness. They both look forward to sharing this new adventure, continuing to explore the world, and making new connections.