Lawrence Ressler

Professor, School of Social Work

  • PhD, Case Western Reserve University
  • MSW, Temple University
  • BSW, Eastern Mennonite University

Lawrence Ressler has a BSW from Eastern Mennonite University, an MSW from Temple University, and a PhD in Social Welfare from Case Western Reserve University. He has had an extensive career in Christian higher education with a special focus on social work. His accomplishments including helping two undergraduate programs and one MSW get initial CSWE accreditation. He also helped develop the curriculum for a social work program at Daystar University in Nairobi, Kenya that received government approval.

In addition to teaching at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, he has served in academic administration as program director, department chair, academic dean, provost, director of institutional assessment, and interim president. Dr. Ressler has served as a faculty member or administrator at seven Christian colleges including East Texas Baptist University, Taylor University, Tabor College, Roberts Wesleyan College, Messiah College, Malone University, and Eastern Mennonite University. He worked for shorter periods at the Carver School of Church Social Work associated with Southern Baptist Theological University, Daystar University in Nairobi, Kenya, and the Russian-American Christian University in Moscow, Russia.

Dr. Ressler has training and experience as a community organizer, individual and family therapist, and in conflict management. He has presented frequently at conferences with many publications including the co-edited Making Peace with Conflict, a book on conflict management, and a devotional, Hearts Strangely Warmed: Reflections of Biblical Passages Relevant to Social Work. He has been active professionally in CSWE, NASW, and NACSW. Dr. Ressler currently serves as the chair of a National Social Work Professional Accreditation Advisory Council recently initiated by the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.

Contact Information

Academic Specialties:

  • Social work research, assessment, and practice
  • Integration of faith and social work
  • International social work
  • Conflict management

Awards and Honors:

  • Alumnus of the Year at Eastern Mennonite School
  • Distinguished Service to NACSW

Selected Publications:

  • Ressler, L. (2008). Integration of faith and athletics. Direction: A Mennonite Brethren Forum, 37, 1.
  • Ressler, L. (2005). Religious discrimination in social work: Preliminary evidence. Social Thought: Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Social Work, 24 (4).
  • Ressler, L. (2003, November). Silenced voices: Social work and the oppression of conservative narratives. Social Thought: Journal of Religion in the Social Services, 22 (1), 125-142.
  • Ressler, L. (2002). When social work & Christianity conflict. In B. Hugen & T. Laine Scales (Eds.), Christianity and social work (pp. 93-117), Botsford, CT: NACSW.
  • Ressler, L. (1998). The relation between church and state: Issues in social work and the law. In E. Canda (Ed.), Spirituality in social work: New directions (pp.81-97). New York, NY: Hawthorn.
  • Ressler, L. (1998). The relation between church and state: Issues in social work and the law. Social Thought: Journal of Religion in the Social Services, 18(2), 81-97.

Teaching at Cairn since 2017

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Matthew Miller