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Elizabeth P. Cramer portrait

Elizabeth "Liz" P. Cramer, Ph.D., LCSW


Email: ecramer@vcu.edu

Phone: (804) 828-9029

Ph.D., University of South Carolina
Graduate Certificate in Women's Studies, University of South Carolina
M.S.W., University of Michigan
B.A., State University of New York at Binghamton

Elizabeth “Liz” P. Cramer, L.C.S.W., A.C.S.W., is a professor in the VCU School of Social Work, an affiliate faculty in the VCU Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Department, and a member of the iCubed Intersections in the Lives of LGBTQIA+ Communities’ Core. Her practice and scholarship areas are domestic violence, particularly abuse of people with disabilities; lesbian and gay issues; and group work. Her research is primarily community engaged. She has published a number of journal articles, book chapters, and curriculum modules on such areas as abuse of women with disabilities, healthy relationship programs for adolescents and for people with disabilities, and educational interventions focused on LGBTQ-content in social work education.

Cramer has served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Lesbian Studies and the Journal of Gay and Lesbian Social Services, and has been a peer reviewer for several journals, including Criminal Justice and Behavior, Journal of Gay and Lesbian Medical Association, Journal of Homosexuality, and the Journal of Social Work Education’s Special Section on Domestic Violence. She has also served on grant review panels for the federal Violence against Women office and Office for Victims of Crime.

Cramer is the Principal Investigator for the I-CAN! Accessibility Project, funded by the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services’ Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Victim Fund. The mission of this project is to promote and facilitate awareness about abuse of people with disabilities and to advocate for equal access to services and legal protections. She also serves as the co-Principal Investigator for Leadership for Empowerment and Abuse Prevention (LEAP), which is an abuse prevention program for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities, currently funded by the U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women FY17 Research and Evaluation Solicitation.

Cramer is the co-PI on two other grants: Ensuring Accessibility for All Survivors, funded by the Virginia Board for People with Disabilities, and Criminal Justice and Victim Services Prevention and Intervention Responses to Domestic Violence Victims with Disability and Deaf Individuals, funded by a sub-award from the Rutgers University Violence against Women Consortium through a U.S. National Institute of Justice grant. 

Cramer served on the Board of Directors for the Chesterfield County Domestic Violence Task Force for 23 years and has conducted program evaluation of a school-based, peer-led, five-week healthy relationship program in Chesterfield County high schools. She has been involved in the domestic and sexual violence field for nearly 40 years as a practitioner, administrator, researcher, volunteer, and consultant. Cramer teaches across all the three programs (B.S.W., M.S.W. and Ph.D.) at the School of Social Work, including courses on power, privilege and oppression; direct practice; interpersonal violence; and social work education and teaching. She is interested in strategies for transformative teaching and learning. Cramer is a volunteer Special Olympics volleyball coach and enjoys laughing, playing, and exploring with her grandchildren.

Notable awards, honors and appointments

  • Professor, School of Social Work
  • Affiliate Faculty, Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies
  • VCU Institute for Inclusion, Inquiry and Innovation Intersections in the Lives of LGBTQIA+ Communities Transdisciplinary Core
  • Mentor Recognition. CSWE Council on the Role and Status of Women in Social Work Education Mentor Recognition Program, which recognizes and honors mentors who have made a difference in others’ lives. August, 2018.
  • Contributing Partner Award 2013. In recognition of the generous professional assistance provided to the Chesterfield Community Services Board and to the Chesterfield citizens. Chesterfield Community Services Board, Chesterfield, VA.
  • Burnside-Watstein LGBT Award. 2013. This award recognizes outstanding contributions to enriching the community at VCU, and in particular for making a difference in the lives of LGBTQI faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members. Virginia Commonwealth University.
  • Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, inducted November 2009.
  • Clarity Award conferred by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, for pursuing lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender equality through activism in academia. 2007.
  • Winner of the Faculty Award and Riese-Melton capstone award of the Virginia Commonwealth University Presidential Award for Community Multicultural Enrichment (PACME). 2006.
  • Social Justice Award. School of Social Work, Virginia Commonwealth University, 2004 and 2011.

Teaching areas and interests

Courses currently or recently taught

  • Social justice (M.S.W.)
  • Social Work and Oppressed Groups (B.S.W.)
  • Direct practice (M.S.W.)
  • Interpersonal Violence (M.S.W.)
  • Social Work Education and Teaching (Ph.D.)

Teaching interests

  • Transformative and critical pedagogy/andragogy
  • Digital storytelling to promote social justice
  • Collaborative teaching and learning
  • Experiential learning

University Courses Developed for Division of Inclusive Excellence’s Diversity and Inclusion Course and Program Compendium (iExcel):

  • Cramer, E.P. & McGinnis, H.A. (2019). Using Experiential Exercises to Teach about Diversity, Oppression, and Social Justice. iExcel Education Seminar. Virginia Commonwealth University Division for Inclusive Excellence.
  • Cramer, E.P. & Walker, S. (2019). Promoting Social Justice through Digital Storytelling. iExcel Education Short Course. Virginia Commonwealth University Division for Inclusive Excellence.

Research projects and funding

Recent and current funded projects

Principal Investigator
I-CAN! Accessibility Project (VCU School of Social Work and VCU Partnership for People with Disabilities) Department of Criminal Justice Services, Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Victim Fund, 2020-2021 (current grant cycle). Project funded since 2007.

Co-investigator (PI: Dinora)
Evaluation of LEAP (Leadership for Empowerment and Abuse Prevention): A Healthy Relationships Curriculum for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (VCU Partnership for People with Disabilities and VCU School of Social Work).U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women Research and Evaluation Solicitation. 2017-2020. (NCE: October 2021).

Co-investigator (PI: Stylianou)
Criminal Justice and Victim Services Prevention and Intervention Responses to Domestic Violence Victims with Disability and Deaf Individuals. Rutgers University Violence against Women Consortium through a U.S. National Institute of Justice grant. 2019-2020. 

Co-Investigator (PI: Robinson Brock)
Ensuring Accessibility for All Survivors (VCU Partnership for People with Disabilities and VCU School of Social Work).  Virginia Board for People with Disabilities. 2019-2021. 

Principal Investigator
LEAP Fidelity of Implementation (VCU School of Social Work and Partnership for People with Disabilities). VCU Presidential Research Quest Fund, 2015-2016

Co-Investigator (PI: Dellinger-Wray)
Expanding Healthy Relationships in Central Virginia (VCU Partnership for People with Disabilities, VCU School of Social Work, and VCU Department of Rehabilitation Counseling, in partnership with Heart Havens and the Virginia Anti-Violence Project). VCU Community Engagement Grant, 2015-2016.


Selected publications

Dinora, P., Schoeneman, A., Dellinger-Wray, M., Cramer, E. P., Brandt, J.; & D’Aguilar, A. (2020). Using video vignettes in research and program evaluation for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities: A case study of the Leadership for Empowerment and Abuse Prevention project. Evaluation and Program Planning, 79. (Online first)

Cramer, E.P., Plummer, S., & Ross, A.I. (2019/2021). Intersectionality and intimate partner violence and abuse: IPV and people with disabilities. In R. Geffner, J. W. White, L.K. Hamberger, A. Rosenbaum, V. Vaughan-Eden, & V. I. Vieth, (Eds.). Handbook of interpersonal violence across the lifespan: A project of the National Partnership to End Interpersonal Violence Across the Lifespan (NPEIV). (pp. 1 – 24). First online: 10 July 2019. Living Reference Work Entry.

Robinson, J., Cramer, E.P., Dellinger-Wray, M., & Varky, S. (2019). Understanding Protective Orders in Richmond, Virginia.  English, Spanish, Braille and large print versions.  Virginia Commonwealth University Partnership for People with Disabilities and the School of Social Work.

Cramer, E.P. (2018) My Entrance, Her Exit. [poem]. Journal of Social Work in End-of-Life & Palliative Care, 14(2-3), 127. 

 Cramer, E.P. (2018). Small groups. In E. Hutchison (Ed). Dimensions of human behavior: Person and environment (6th ed). (pp. 343-370).  Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. 

Cramer, E.P., McLeod, D.A., Craft, M., & Agnelli, K. (2018). Using arts-based materials to explore the complexities of clinical decision- making in a Social Work methods course.  Social Work Education: The International Journal, 37(3), 342-360. 

Cramer, E.P. (2018).  Social justice video presentation. [Assignment]. In L. Hitchcock, M. Sage, & N.J. Smyth. Teaching social work with digital technology (pp. 487-489)  Alexandria, VA: CSWE Press.

Cramer, E. P., Choi, Y. J., & Ross, A. I. (2017). Race, culture & abuse of persons with disabilities. In A. L. Johnson, J. R. Nelson, & E. M. Lund (Eds.). Religion, disability, and interpersonal violence(pp. 89-110). Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing.

Hutchison, E., & Cramer, E. (2017). Small groups, formal organizations, and communities. In E. Hutchison (Ed.), Essentials of human behavior: Integrating person, environment, and the life course (2nd ed.). (pp. 225-260). Los Angeles: Sage..

Choi, Y. J., & Cramer, E. P. (2016). An exploratory study of female Korean American church leaders’ views on domestic violence. Social Work & Christianity, 43(4), 3-22.

Agnelli, K., Cramer, E.P., Buffington, M.L., Norris, J., & Meeken, L. (2016). Food Landscapes: Cooking, community service and art-making with teens. Journal of Community Practice, 24(2), 205-214.

Cramer, E.P., Ross, A.I., McLeod, D.A., & Jones, R. (2015). The impact on peer facilitators of facilitating a school-based healthy relationship program for teens. School Social Work Journal, 40(1), 23-41.

Buffington, M.L., Cramer, E.P., Agnelli, K., & Norris, J. (2015, September). Food Landscapes: A socially engaged art project. Art Education, 40-45.

McLeod, D.A., Jones, R., & Cramer, E.P. (2015). An evaluation of a school-based, peer-facilitated, healthy relationship program for at-risk adolescents. Children & Schools, 37(2), 108-116.

Cramer, E.P., Buffington, M.L., Norris, J., & Walston, T. (2015). A field trip to the art museum! Complicating the experience and interpretation of field trips as complex interactions of public space, boundaries, and belonging. In E. Woods (Ed.). Experiential learning: Emerging perspectives, strategies and educational outcomes (pp. 67-86). New York: Nova Science Publishers, Inc.

Ford, C.H., & Cramer, E.P. (2015). Network VA: A case study of a statewide effort to build LGBTQ coalitions for change on college campuses. In J. C. Hawley (Ed.) Expanding the circle: Creating an inclusive environment in higher education for LGBTQ students and studies (pp. 127-139). Albany, NY: SUNY Press.

Cramer, E.P., Brady, S.R., & McLeod, D.A. (2013). Building capacity to address the abuse of persons with disabilities. Journal of Community Practice, 21(1-2), 124-144.

Cramer, E.P., & Brady, S.R. (2013). Competing values in serving older and vulnerable adults: Adult Protective Services, mandated reporting, and domestic violence programs. Journal of Elder Abuse and Neglect, 25(5), 453-468.

Cramer, E.P., Ford, C.H., & Arroyo, A. (2012). An account of an inter-institutional faculty learning community on addressing issues of diversity and oppression in the classroom. Learning Communities Journal, 4, 5-35.

Cramer, E.P., Ryosho, N., & Nguyen, P. V. (2012). Using experiential exercises to teach about diversity, oppression, and social justice. Journal of Teaching in Social Work, 32(1), 1-13.

Cramer, E.P. (2012). Talking the talk and walking the walk with the sexuality and gender identity In L. Grobman & J. Clements (Eds.). Riding the mutual aid bus and other adventures in group work: A days in the lives of social workers collection (pp. 129-135). Harrisburg, PA: White Hat Communications.

McAllister, C.A., Harold, R.D., Ahmedani, B.K., & Cramer, E.P. (2009). Targeted mentoring: An evaluation of a program. Journal of Social Work Education. 45(1), 89-104.

Cramer, E.P., & Plummer, S. (2009). People of color with disabilities: Intersectionality as a framework for analyzing intimate partner violence in social, historical, and political contexts. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma, 18(2), 162-181.

Matthews, J. D., & Cramer, E.P. (2006). Envisaging the adoption process to strengthen gay- and lesbian-headed families: Recommendations for adoption professionals. Child Welfare, 85 (2), 317-340.

Cramer, E.P. (2004). Unintended consequences of constructing criminal justice as a dominant paradigm in understanding and intervening in intimate partner violence. Women’s Studies Quarterly, 32(3/4), 164-180.

Cramer, E.P., Gilson, S.F., & DePoy, E. (2004). Women with disabilities and experiences of abuse. Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment, 7(3/4), 183-199.

Cramer, E.P. (Ed.). (2002). Addressing homophobia and heterosexism on college campuses. Binghamton, NY: Haworth Press.

Gilson, S.F., Cramer, E.P, & DePoy, E. (2001). Redefining abuse of women with disabilities: A paradox of limitation and expansion. AFFILIA: Journal of Women and Social Work, 16(2), 220-235.

Gilson, S.F., DePoy, E., & Cramer, E.P. (2001). Linking the assessment of self reported functional capacity with abuse experiences of women with disabilities. Violence Against Women, 7(4), 418-431.

Gross, M., Cramer, E.P., Forte, J., Gordon, J., Kunkel, T., & Moriarty, L. (2000). The impact of sentencing options on recidivism among domestic violence offenders: A case study. American Journal of Criminal Justice, 24(2), 301-312.

Cramer, E.P. (1999). Variables that predict verdicts in domestic violence cases. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 14(11), 1137-1150.

Black, B., Oles, T.P., Cramer, E.P., & Bennett, C.K. (1999). Attitudes and behaviors of social work students toward lesbian and gay male clients: Can panel presentations make a difference? Journal of Gay and Lesbian Social Services, 9(4), 47-68.

Oles, T.P., Black, B.M., & Cramer, E.P. (1999). From attitude change to effective practice with gay male and lesbian clients: Exploring the relationship. Journal of Social Work Education, 35(1),87-100.

Cramer, E.P. (1997). Effects of an educational unit about lesbian identity development and disclosure in a social work methods course. Journal of Social Work Education, 33(3), 461-472.


Selected contributions

Cramer has served on or chaired numerous school committees, including but not limited to, the Promotion and Tenure Committee, Governance and Operations, Programs Committee, MSW and Doctoral Program Committees, Dean’s Cabinet (while School Assembly co-Chair), School of Social Work Black Lives Matter Faculty-Student-Alumni Collective, Search Committees, Direct Practice and Social Justice Content Groups, Faculty Rights & Responsibilities, Curriculum Committee, and Academic Standards Committee. She served for several years as the faculty advisor for MSW students obtaining the Certificate in Gender Violence Intervention.

Cramer has served on several university committees, including but not limited to, Faculty Senate; VCU Institute for Inclusion, Inquiry & Innovation (iCubed); VCU Institute for Women’s Health Domestic and Sexual Violence Research Development Group; Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies Advisory Council; Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Curriculum Committee for LGBT+ and Queer Studies; VCU Partnership for People with Disabilities Advisory Council; Search Committees for senior leadership; VCU Equity and Diversity Committee; and VCU Center for Teaching Excellence Advisory Committee.

Cramer has been committed to community service and service to the larger social work profession, including a 23-year stint on the Chesterfield County Domestic Violence Task Force; volunteer service with Special Olympics and the Neighborhood Resource Center; Commissioner on the Council on Social Work Education’s Council on Sexual Orientation and Gender Expression; and editorial board membership and peer reviewer responsibilities for academic journals, among others.