Our team

« Back

Mary C. Secret, Ph.D.

Associate professor

Email: mcsecret@vcu.edu

Phone: (804) 828-2379

Ph.D., Virginia Commonwealth University

M.S.S.A., Case Western Reserve University

B.A., Ohio University

Mary Secret is Associate Professor in the VCU School of Social Work.  Her research interest and expertise include the scholarship of teaching and learning, social work education, program evaluation and practice-research collaborations, and workplace policies and family well-being. Secret has taught online courses at the master’s level for several years and publishes and presents on topics related to distance education and collaborative learning.  In addition, she is interested in the pedagogy of research methods and has co-lead a longitudinal study about student acquisition and retention of research knowledge.

Dr. Secret is active with university level initiatives, particularly around issues of shared governance, promotion and tenure, and diversity and inclusive excellence.  She has served on the VCU Faculty Senate for a number of years.

She has collaborated with various community agencies on efforts to evaluate the effectiveness of their programs, using an empowerment evaluation model, and is currently consulting with the Richmond Peace Education Center to evaluate their youth peace projects.

Prior to joining the VCU School of Social Work faculty, Dr. Secret was an Associate Professor at University of Kentucky (UK), College of Social Work in Lexington, KY.

Secret’s research has been funded by VCU Community Service Associates Program, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Children’s Bureau; Alfred P. Sloan Foundation; University of Kentucky Small Grant Collaborative Research Program; University of Kentucky Research Foundation; Lexington Fayette Urban County Government.

Selected publications

Secret, M., Ward, C., & Newmark, A. (In Press). Converting a face-to-face introductory research methods course to an online format: Pedagogical issues and technological tools.  Journal of Teaching in Social Work.

Secret, M, Bryant, N. & Cummings, C. (2017). Teaching an interdisciplinary graduate level methods course in an openly-networked connected learning environment: A Glass half full. Journal of Educators Online, 14(2), 90-106.

Secret, M., Abel, M., Ward, C., Perkins, N. & Charles, J, (2017). Research knowledge assessment: A study of MSW students’ acquisition and retention of research knowledge. Journal of Social Work Education, 53(3).480-494.

Secret, M., Bentley, K. J.,&  Kadolph, J. (2016). Student voices speak to quality assurance: Continual improvement in online social work education.  Journal of Social Work Education, 52(1),

Bentley, K.J., Secret, M., & Cummings, C. (2015). The centrality of social presence in online teaching and learning in social work. Journal of Social Work Education, 51(3), 494-504.

Secret, M. (2012). Incarcerated fathers: Exploring the dimensions and prevalence of parenting capacity of non-violent offenders. Fathering: A Journal of Research, Theory, and Practice. 10: 2, 159-181.

Cole, P. & Secret, M.  (2012): Factors Associated with Work–Family Conflict Stress among African American Women, Social Work in Public Health, 27:4, 307-329.

Secret ,M.  Leisey, M, Lanning, S. Polich, S. & Schaub, J. (2011). Faculty perceptions of the scholarship of teaching and learning: Definition, activity level and merit considerations at one university. Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 11(3), 1 – 20.

Secret, M., Abel, M., Berlin, T.  (2011). The promise and challenge of practice-research collaborations: Guiding principles and strategies for initiating, designing and implementing evaluation research. Social Work. 56 (1),   9-20.

Secret, M. & Pitt-Catsophes, M. (2008). Introducing work-family scholarship to social work students: The development and assessment of an online reading seminar.  Journal of Teaching in Social Work(28), 145-164.

Secret, M. & Swanberg, J.  (2008). Work-family experiences and insights of municipal government employees: A case study. Public Personnel Management(37), 199- 221. 

Koerin, B.B., Harrigan, M.P., & Secret, M. (2008). Eldercare and employed caregivers:  A public/private responsibility? Journal of Gerontological Social Work(51), 143-161.

Secret, M. (2008, March). Parenting in the Workplace. Work and Family Encyclopedia. http://wfnetwork.bc.edu/encyclopedia.php?mode=nav