shortcut to content
Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Nancy Fitzsimons

Page address:


Picture of Nancy[PDF] Nancy Fitzsimons (507 KiB) joined the Department of Social Work in 2001.  Prior to joining the faculty she worked in Chicago for 8 years as a researcher at the Institute on Disability and Human Development.  Prior to working at UIC, she worked for 7 years as a social worker in the field of development disabilities.  She has worked in a variety of agencies serving people with developmental and other disabilities, including home-based child and family intervention, residential, case coordination and an alternative school.  Her current role is as the MSW Program Director (since 2005).  Through her leadership, the Department developed a MSW Program that was accredited by the Council on Social Work Education in October 2010.  Dr. Fitzsimons was promoted to full professor in August of 2011.

Dr. Fitzsimons earned her Ph.D. and MSW from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), Jane Addams College of Social Work and her Bachelor of Science in Social Work from Mankato State University.  Her area of concentration in the MSW program was practice with children and families, with an emphasis on developmental disabilities.  Dr. Fitzsimons’ focus of study in the Ph.D. program was developmental disabilities, with an emphasis on disability policy, services, and preparation of social workers for practice with people with disabilities.  Her dissertation focused on the role of federally funded Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities in the education of social workers for practice in the field of developmental disabilities.

Dr. Fitzsimons currently teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in social welfare history, services, and policy; macro social work practice (task groups, organizations, and communities; and social work practice with people with disabilities.

Dr. Fitzsimons’ scholarship interest and focus is on interpersonal and institutional violence and abuse and human rights violations perpetrated against people with disabilities.  She has authored training curriculum, a book, journal articles, and other publications on the aforementioned subject matter.  She conducts an array of trainings, workshops, presentations, and keynote addresses on the problem of interpersonal and institutional violence and abuse perpetrated against people with disabilities at the local, state, national and international levels.  She was trained as a certified sexual assault advocate.  While working at UIC, Dr. Fitzsimons was the Project Director of a 5-year longitudinal study of the closure of a state-operated developmental center and the Project Director of the Abuse and Disability Initiative.  She was recently appointed to the editorial board for the Journal of Social Work in Disability and Rehabilitation.

Dr. Fitzsimons currently serves on the Board of Directors for Harry Meyering Center, a residential service provider for people with developmental and other disabilities.  She has been involved with Mankato Area Healthy Youth (MAHY) since 2004, currently serving on the MAHY Leadership Team.  Through her involvement with MAHY, Dr. Fitzsimons has conducted research on the well-being of children and youth in the Greater Mankato Area.  She was the lead researcher and author of a 2008 Mankato Youth Services study and report.  A follow-up qualitative study is currently underway.