UVF Welcomes New Department Chair and Director

by Office of Marketing | Sep 30, 2014
Dr. Debra Brown
Debra Brown
Debra Brown, D.Min., grew up in a community of altruism. Her family consisted of nurses, teachers and ministers. Brown’s desire to help people led her to a career in social work, where she gained the necessary knowledge, skills and tools to follow God’s calling. That was only the beginning. She has served as a social worker, professor, pastor and counselor. Throughout her various careers, Brown combined social work and ministry, believing the market and mission field are equal. This fall, Brown returned to the  University of Valley Forge (UVF) as the Department of Behavioral Sciences chair, director of the social work program and associate professor.

Brown holds a B.S.W. and a M.S.W. from St. Louis University and is an ordained Assemblies of God minister. In Kansas City, Mo. she began her career as a social worker and then transitioned to teaching social work. After receiving her doctorate, she joined the pastoral staff at the Sheffield Family Life Center where she was the first female pastor hired in the church’s history. Brown first joined the faculty at UVF in 2008 and stayed for three years as the director of the social work program and associate professor. Most recently, she worked as a human services specialist and vocational rehabilitation counselor from 2012–2013 in Overland Park, Kan.

In describing her diverse career, Brown says she was always ministering and using her social work skills in the different venues. “I have been blessed to have a variety of roles,” she said, roles that were natural segues to working with different types of people where she addressed many of the same issues inside and outside the church. “God just changes the arena,” she said. “The mission does not change.” For Brown, UVF is a place where her experiences weave together and connect to expand her mission of helping others.

She looks forward to being with the students, the millennial generation whom she has always felt drawn to, because she understands the transparency and authenticity they crave. “I’m ready to give back and I think this is a generation to pour into, to equip and empower — to see what God has in store.” Brown's roles at UVF include helping students develop in the careers and passions God has given them. “God calls people according to His plan,” she said. “He looks at your heart and is going to ask, ‘Did you do what I called you to do?’”

Among the students, she said she is known as tough but fair. The social work program is rigorous. It teaches students how to analyze cases, think critically, communicate successfully and write effectively. Brown is wholly committed to pursue accountability and excellence academically and spiritually in the Department of Behavioral Sciences.