Social work

Alejandra Acuna, Ph.D., MSW, LCSW, PPSC

Assistant Professor
Office location:
ST 207


Alejandra Acuña, Assistant Professor, joined the CSUN faculty in fall of 2015. Dr. Acuña is the Principal Investigator and Program Director of Minority Male Mentoring (M3), a multi-disciplinary and multi-tiered approach with promising practices for promoting student success among male college students of color. 

Dr. Acuña earned her PhD in Social Welfare from UCLA and her MSW from UC Berkeley.  She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and holds a Pupil Personnel Services Credential (PPSC) in Child Welfare and Attendance and School Social Work.

In nearly 30 years of work in health and human services, Dr. Acuña has experience in macro- to micro-level social work practice primarily with low-income ethnic minority urban youth and families in various settings – non-profit community based organizations, child protective services, and public school districts.  

Dr. Acuña has taught social work courses at CSULA, UCLA and CSUN and won local and national awards for field instruction. At CSUN, she teaches practice, human behavior, policy, and research courses.

Dr. Acuña provides consultation and training,   presents at conferences locally and nationally, and is the lead author of several peer-reviewed journal articles on topics that include school-based interventions, parenting & family communication, PTSD & resilience, Latin American immigrants, and minority male college student success. 

Her research interests include urban youth and families, trauma- and resilience-informed and responsive systems, and cultural/traditional approaches to mental health treatment.


Acuña, M.A., & Martinez, J.I. (2018). Pilot Evaluation of Back to Basics Parenting Training in Urban Schools. School Social Work Journal, 42(2), 39-56.

Kataoka, S., Vona, P., Acuña, M.A., Jaycox, L., Escudero, P., Rojas, C., Ramirez, E., Langley, A., & Stein, B.D. (2018) Applying a Trauma Informed School Systems Approach: Examples from School Community-Academic Partnerships. Ethnicity & Disease, 28(2), 1-10

Acuña, A. & Kataoka, S. (2017). Family Communication Styles and Resilience among Adolescents. Social Work62(3), 261-269.

Acuña, A., Martinez, J., Ricks, B., Swain, J. (2017). Minority male mentoring: A multi-tiered model for college success. In S. Whalen (Ed.), Proceedings of the 13th National Symposium on Student Retention, Destin, Florida. (pp. 217-232). Norman, OK: The University of Oklahoma.

Acuña. A. & Escudero, P. (2015). Helping those who come here alone. Phi Delta Kappan, 97, 42-45.