Center Director
Center for Family and Community Engagement (CfFaCE)
North Carolina State University 
Box 8622 
Raleigh, North Carolina, U.S.A.
Web: http://www.cfface.org
General Office: (919) 513-2339
Fax: (919) 513-7980
Email: jpennell@ncsu.edu
Voice: (919) 513-3464
Department of Social Work
North Carolina State University
Box 7639
Raleigh, North Carolina, U.S.A.
Web: https://sites.google.com/a/ncsu.edu/pennell/
Voice: (919) 513-0008
Fax: (919) 515-4403

Administration & Teaching

Joan Pennell is Professor of Social Work and Director of the Center for Family & Community Engagement at North Carolina State University. The work of the Center has been ongoing since 1998; in 2008, the Center was approved by the NC State University Board of Trustees. The Center is nationally and internationally known for its work on family-centered meetings. Prior to becoming Center Director, she served as Department Head of Social Work at North Carolina State University. Before her return to the United States, she was the Interim Director and Chair of the Ph.D. Studies Program at the School of Social Work at Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada. Earlier, she taught at the University of Manitoba Faculty of Social Work in Winnipeg.

Research & Publications

Her research and publications are directed toward fostering constructive partnerships for engaging families and communities and countering violence. She is the Principal Investigator for the North Carolina Family-Centered Meetings Project in child welfare, public schools, and system of care. She served as Principal Investigator for two family group conferencing projects: the North Carolina Family Group Conferencing Project and (with Gale Burford) the Family Group Decision Making Project in Newfoundland & Labrador (Canada). She is a consultant for the external evaluation of Family Team Meetings in the District of Columbia's Child and Family Services Agency. Her areas of study and scholarship include child welfare, schools, domestic violence, youth justice, aboriginal programming, organizational development, community practice, feminist education, and empowerment research. She co-authored Community Research as Empowerment: Feminist Links, Postmodern Interruptions(Oxford University Press, 1996), Family group conferencing: Evaluation guidelines (American Humane Association, 2002), and Widening the Circle: The Practice and Evaluation of Family Group Conferencing with Children, Youths, and their Families (NASW Press, 2005). In addition to academic publications, she has prepared brochures, manuals, media presentations, and videos.

Training & Evaluation

Her training and consultation work has included child and family programs, public schools, women's organizations, First Nations/Native American programs, criminal justice workers, and health personnel and has focused on family group conferencing, research/evaluation, organizational development, and group work. On family group conferencing, and more generally family-centered meetings, she has provided training in North Carolina, New York, South Carolina, Oregon, Virginia, Utah, Vermont, California, and Wisconsin as well as in Canada, England, Australia, New Zealand, and the Netherlands. On partnership-building evaluation, she has served as a consultant to the Healthy Families/Thriving Communities Collaboratives in Washington, DC.

Practice & Policy

Her practice work has included child protection, individual and family counseling, and organizational and community development, and her policy work has been particularly in youth justice, child welfare, domestic violence, and university education. Appointed to the National Crime Prevention Council (Canada), she helped to develop national policy on crime prevention and, as chair of its Youth Justice Committee, specifically for youth crime. In her testimony/briefs and presentations, she has emphasized using social development and community-building strategies.