Areas of Research and/or Practice

Dr. Ritter’s professional social work experience has focused on child welfare, child well-being, and children’s rights. In her research she has studied the political participation of social workers in the U.S. She is the author of two books: 101 Careers in Social Work and Social Work Policy Practice: Changing our Community, Nation, and the World.


Jessica Ritter is a Full Professor of Social Work in the Department of Social Work at MSU Denver. Dr. Ritter grew up in Texas, but since receiving her PhD she has been a faculty member at George Mason University in the DC area and at Pacific University located just outside of Portland, Oregon. At Pacific University she served as the BSW Program Director and Associate Dean of Social Sciences. Dr. Ritter began her social work career in child protection due to her strong desire for working with children and families served by the child welfare system. Her career as a social worker and social work academic has been dedicated to child welfare and children’s rights as well as political advocacy focused on social and economic justice issues.

Professor Ritter earned her BSW, MSSW, and PhD in social work at the University of Texas at Austin. She teaches a variety of courses including Generalist Practice, Child Maltreatment, Research Methods, and Social Welfare Policy. She has a special passion for teaching policy with the goal of getting social work students excited about social policy, demystifying the political process, increasing students’ levels of political efficacy, and inspiring them to be engaged politically. Dr. Ritter is a Fulbright scholar and is the author of two books—101 Careers in Social Work and Social Work Policy Practice: Changing our Community, Nation, and the World. Being a social work educator is one of the great joys of her life!