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College of Social Work

Faculty and Staff

Patrice Penney, MSW, LCSW

Title: Clinical Assistant Professor
College of Social Work
Phone: 803-777-9461
Office: Hamilton 323
Resources: Curriculum Vitae
Penney Patrice


Professor Patrice Penney joined the faculty of the College of Social Work in 2015 as a clinical assistant professor. Since 2017, Penney has served as an advanced field practicum supervisor for Heritage Academy in Augusta, Ga., where she developed a new field practicum site in trauma-informed school social work. In 2018, she was awarded Teacher of the Year by graduating Master of Social Work students. Prior to joining the University of South Carolina, Penney was a clinical director for an organization in Chicago, an adjunct faculty at Wheaton College and faculty member at Africa International University in Nairobi, Kenya.  

Penney launched the Initiative for Children at Risk Africa (ICARA) in August 2014. She is executive director for the non-profit organization which trains caregivers of orphaned and vulnerable children currently in nine countries of sub‐Saharan Africa, develops trauma counseling resources for children, and is committed to research and advocacy. To date, more than 1,000 African caregivers, social workers, teachers, administrators, pastors and government officials have been trained, reaching nearly 200,000 children. Penney also self-published, “Nurturing Hearts: Understanding and Meeting the Psychosocial Needs of Orphaned and Vulnerable Children,” for use in Africa. The African-based curriculum addresses the psychosocial needs of orphaned and vulnerable children through nurturing trauma-informed caregiving.

Penney has 35 years’ experience clinical experience as a psychotherapist - 32 as a clinical supervisor and 17 as clinical director. In the Chicago area from 1983 to 2003, she worked with urban, low-income children, youth and families. She established the Outreach Community Center in Carol Stream, Ill. in 1986 and served as its first director. In addition to managing the programs, Penney developed a community mental health clinic and a strong clinical internship program – training and supervising more than 70 master’s level interns during her tenure.     

After moving to Kenya in 2003, Penney provided training and consultation for two mental health centers, and several schools and government institutions. At Africa International University, she developed and taught all courses in the counseling post-graduate diploma program and later assisted in the development of an undergraduate psychology program, with a specialization in child and family counseling. 

Penney earned her Master of Social Work from the University of Illinois, Jane Addams College of Social Work, with a child and family specialization.

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