The Catholic University of America

Michaela L. Zajicek-Farber, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
National Catholic School of Social Service


Ph.D., Social Work, CUA, NCSSS, 1990
M.S.W., Social Work, CUA, NCSSS, 1979
B.A., Social Work and Psychology, Cleveland State University, 1977

Biographical Information

Dr. Farber started her early social work career as an MSW training-fellow in the Leadership in Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) program at the Kennedy Krieger (formerly known as John F. Kennedy Institute) in Baltimore, Maryland.  Since 2005, she continues to serve as the Co-Principal Investigator for CUA and a faculty-mentor for the discipline of social work at the Leadership in Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) program at the National Children’s Medical Center, Washington, D.C. LEND is a two-tiered, year-long, certificate-based interdisciplinary training program funded by a grant from the Maternal Child and Health Bureau (MCHB) for graduate-level students and other professionals in disabilities. Through the LEND program, she also has a recent co-appointment at the GWU for  teaching a graduate year-long course on disabilities in LEND, starting fall of 2010.

Academically, Dr. Farber began teaching in the NCSSS-MSW program in 1991, joining CUA - as an assistant professor in 2003. She has taught MSW foundation courses on social work research methods; generalist practice with individuals, families, and groups; human behavior and social environment; and advanced social work practice and program evaluation; and context of social work practice with families and children. She has also taught a foundation research course in the doctoral program, and in an undergraduate program.

With two other NCSSS faculty colleagues, Dr. Farber co-found, later directed, and is a continuing member of a CUA-NCSSS research center, presently known as the Center for Advancement of Children, Youth, and Families (CACYF). She has conducted and developed multiple research projects including population needs assessments, and process and outcome evaluations, designed to strengthen the capacity of local and national social agencies to respond to the complex needs of high-risk families with children and adolescents.

She is an ongoing member of the National Early Head Start Research Consortium and continues to serve as the senior research analyst for the EHS longitudinal study for the CUA-EHS-site. She frequently reviews grants and has co-written grants for ACF, SAMHSA, and OERI. She has just (2010) received a new major collaborative grant contract with the Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Institute of Washington, DC, funded by the administration of Children and Families (ACF), to develop and evaluate an Early Head Start program designed to address multiple needs of low-income families of children with disabilities. 

She is a frequent presenter at major professional conferences, e.g., having recently presented on a research study examining the connections between early maternal depression and children’s emergent language at the Society for Social Work Research (SSWR) in January 2010; and is currently heading to present in March at the 17th Biennial Conference of the International Society for Infant Studies (ISIS) on examining the moderating effects of gender and race on the connections between maternal depression, parenting stress, child-routines, child emotional regulation, and children’s language in three year old children.

In 2009, Dr. Farber was promoted to the CUA rank of Associate Professor with tenure. At present, she focuses on teaching research methods and evaluation courses at NCSSS across the undergraduate, MSW, and doctoral levels of the social work curriculum.

Dr. Farber also has over 20 years experience as a clinical social worker, case manager, and a consultant, providing social services in the context of agency and private practice settings to families and children affected by chronic health conditions, developmental disabilities, mental illness, trauma, substance abuse, violence, poverty, and immigration. She maintains LCSW-C clinical license and has a Diplomate-level certification by the National Association of Social Workers )(NASW) and the American Board of Examiners for Clinical Social Work (ABECSW).

Personally, Dr. Farber has derived experience from living in North-Eastern Europe (Czech Republic - Prague) and India (Hyderabad, Trichinopolli). She and her husband have two children, one Siamese, one eastern short-haired tabby, and a Scottish terrier. In some of her spare time, she also enjoys swimming, skiing, and seeking sea-shells besides gardening, cooking, reading, and pondering research projects. She welcomes similarly shared information.