Dr. Elizabeth Sharda

Assistant Professor of Social Work
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Elizabeth began teaching as an assistant professor of social work in fall 2017. She teaches Interventions III, Child Welfare, Practice with Diverse Populations and Introduction to Social Work and supervises senior social work students in field placements. In addition, she is developing a course on child trauma. She earned her Ph.D. in social work at Michigan State University, where her dissertation research focused on stress, retention, well-being and social support among licensed foster parents.

She has practiced for over 10 years in the social work field in a variety of roles and at a variety of practice levels, including residential treatment, foster care, trauma treatment, program development and trauma-informed system change. She continues to train child welfare professionals and parents on child trauma, secondary trauma and self- and community-care. Her current research relates to foster parenting and its impact on foster parents.

AREAS OF Expertise

  • Traumatic stress – the experience and effects of trauma on individuals, particularly children in the context of chronic and complex trauma
  • Secondary trauma – the negative impact of helping on the helper (e.g., social workers) and factors which may impede or promote helpers’ resilience
  • Social support – both emotional and practical support from a variety of sources and its usefulness in promoting resilience in the context of risk and stress
  • Mindfulness – the construct of mindfulness and its application to various populations under stress, particularly parents


  • Ph.D., Michigan State University, 2020
  • MSW, Grand Valley State University, 2006
  • B.A., social work and political science, Hope College, 2002


Profile photo of Dr. Elizabeth Sharda
Dr. Elizabeth Sharda

Phone Number616.395.7553

Van Zoeren Hall Room 255A 41 Graves Place Holland, MI 49423
A map showing the location for Dr. Elizabeth Sharda Van Zoeren Hall Room 255A 41 Graves Place Holland MI 49423