Dr. Giesela Grumbach, PhD, LCSW, PEL

  Department Chair
  708-235-7690ext. 7690
  Office Location: G120
  Office Hours: By appointment
  College: CHHS

Social Work



Clinical Practice



Giesela Grumbach received her Master’s degree in Social Work from Loyola University of Chicago and her Ph.D. in Social Work from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Dr. Grumbach also holds a two-year postgraduate certificate in Marriage and Family Therapy from the Family Institute at Northwestern University.

Dr. Grumbach believes that research informs practice as practice informs research; it is a reciprocal relationship. Her work experience shapes her interests in many ways. Prior to her career in academia, she worked in medical and mental health settings, schools, and as a private practitioner/mitigation specialist. These varied experiences provide her with a breadth of knowledge that, in turn, informs her teaching and leadership at GSU.

Dr. Grumbach began working for GSU as an adjunct in 2000 and sat on the social work advisory board, then became a full-time lecturer in 2011, the Director of Field Education in 2013, Assistant Professor in 2015, Associate Professor in 2021, and now the Chair of the Social Work Department as of December 2023.

Dr. Grumbach's leadership experiences include being selected (competitive process) to participate in a two-year national leadership training - National Extension Leadership Development (NELD). She also served as an Interim County Director at the University of Illinois Extension and as a professional leader in the National Association of Social Workers, IL Chapter (Chicago Area District Chair, 2003-2005 and President, 2005-2007).

Dr. Grumbach loves the profession of social work and has a stake in helping to vet the next generation of social workers. What she loves about working at Governors State University is serving diverse students. She is often encouraged by students who are new to social work, as they display a certain enthusiasm to learn more about the helping profession. Additionally, she loves that students who are more seasoned bring their own level of knowledge and experience to the learning environment. As the chair of the social work department, Dr. Grumbach encourages faculty development and innovation. Her leadership style is relational and culturally responsive.

Her scholarly work included participation as an early-stage investigator (ESI) on the Governors State University (GSU) and the University of Illinois Cancer Center (UICC) Disparities Education Program (GUIDE). GUIDE project was a P20 National Cancer Institute-funded career development, training, mentorship, and research grant. In addition, Dr. Grumbach received as a co-PI a National Endowment of the Arts grant ($60,000) to study arts participation and sense of belonging.

Link to Dr. Grumbach's Podcast "Social Workers as Education Collaborators with Dr. Giesela Grumbach.


  • Keller, J., & Grumbach, G. (2022). School Social Work: A Skills-Based Competency Approach. Springer Publishing Company.
  • Johnson, A., McKay-Jackson, C., & Grumbach, G. (2017). Critical service learning toolkit: Social work strategies for promoting healthy youth development. Oxford University Press.


  • Grumbach, G., Johnson, A., Engel, E., & Campos-Moreira, L. D. (2021). Virtual termination amidst COVID-19: Strategies for school social work interns and field instructors. Children and Schools.
  • Grumbach, G., Villarreal Sosa, L., Lindsey, B., Johnson, A. H., & Delgado, A. (2021). Narrative resistance to organizational hegemony and power plays: Illinois school social workers fight for voice and inclusion. School Social Work Journal, 46(1), 1-10.
  • McKay-Jackson, C., Grumbach, G., & Campos-Moreira, L. D. (2021). The Wakanda effect: A protective factor to navigate racialized environments. Journal of Ethnic and Cultural Diversity in Social Work, 1-12.
  • Campos-Moreira, L. D., Cummings, M. I., Grumbach, G., Williams, H. E., & Hooks, K. (2020). Making a case for culturally humble leadership practices through a culturally responsive leadership framework. Human Service Organizations: Management, Leadership & Governance. 1-8.
  • Henderson, V., Chukwudozie, I. B., Comer-Hagans, D., Coffey, V., Grumbach, G., Spencer, S., Rodgers, C., Kaur, R., Newsome, J., Balay, L., Maga, T., Kendall, L., Balthazar, C., Watson, K., Winn, R., Odoms-Young, A., & Hoskins, K. F. (2020). Development of a culturally targeted narrative intervention to promote genetic counseling among African American women at risk for hereditary breast cancer. Cancer.
  • Calvin1, D., Grumbach2. G., Dancy, B., Tahsin, B., Fogelfeld, L., Mehrotra, R., & Mehrotra, N. (2019). Illness Perceptions of African-Americans with Chronic Kidney Disease. Journal of National Black Nurses' Association: JNBNA, 30(1), 21-28.
  • Quinn, C. R., & Grumbach, G. (2015). Critical Race Theory and the Limits of Relational Theory in Social Work with Women. Journal of Ethnic & Cultural Diversity in Social Work, 24(3), 202-218.