Full-Time Faculty

Tien Ung, M.S.W., Ph.D.

Assistant Professor & Director of the Urban Leadership Program

View Complete Curriculum Vitae


  • B.A., Brandeis University
  • M.S.W., Boston College Graduate School of Social Work
  • Ph.D., Boston College Graduate School of Social Work

Courses Taught

  • SW411 - Human Behavior in the Social Environment
  • SW 421A & SW 421B - Introduction to Social Work Practice
  • SW 424 - Advanced Social Work Practice
  • SW 451 - Seminar in Leadership
  • SW 652 - Introduction to Multivariate Statistics
  • SW 902 - Relational and Contextual Treatment of Trauma

Scholarly and Practice Interests

Tien Ung is an Assistant Professor at Simmons School of Social Work and Director of the Urban Leadership Program.   Dr. Ung teaches courses on research, leadership, trauma, and social work practice. As a practitioner-scholar, Dr. Ung works with clients, trains practitioners, and provides organizational consultation in child and family settings with specific expertise in child and family trauma in the contexts of child protection, adoption, forensic social work, and immigrant and refugee mental health. Consequently, Dr. Ung's research is broadly focused in the area of transnationalism, with particular attention to the effects of culture and intercultural dynamics on identity, mental health, and well-being.

Dr. Ung anchors her practice experience in her research by drawing on the principles of community-engaged scholarship.  Motivated by translational science, she draws on a unique framework developed during her doctoral studies, which explores relationships between social capital, human capital, and cultural capital to examine client, practitioner, and community resilience, recovery, and well-being.

Selected Publications

Ung, T., Tendulkar, S., & Chu, J. (in press). A few good Asians: Unpacking cultural dimensions of the model minority myth and deconstructing pathways to complicity.  Hartlep, N. (Ed.) Killing the model minority stereotype: Asian-American counter-stories and complicity, Chapter 15. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

Ung, T., Furman, R. and Wall, M. (Revised and resubmitted). Writing as a method of praxis: Implications for social work practice.

Furman, R., Sanchez, M., Ackerman, A., & Ung, T. (2013). The immigration detention center as a transnational problem: Implications for international social work. Journal of international social work.

Ung, T. (2013). Systemic parallels: The impact of criminalization of immigration on work with Asian victims of intimate partner violence. In Ackerman. A, & Furman, R. (2013). (Eds.) The Criminalization of Immigration: Contexts and Consequences. Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press.

Ung, T. (Under review). Marry me: The use of marital narratives as a method of assessment with battered Asian women.

Ung, T. (2012). Beyond translation: Becoming a bicultural professional. Reflections: Narratives of professional helping, 18(4).

Ung, T., Harris O'Connor, S., & Pillidge, R. (2012). The development of racial identity in transracially adopted persons: An ecological approach. Adoption and Fostering, 36, pp. 73-84.

Ung, Tien. (2008). Pathways to child maltreatment in families: Exploring social capital, human capital, and functioning. Dissertation Abstracts International. (Publication No. AAT 3176657).

Selected Presentations

Ung, T. (2013, June 6-8). Understanding parallel processes in family violence work: A phenomological exploration of Asian community based workers. Poster accepted for presentation at the North American Refugee Health Conference, Toronto, Canada.

Ung, T. (2013, May 23). "Social capital - the missing link in addressing family violence." Invited keynote address at the Annual Parents Helping Parents Lecture. Boston, Ma.

Ung, T. (2013, April 11). "Inside Pandora's box: Therapeutic jurisprudence, psycholegal soft spots, and trauma informed practice - Implications for child protection attorneys." Invited keynote address at the Annual Massachusetts Department of Children and Families Statewide Legal Staff Meeting. Wakefield, MA.

Ung, T. (November, 2012). Hidden dragon, crouching tiger - Resiliency, agency, and trauma: Paradoxes and parallels in child welfare. Invited keynote address given at the Annual Massachusetts Child Welfare Institute's Supervisor's Forum. Marlborough, Ma.

Ung, T. (June, 2012). Addressing adaptive challenges facing the Asian American Mental Health Workforce: What we know, what we need, and how we might get there. Invited workshop presented at the Third Annual Asian American and Pacific Islander Mental Health Forum: Fostering health minds in children and families. Boston, Ma.

Ung, T. (June, 2012). Tram nghe không bang mat thay (Observation is the best teacher): Utilizing community based participatory methods to inform social work practice. Refereed paper presented at the International Conference on Social Work and Social Policy. Hanoi, Vietnam.

Ung, T. (May, 2012). Principles of trauma informed child welfare practice: Perspectives from the field. Invited keynote address at Inaugural Massachusetts Child Welfare Institute Annual Forum. Boston, Ma.

Ung, T. (April, 2012). Commitment and balance: Understanding the perspective and mental health needs of Asian survivors of intimate partner violence. Invited presentation for Community Violence : Multiple contexts, Interventions, and Prevention at Simmons School of Social Work Annual Alumni and Professional Development Day. Boston, Ma.

Ung, T. (2011, November). Asian American girls and women ethnic/racial identity development: Why should we care? Presented at ASPIRE 7th Annual Asian American women in Leadership Conference, Boston, MA

Ung, T. (2010, September). Pathways to culturally competent communities. Presented at the Annual Alumni Program meeting at Simmons College School of Social Work, Boston, MA.

Ung, T. (2010, August). Becoming a bi-cultural professional. Presented at the Newton Public Schools Annual Safe Initiatives Symposium, Newton, MA.

Ung, T. (2010, May). Developing culturally responsive communities: Pathways to youth resilience. Presented at the Safe School and Health Students Initiative Meeting at the National Center for Mental Health Promotion and Youth Violence Prevention, Boston, MA.

Ung, T. (2010, April). Engaging families, organizations & communities: From cultural competence to cultural responsiveness. Presented at the National Association of Social Workers at the Massachusetts Chapter Biennial Professional Symposium, Framingham, MA.

Ung, T. (2010, January). Chia buon do buon: Empowering Asian survivors of domestic violence through social capital. Presented at Simmons College School of Social Work, Boston, MA.

Ung, T. (2008, November). Critical thinking, professional identity, EBP, and portfolios: Lessons from a pilot project. Presented at the Council of Social Work Education's 54th Annual Program Meeting, Philadelphia, PA.

Ung, T. (2008, April). The impact of trauma on pre-schoolers: Interviewing and assessing preschoolers. Presented at Simmons College Alumni Day Symposium: From Trauma to Transformation. Simmons School of Social Work, Boston, MA

Ung, T. (2008, April). To be or not to be: Classroom diversity and perspectives. Presented at the NASW Massachusetts Chapter 10th Biennial Social Work Symposium, Newton, MA.

Selected Grant Activity

President's Fund for Faculty Excellence, Simmons College. Prinicpal Investigator. Title: Understanding parallel processes in family violence work: A phenomenological exploration of Asian community based workers. (2011-2012).

President's Fund for Faculty Excellence, Simmons College. Co-Principal Investigator. Title: Community-based services for Somali Refugees: Addressing social capital, human capital, and cultural capital toward family functioning and well-being. (2009-2010).

Consulting and Professional Activity

  • Private Practice - 2003-Present
  • Asian Task Force against Domestic Violence - Consultant - 2009-2012
  • Massachusetts Institute for Technology - Consultant - 2008-2012