Charlie Pitre Hoy-Ellis portrait
  • Assistant Professor, College Of Social Work
  • Faculty Research Affiliate , W. D. Goodwill Initiatives on Aging , University of Utah, College of Social Work
  • Faculty Affiliate, Gerontology Interdisciplinary Program , Con Nursing

Current Courses

Spring 2022

  • SW 6120-001
    Reflexive Social Work I
    Location: SW 301 (SW 301)
  • SW 6120-003
    Reflexive Social Work I
    Location: SW 251 (SW 251)

Professional Organizations

  • American Society on Aging. 10/2016 - present. Position : Member.
  • National Association of Social Workers (NASW). 04/2016 - present. Position : Member.
  • LGBTQ Affirming Therapists Guild – Utah . 12/2015 - present. Position : Member.
  • Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). 05/2014 - present. Position : Member.
  • Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR). 11/2011 - present. Position : Member.
  • Gerontological Society of America (GSA). 10/2011 - present. Position : Member.
  • Association for Gerontological Education in Social Work (AGE-SW). 03/2011 - present. Position : Member.

Practice History

  • Bridge Training Clinic, University of Utah. Clinical social work practice with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) adults. 08/24/2017 - present .
  • Seattle Counseling Service for Sexual Minorities: Psychotherapist, Chemical Dependency Counselor, HIV Specialist, Mental Health Specialist (Sexual Minorities), Case Manager, Practicum Instructor Provided full range of psychotherapeutic & substance abuse treatment & counseling services, including assessment, diagnosis, treatment-planning, implementation, & evaluation for individuals, families, & groups. Outreach & consultation services to area treatment providers & organizations. 09/2004 - present .

Teaching Philosophy

Teaching Interests: Direct Social Work Practice; Human Behavior in the Social Environment; Mental Health Practice; Gerontological Social Work Practice; Empowerment Practice with Sexual & Gender Minorities

My respect for the profession of teaching stretches back to my childhood, when my teachers were the proverbial “positive” adults in my life. My passion for teaching is the result of several inspiring professors that I have had the opportunity to learn with. My teaching philosophy derives from these experiences and the years of teaching experience that I have had. The sheer joy that I obtain from teaching comes from the students themselves – especially when I learn from them. I strive to motivate and inspire students in the same manner I have been inspired and motivated. When I read feedback from a former student, such as, “...excellent class, fabulous instructor! Only wish the course was longer, I enjoyed it so much. Charlie has made an impact on my future, and will be remembered by me…,” I smile inside and gratefully acknowledge those who taught me how to learn and how to teach.

Teaching Philosophy: I believe that teaching social work and social welfare students is a form of direct social work practice. Those who engage in direct social work practice do so in order to effect change in the pursuit of social justice. Social work practitioners seek to empower and foster individual, group, community, and societal growth and development. Teaching future social work practitioners is a particular arena whereby the focus of practice is on cultivating the growth and empowering the development of students and the institutions in which they are trained, as well as those in which they will serve.

My teaching philosophy is guided by the core values of social work: social justice, service, dignity and worth of persons, the importance of human relationships, integrity, and competence. By exploring and examining together the sociocultural and environmental contexts that influence and are influenced by people and institutions, and by fostering critical thinking so that students (and I) are prepared to engage in reflective action, we pursue social justice. Through establishing respectful and genuine relationships, and making clear that I learn from my students just as they learn from me, we engage ubuntu – the Nguni word for the idea that we are only fully and truly human through our relationships with others. It is important that I be extremely knowledgeable about the course content, be competent in the classroom, and that I grapple with that knowledge in a way that is meaningful for students. It is imperative that I be creative so that students are motivated not only to grasp the content, but also actually learn to be critical thinkers. One way that I do this is to bring both my practice and research experience into the classroom.  When students see that the relationships between social work education, practice, and research mirror human relationships, they are much more engaged in the material. By trusting that students are doing the best that they can with what they have, the relationships that we build are ones of integrity. Through attending to these values, we mutually become the change that we wish to see in the world.

Instructor was excellent in creating an atmosphere of critical thinking. I have started thinking about concepts I’ve never thought about before.” –BSW Student, Intro to Social Work

Topics chosen, readings & discussion questions made me apply learning to practicum site. This combo effect really challenged me in understanding my values, social work values, cultural competency, & ethics. All the combination of all aspects made this class a place for me to learn on a much deeper level.
 – MSW Student, Multigenerational Integrative Seminar

Teaching Goals: From my perspective as a social welfare scholar, the ultimate goal in teaching is to foster a transformation in students’ thinking, from simple, “received authority,” to complex, critical thinking. To challenge what we know and how we know what we know, and who benefits from any particular truth-claim is the essence of critical thinking. I have seen how students can be transformed in this process. One of my favorite assignments, the “reaction paper,” illustrates this. In this assignment, students are required to identify a statement, concept, or text from the current section’s readings that impacted them in some way. They then write a 2- to 3-page paper wherein they state what their reaction was (i.e., what they thought and/or felt when they read it), and then discuss that reaction in-depth; why did they react the way they did? What is the origin of their stance? Has their thinking changed in light of reflecting upon the idea and their reaction? If so, how; if not, why not? As important is the final challenge of the exercise – what are they going to do about it? Through this “low-stakes” exercise, I have witnessed students make amazing discoveries about themselves, the world, and they ways that they think about themselves in relation to the world. Through these transformational experiences I have seen students come to the awareness that change is so much more than an abstract concept; change is reflective, critical thinking coupled with action – praxis. This is of course a life-long process. Yet when I read students’ comments such as the two above, I believe that I have achieved some success in meeting my teaching goals.

Teaching and learning is a mutually constitutive process; it is also a skill that has the potential to be developed into an art. Because I endeavor to be as competent a teacher as I can, I must be cognizant of student learning styles (e.g., visual vs. kinesthetic) and educational level (i.e., undergraduate vs. graduate) in order to tailor the learning experience appropriately. This allows me to select and engage appropriate evidence-based modalities (e.g., group projects, small/large discussions, case studies, multimedia) in order to engage the spectrum of students’ learning styles and developmental levels. Research on learning has clearly demonstrated that “segmenting” 20 – 30 minutes per activity (e.g., brief lecture, case study, discussion) optimizes student learning. By structuring each class session so that multiple modalities are incorporated, students remain engaged.

Weaving evidence-based research and practice wisdom into teaching and learning is a skill – it is the what and the how of effective teaching practice. Challenging students to become more critical thinkers is the why of my passion for teaching – the nexus wherein practice becomes art. When my teaching is artful, students come to understand that deep learning is more a process than a product, taking place everywhere and every-when. As I continue to develop my teaching skills and knowledge, my practice of teaching continues to evolve into my art of teaching.

Small Group Teaching

  • Transforming Classrooms into Inclusive Communities (TCIC).  09/01/2016  -  present