Avila University’s Lindee Petersen Wilson teaches students to learn more about themselves, the world they are living in, and to always have a deeper sense of knowledge and compassion about important and complex social work issues such as environmental, economic and social justice.
Wilson, who teaches generalist social work, life-span development and family/group practice, has been a member of the Avila family since 2002. She says that although she is still learning, she loves to teach.
“There are few places beyond the classroom that I feel as energized, excited and have as much fun,” Wilson said. “I have learned more through teaching than I ever learned being a student, and I am grateful to each and every one of my students because of that.”
Wilson brings to her class extensive social work experience in child and family services, as well as seventeen years of teaching experience in schools of social work. Wilson is also a Licensed Specialist Clinical Social Worker (LSCSW) in Kansas with a small private practice specializing in a therapy model called Internal Family Systems (IFS).
“I am considered one of the national experts in the use of the model and one of only three people trained in the model in the Kansas City region,” Wilson said. “The model works with concepts of ‘multiplicity’ and ‘core self’ and promotes self leadership as well as spiritual development and wisdom.”
When not in the classroom, Wilson likes to show off her creative side by making art. She started making masks as part of a women’s spirituality group eight years ago.
Eventually the masks became a way to express the different aspects of her personality, a particular era in her life, or an alter ego.
“I love to be artistic and have a series of bisque masks that I have worked on portraying different aspects of my personality and growth as a woman,” Wilson said. “I haven't used them in classes at the BSW level, but I am preparing a workshop to present at a national therapy conference about using masks to externalize parts of ourselves that may be stuck in the past, or carrying burdens, etc.”
Wilson also sketches and writes poetry. She is even learning German for a trip next summer. Chaperoning her daughter’s orchestra trip, Wilson said she is excited because most of her extended relatives emigrated from northern Germany. For Wilson, her husband Mike, and daughter Erin, this will be their first trip to Europe.
“Because we are chaperoning, I don't know how much free time I will have to do any networking with social service people in Germany, but if possible, I would like to figure out how to do that,” Wilson said. “I will definitely encourage my students to have cross-cultural immersion experiences by traveling to other countries.”
Integrating lessons from her personal life into her teaching is a skill that Wilson has mastered, and she feels it’s her time to educate the next generation.
“I see this part of my career as providing social work to my profession by educating the next generations of social workers using the best of my years of experience as a generalist practitioner and integrating that with a strong academic base,” Wilson said.