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Amy Murphy-Nugen

Amy Murphy-Nugen

College of Health and Human Sciences

Social Work

Contact Information

Phone: 828.227.3698
Office: 312 Health and Human Sciences Building
Pronouns: She/her/hers


Dr. Amy Murphy-Nugen joined the social work faculty at Western Carolina University in 2014. She has over 20 years of social work practice and policy experience in the areas of housing, community building and engagement, community economic development, and not-for-profit management/leadership. Her professional experience includes providing team leadership; analyzing and advocating for socially and economically just local, state, federal legislation and administrative policy; delivering organizational capacity technical assistance to not-for-profit community-based development organizations and local units of government; and, managing a fee-for-service line of business that provided needed technical services and diversified funding for her employer’s social mission. <br> <br>Dr. Murphy-Nugen enjoys serving as a consultant to community partners where her academic knowledge complements her practical experience to help build human, social, and political capacity. For example, she facilitated a public input and planning process for a town’s Corridor Community Revitalization Plan. The process included engaging residents, collecting and analyzing primary data, and reviewing key community planning documents. The plan and community involvement was identified as critical components of a successful Low Income Housing Tax Credit application, which resulted in the construction of affordable units for older adult residents. Dr. Murphy-Nugen has facilitated inclusive community building and engagement processes for groups with five key stakeholders to neighborhoods with 40,000 residents as well as county-wide planning efforts and everything in between.<br> <br>She welcomes partnerships and collaborations with students and community stakeholders that strengthen individual well-being, not-for-profit organizational capacity and community quality of life.


  • Ph D, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis, Social Work
  • MSW, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis, MACRO (management, advocacy, communities, research, organizations)
  • BA, Indiana University-Bloomington, Gender Studies and Political Science

Teaching Interests

Dr. Murphy-Nugen teaches courses on rural community advocacy and policy; community and organizational behavior and practice; and, financial capability and asset-building in social work practice. She has a strong commitment to mentoring emerging social work practitioners as demonstrated by her service as a field instructor and through student-faculty research collaborations.

Research Interests

Community development and housing issues; housing loss; foreclosure; disenfranchised grief<br><br>Scholarship of teaching and learning; high-impact practices; team-based learning; service learning <br><br>Student-faculty research collaborations: the experience of women who were incarcerated and participated in post-secondary education; the experience of older adults participating in a life review writing group; the experience of Transgender individuals living in Appalachia

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