Connie Corley, MSW, MA, PhD, has a long history of engagement in the fields of gerontology and geriatrics—since her graduate studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor beginning in the late 1970s. As a doctoral faculty member in the School of Leadership Studies at Fielding Graduate University, Dr. Corley led a team to establish a doctoral concentration in Creative Longevity and Wisdom/Aging, emerging from an initiative within the Institute for Social Innovation. She has been on the Planning Committee of the international Positive Aging conferences for the last four years and serves on two boards at California State University, Los Angeles (the Lifelong Learning Program she co-founded in 2004, and the Center for Contemporary Poetry and Poetics). She is Professor Emeritus at California State University, Los Angeles and adjunct faculty at Saybrook University.
A Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America and the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education, Dr. Corley has earned numerous awards of distinction. She has been engaged in multiple programs with the Hartford Geriatric Social Work Initiative as a mentor and leader in curriculum development. She was also a mentor in the American Society on Aging’s New Ventures in Leadership program.
Her recent work has involved creativity in later life (emerging out of a national study of Holocaust survivors, led by Roberta Greene, PI). While interviewing survivors in their homes, she found that several had engaged in artistic pursuits, largely in the later years of their lives. Dr. Corley created the "Experience, Engagement, Expression" model, demonstrating successive levels of engagement and wider ranging expression of creativity based on life experiences. Building on this work, Dr. Corley is exploring entrepreneurship as a way to bring rich life experience to engage others and express through the creative process of generating and implementing innovations. She is launching an intergenerational/intercultural mutual mentoring program in diverse communities of Los Angeles that incorporates creativity and entrepreneurship.
Dr. Corley co-hosts and produces a radio program at Pacifica station KPFK-FM in Los Angeles (Experience Talks), interviewing guests who are seasoned in life. Her website is firstname.lastname@example.org. She can be reached at email@example.com
Industry Expertise (6)
Professional Training and Coaching
Health and Wellness
Areas of Expertise (12)
Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Gerontoloy and Geriatrics
Human Development and Consciousness
Featured Change AGEnt (professional)
(2016) Awarded by the Gerontological Society of America
Who's Who in America (professional)
(2009 to present) Mentioned in Marquis' Who's Who in America.
Distinguished Woman (professional)
(2008) Awarded by California State University, Los Angeles
Inaugural West Coast Gerontological Social Work Recognition Award (professional)
(2004) Awarded by the Institute of Geriatric Social Work.
Leadership Award (professional)
(1998) Awarded by the Association for Gerontology Education in Social Work (AGE-SW).
(2001) Conferred by the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education
(1994) Conferred by the Gerontological Society of America.
University of Michigan: PhD, Social Work and Psychology
University of Michigan: MA, Psychology
University of Michigan: MSW, Social Work
- Association for Gerontology Education in Social Work : Member
- California Council of Gerontology and Geriatrics : Member
- Association for Gerontology in Higher Education : Fellow
- Gerontological Society of America : Fellow
- Spiritual Directors International : Member
- National Association of Social Workers : Member
Media Appearances (8)
(2014) Wall Street Journal print
(2008-2009) Happiness Magazine print
Heat and older adults
(2007) LA Times print
(2007-present) KPFK-FM radio
Host & Producer
Health and GPS for the Soul
Huffington Post print
Lifelong learning and social work education
(2006) KPFK-FM radio
Osher Lifelong Learning Institute
(2004) La Opinion print
Older voters, holidays
(2000) WBAL-TV tv
Event Appearances (11)
Rhythm and Wellness: The Science and Sensation of Music-Making with Older Adults in Community. Pre-conference workshop
(2017) World Congress of IAGG San Francisco, CA
Arts and Elderhood: Active Engagement and Enhancement of Well-Being
(2016) Gerontological Society of America conference New Orleans, LA
Cruzando Puentes: A Case Study
(2016) Gerontological Society of America conference; and (2016) ICMC New Orleans, LA; and Greater Noida, India.
Stories for Change (with S. Kaiser)
(2016) 8th International Conference on Positive Aging Washington, DC.
Lifelong Learning and Higher Education: Opportunities and Outcomes
(2015) Chinese Geriatrics Congress; and Zhejiang University Suzhou, China; and Hangzhou, China.
Mentoring in Aging Process (MAP): Mapping Memories of Mentoring through the Lifecourse Lens
(2014) Gerontological Society of America conference Washington, DC.
(2012) 5th International Conference on Positive Aging Los Angeles, CA
Advocacy Leadership for Positive Aging: Life planning for the 21st century
(2011) 5th International Conference on Positive Aging Los Angeles, CA
A tale of three woman: Survivorship through creative expression
(2010) Presented at the Gerontological Society of America Conference New Orleans, LA
Toward a survivorship model: Resilience and forgiveness among Holocaust survivors symposium
(2009) Gerontological Society of America Conference Atlanta, GA
Creative expression and resilience in Holocaust survivor
(2008) Gerontological Society of America Conference Paris, France
Cruzando Puentes: A social transformation case study.In Knowledge creation and organizational well-being: Leveraging talent management and appreciative intelligence.
Corley, C. and Willis, D.
(2017) In G. D. Sardana and T. Thatchenkery (Eds.), New Delhi, India: Bloomsbury. Based on presentation at ICMC 2016, Greater Noida, India.
Issues of agingThe handbook of knowledge-based coaching: From theory to practice.
(2011) L. Wildflower & D. Brennan (Eds.) San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass "Definitive (handbook), with extensive references and a commitment to connecting theory to practice in every chapter, this important contribution is a delicious and wide-ranging exploration of the lineages that have shaped the modern practice of coaching." —Doug Silsbee, author, Presence-Based Coaching and The Mindful Coach
A Tale of Three Women: Holocaust Experience and Transformation through Creative Expression and EngagementJournal of Aging, Humanities and the Arts
(2010) Gene Cohen notes the power of creativity in managing adversity (2000), lifting its emotional darkness and even contributing to physical healing. A model inspired by three Hungarian women artists who survived the Holocaust (Experience/Expression/Engagement) is illustrated through their experience of the Holocaust, their creative expression well into their later years, and the impact of their work on engagement of self and others. The potential for creativity in later life, and the impact of creativity on healing and transformation is discussed and illustrated by the creative contributions of three survivors and their enduring legacy.
Creative expression and resilience among Holocaust survivorsJournal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment
(2010) Positive psychologists and gerontologists are increasingly interested in how artistic experience may contribute to resilience across the life course. This article presents vignettes from the lives of three visual artists who survived the Holocaust in Hungary and now live in the Los Angeles area. It discusses the intersection of their creativity and resilience and how these creative expressions have enhanced personal and community well-being. Implications for research on the use of images are discussed, along with the possibilities for utilizing creative expressions in social work practice.
Private prayer and quality of life in cardiac patients: Pathways of cognitive coping and social supportSocial Work in Health Care
Corley, C., Peterson, C., Huang, B., & Tice, T.
(2009) Despite the growing evidence linking faith with health and well-being, national leaders noted the need to explore the mechanism underlying these linkages. The goal of this prospective study was to investigate the psychosocial mechanisms involved in the preoperative use of private prayer for coping and the effects of such act on short-term quality of life (SPQOL) in 294 patients following open-heart surgery.
Spirit of Aging Rising (SOAR): Cross-cutting thematic modules to enrich foundation graduate social work coursesJournal of Gerontological Social Work
Corley, C., Davis, P., Jackson, L. & Bach, M.
(2007) To enrich an urban generalist MSW program serving a diverse aging community, an innovative approach was initiated. A team of students, faculty and a field instructor collaborated in creating and evaluating 3 sets of cross-cutting thematic modules. An overview of the thematic modules (addressing elder abuse, family caregiving, and mental health), integrated across multiple curriculum areas (Human Behavior and the Social Environment, Macro/Policy, Practice and Research), is presented along with results of a faculty focus group evaluating the process of coordinating module content for one full week of class per foundation area (one topic per quarter).
Substance dependency networksHandbook of Social Work in Aging
Corley, C.S., Gray, M. & Yakimo, R.
(2006) B. Berkman & S. D’Ambruoso (Eds.) New York: Oxford University Press The fields of health care, aging, and social work are often treated as discrete entities, while all social workers deal with issues of health and aging on a daily basis, regardless of practice specialization. This is the first reference book to address this reality by compiling the most current thinking on these subjects in a single volume. With the population of older adults increasing as rapidly as new possibilities for their care, professionals need an accessible source of specialized information about how best to serve the elderly and their families...
Are they grieving? A qualitative analysis examining grief in caregivers of individuals with Alzheimer's diseaseSocial Work in Health Care
(2003) Although there is an abundance of caregiving literature, there is a paucity of research that examines the grief reactions of care-givers of individuals with Alzheimer's disease. Qualitative research methodology was utilized to identify themes about the grief ...
Social work education for interdisciplinary practice with older adults and their familiesJournal of Gertontological Social Work
(2003) Training for interdisciplinary practice is integral to preparation of well-qualified gerontological social workers. Social work and other disciplines must be prepared to function in teams to achieve mutually determined therapeutic patient goals and to ...
The expressions of loss and grief among male caregivers of individuals with Alzheimer's diseaseJournal of Gerontological Social Work
(2003) While research on caregivers of individuals with Alzheimer's disease dominated gerontological research for the last 25 years, little attention has been given to the grief reactions of caregivers, particularly male caregivers. This study examined the expression ...
Stress among caregivers of hip fracture patients: A longitudinal studyJournal of Gerontological Social Work
(1999) In this longitudinal study of stress among caregivers of patients up to one year following hip fracture, scores on the Caregiver Strain Index (Robinson, 1983) declined overall from 2, 6, to 12-month follow-up. However, 2 of the 13 items were reported at ...
Interdiscplinary Teams in Health Care: Integration of Family CaregiversSocial Work in Health Care
(1996) Interdiscplinary health care teams function within a range of contexts, have varying structures, and engage in different processes, which result in a range of outcomes for patients as well as for the team as a whole. Each of components highlighted is influenced ...