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Connie Corley, Ph.D. - Fielding Graduate University. San Gabriel, CA, US

Connie Corley, Ph.D.

Professor Emerit - School of Leadership Studies | Fielding Graduate University


Connie Corley, PhD is a member of the doctoral faculty in the School of Leadership Studies





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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 www.conniecorleyphd@gmail.com. She can be reached at ccorley@fielding.edu

Industry Expertise (6)

Health and Wellness



Social Media

Professional Training and Coaching

Program Development

Areas of Expertise (12)

Substance Abuse

Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Creative Expression

Social Psychology

Research Methods


Gerontoloy and Geriatrics

Family Caregiving

Interdisciplinary Teamwork

Positive Psychology


Human Development and Consciousness

Accomplishments (7)

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).

Fellowship (professional)

(2001) Conferred by the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education

Fellowship (professional)

(1994) Conferred by the Gerontological Society of America.

Education (3)

University of Michigan: PhD, Social Work and Psychology

University of Michigan: MA, Psychology

University of Michigan: MSW, Social Work

Affiliations (6)

  • 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)

Boomer Entrepreneurship

(2014) Wall Street Journal  print


Regular Column

(2008-2009) Happiness Magazine  print


Heat and older adults

(2007) LA Times  print


Experience Talks

(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

Articles (12)

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 aging

The 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

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A Tale of Three Women: Holocaust Experience and Transformation through Creative Expression and Engagement

Journal 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.

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Creative expression and resilience among Holocaust survivors

Journal 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.

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Private prayer and quality of life in cardiac patients: Pathways of cognitive coping and social support

Social 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.

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Spirit of Aging Rising (SOAR): Cross-cutting thematic modules to enrich foundation graduate social work courses

Journal 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 networks

Handbook 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...

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Are they grieving? A qualitative analysis examining grief in caregivers of individuals with Alzheimer's disease

Social 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 ...

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Social work education for interdisciplinary practice with older adults and their families

Journal 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 ...

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The expressions of loss and grief among male caregivers of individuals with Alzheimer's disease

Journal 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 ...

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Stress among caregivers of hip fracture patients: A longitudinal study

Journal 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 ...

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Interdiscplinary Teams in Health Care: Integration of Family Caregivers

Social 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 ...

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