Crystal Aschenbrener, DSW, MSW, APSW

Social Work

Areas of expertise

  • Intervention programs for Native American youth
  • Foster care
  • Women's issues
  • Service Learning
  • Undergraduate Research
  • Domestic Travel 
  • Macro social work practice


Crystal Aschenbrener is the department chair of the new social work at Alverno College, which she helped to develop. The effort involved working with national social work accreditation requirements and state licensure processes, with which she has become quite familiar. She began teaching here in 2017, and teaches courses including social work programs and policies, human behavior and the social environment, social work practice courses, and Native American service and research. Her primary goal is to ensure social work majors are successfully able to meet the social justice needs of the Milwaukee and surrounding area and beyond.

A licensed social worker with 10 years of university teaching experience, Aschenbrener is the program coordinator of the Today & Beyond Program. The program introduces college students to tribal culture, traditions and strengths, as well as the historical trauma and social problems facing Native Americans. Each year she and her students travel to a tribal school to work with junior high students, helping motivate them for high school, college and beyond. Her field experience includes work with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities.

Aschenbrener earned her Bachelor of Social Work from the University of South Dakota, Vermillion. She earned her Master of Social Work from the University of Kansas, Lawrence, and her Doctor of Social Work from Aurora University in Aurora, Ill. She is a member of the National Association of Social Workers at both the state and national levels, the Rural Social Work and Human Services Caucus, and the Baccalaureate Social Work Program Directors Association. Aschenbrener is also a member of the Indigenous Tribal Social Work Educators’ Association’s Task Force Committee with Council on Social Work Education, the Diversity Committee for the National Association of Social Workers, the Council on Social Work Education, and was invited to join the board of the National Mentoring Resource Center with the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.