B.S., Andrews University
M.S.W., University of Michigan
Ph.D., Case Western Reserve University
Curtis VanderWaal, MSW, Ph.D., is Chair and Professor of Social Work at Andrews University, where he has taught since 1990. He is also Director of the Center for Community Impact Research at the Institute for Prevention of Addictions. He teaches classes in program evaluation, substance abuse treatment, group therapy, and values & ethics. The majority of his research has focused on substance abuse treatment & prevention, social capital, faith-based ministries, agency program evaluations, and faith-based LGBT issues. He has been involved in over 30 funded research projects, including funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the National Institute of Justice, the DeVos Family Foundations, the United Way of Southwest Michigan, and the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. He has authored or co-authored over 30 peer reviewed journal articles or book chapters and participated in more than 90 peer reviewed research presentations and poster sessions. He currently serves on the editorial board of the journal "Social Work and Christianity." He is also a board member for Riverwood Center, the community mental health center for Berrien County.
Prior to coming to Andrews University, VanderWaal was a counselor at a community mental health center in Michigan. He received his Master of Social Work (MSW) in 1987 from The University of Michigan, and his Ph.D. in 1995 from Case Western Reserve University, in Cleveland, Ohio.
Dr. VanderWaal is a member of the National Association of Social Workers and the Council on Social Work Education. He has been inducted into the Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society, Phi Kappa Phi and Phi Alpha Honor Societies. He received the J.N. Andrews Medallion (2014), the Sigfried H. Horn Scholarly Research Award (2012), Student Advising Award from Andrews University (1992), the Zapara Excellence in Teaching Award (1998) and the Andrews University Teacher of the Year award (1999).
VanderWaal, C.J. (Co-Principal Investigator), Sedlacek, D., Lane, L.* & Carbonell, N.. Coming to terms with one’s sexual identity is a particularly complex process for Christian LGBT+ youth, many of whom are at high risk for negative outcomes such as depression, substance abuse and suicide. Many Christian families are just beginning to actively wrestle with how to view and treat their LGBT+ children. This survey of 310 Seventh-day Adventist adult Millennials explored perceived levels of their family’s acceptance or rejection of their sexual orientation or gender identity during their teen years. Other variables included recent levels of self-esteem, social support, depression, substance abuse, high-risk sexual activity, and suicidal thinking or attempts. Findings showed generally low levels of family acceptance and support, as well as elevated rates of depression and at-risk thoughts and behaviors. A high proportion of respondents have retained strong spiritual commitment and moderate church involvement.
VanderWaal, C.J. and various students. Since 2010, Curt VanderWaal and over 120 students have worked with the United Way of Southwest Michigan to evaluate a wide variety of funded programs in the areas of health, basic needs, education, and income. Combined evaluation projects have been funded for over $150,000.
VanderWaal, C.J., McBride, D.C., Baltazar, A., & various students. Over the past six years, VanderWaal has been a co-investigator on three General Conference of Seventh-day Adventist-funded projects – Christian Record Services for the Blind program evaluation; The Hope Channel program evaluation; and the Adventist World Radio program evaluation. Combined evaluation projects have been funded for over $150,000. VanderWaal is also working with colleagues at Washington Adventist University (John Gavin, PI, and William Ellis) to explore Seventh-day Adventist voting patterns and key social issues such as LGBT acceptance and women’s ordination.
Recent (2018-present) Peer Review Publications: (*indicates student co-author)
Rosalie Liccardo Pacula, Jamie F. Chriqui, Yvonne M. Terry-McElrath, Curtis J. VanderWaal, and Frank J. Chaloupka. Marijuana liberalization policies: The importance of evaluating the impact of state laws in the U.S. Pp. 399-424, in Yvonne M. Terry-McElrath, Curtis J. VanderWaal, Alina M. Baltazar, and David J. B. Trim (eds.), promoting the Public Good: Policy in the Public Square and the Church. Avondale Academic Press: Cooranbong, Australia, 2018.
Curtis J. VanderWaal, John T. Gavin, and William Ellis. Seventh-day Adventist opinios on same-sex attraction and same-sex unions. Pp. 191-214, in Yvonne M. Terry-Elrath, Curtis J. VanderWaal, Alina M. Baltazar, and David J. B. Trim (eds.), Promoting the Public Good: Policy in the Public Square and the Church. Avondale Academic Press: Cooranbong, Australia, 2018.
Recent (2018 – present) Peer Review Presentations and Posters: (*indicates student co-author)
Duane C. McBride, Myrnaliza Tan, Alina M. Baltazar, Curtis J. VanderWaal, Karl G. D. Bailey, and Stephen Eccles. "Trends in alcohol abstinence and religiosity as a protective correlate in a faith-based university." Michigan Academy of Science, Arts & Letters Annual Conference, Alma College (virtual). March 11, 2022.
Rene D. Drumm, David Sedlacek, Curtis J. VanderWaal, and Shannon M. Trecartin. “Coming out made our family better: Christian family dynamics post coming out." North American Association of Christians in Social Work Annual Convention, Glendale, CA, November 18-21, 2021.
Rene Drumm, David Sedlacek, Shannon Trecartin, and Curtis J. VanderWaal. “Every family has occasional difficulties: The stability of family dynamics post coming out.” Adventist Human-Subject Researchers Conference. Andrews University. Virtual. May 19-21, 2021.
John Gavin, William Ellis, and Curtis J. VanderWaal. “The Adventist Vote: Responses to the 2020 National Pre-Election Survey." Adventist Human-Subject Researchers Conference. Andrews University. Virtual. May 19-21, 2021.
Maci Chen, Curtis J. VanderWaal, Alina M. Baltazar, and Duane C. McBride. “Sexual orientation, substance misuse, and sexual misconduct at a conservative Christian university." Andrews Research Conference: Early Career Social Sciences. Andrews University. Virtual. May 17-18, 2021.
Furst, T.*, VanderWaal, C. V., Baltazar, A., & McBride, D. C. (March, 2019). Sexual Orientation, Mental health and Ethnicity in a Church Affiliated University. Presented at the Michigan Academy of Science, Arts, & Letters Conference.
Carbonell, N. J., Sedlacek, D., Trecartin, S., VanderWaal, C. J. (March, 2019). SDA Christian LGBT + Family Support, Depression & Suicide: Findings and Implications. Presented at the Christian Association of Psychological Studies, Dallas, TX.
VanderWaal, C. J., Trecartin, S., Drumm, R. (November, 2018). Saving Grace: Suicide Risk and Protective Factors among Christian LGBT + Millennials. Presented at the Council on Social Work Education Annual Program Meeting, Orlando, FL.
Duane McBride, Alina Baltazar, Curtis J. VanderWaal, Stephen Eccles, & Dominique Gummelt. "Risk and protective factors for substance abuse." Celebration of Research & Creative Scholarship. Andrews University, Berrien Springs, MI. October 26, 2018.
Sedlacek, D., Drumm, R., Trecartin, S., Carbonell, N., & VanderWaal, C. J. (October, 2018). LGBT + Seventh-day Adventist Millennials: How Spirituality Connects to Risk and Protection. Presented at the North American Association of Christians in Social Work, Hartford, CT.
VanderWaal, C. J., Gavin, J. T., & Ellis, W. (May, 2018). Seventh-day Adventist Opinions on Same-Sex Attraction and Same-Sex Unions. Presented at the Adventist Human Subjects Research Association Conference, Berrien Springs, MI.
Gavin, C. J., Ellis, W., & VanderWaal, C. J. (May, 2018). Adventist Views on Creation. Presented at the Adventist Human Subjects Research Association Conference, Berrien Springs, MI.
Pacula, R. L., Chriqui, J. F., Terry-McElrath, Y., VanderWaal, C. J., & Chaloupka, F. (May, 2018). Marijuana Liberalization Policies: The Importance of Evaluating the Impact of State Laws in the U.S. Presented at the Adventist Human Subjects Research Association Conference, Berrien Springs, MI.
VanderWaal, C. J., Sedlacek, D., Trecartin, S., & Carbonell, N. J. (May, 2018). The Impact of Family Support and Rejection among Seventh-day Adventist LGBT + Millennials. Plenary presentation at the Adventist Research Conference: Social Sciences, Berrien Springs, MI.
Curtis J. VanderWaal. Program and Peer-Review Coordinator. Adventist Human Subjects Researchers Association Annual Conference (virtual), Berrien Springs, MI, May 19-21, 2021.
Book Chapter Published
Curtis J. VanderWaal, David Sedlacek, Nancy Carbonell, Shannon Trecartin, and Steve Yeagley. The LGBT+ Divide: Identity, Shame, and Equality Before God and the Church. Pp. 67-77, in Steve Case (ed.), Real, Deal, Heal: Gen Z and Social Issues. Center for Youth Evangelism, Andrews University and the North American Division Corporation of Seventh-day Adventists, 2021.
Funded Research Activity
Curtis J. VanderWaal. Southwest Michigan Care Continuum Transformation Evaluation. Region IV Area Agency on Aging. October 2021 - September 2023.
Desiree Davis, Alina M. Baltazar, Shannon M. Trecartin, and Curtis J. VanderWaal. Berrien College Access Network Evaluation. United Way of Southwest Michigan. (2021-2022).
Co-Principal Investigator (2019) of a 6-month, $3,600 evaluation project titled Benton Heights Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Evaluation. Supported by United Way of Southwest Michigan.
Principal Investigator (2019) of a 12-month, $2,468 evaluation project titled 2019 Girls on the Run Data Collection. Supported by United Way of Southwest Michigan.
Principal Investigator (2018) of a 12-month, $14,283 evaluation project titled United Way Programs Evaluation. Supported by United Way of Southwest Michigan.