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Geoffrey Greif

Geoffrey Greif

Distinguished University Professor

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Dr. Geoffrey Greif is a Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland School of Social Work where he has worked since 1984 and where he teaches in the MSW and doctoral program. He was Associate Dean from 1996 to 2007. He received his MSW from the University of Pennsylvania and his PhD from the Columbia University School of Social Work. He is the author of more than 170 journal articles and book chapters and fifteen books including four that are co-edited. These include: When Parents Kidnap (co-authored with Dr. Rebecca Hegar); Beating the Odds: Raising academically successful African American males (written with Drs. Freeman Hrabowski and Ken Maton); Overcoming the Odds: Raising academically successful African American young women (written with Hrabowski, Maton, and Monica Greene); and Group work with populations at risk (co-edited with Dr. Carolyn Knight).

Within the past few years, Dr. Greif has explored horizontal relationships with the publications of Buddy System: Understanding male friendships as well as Two Plus Two: Couples and their couple friendships (with Dr. Kathleen Holtz Deal) and Adult Sibling Relationships, written with Dr. Michael Woolley (2016). A recent book (co-authored with Woolley), In-law relationships: Mothers, daughters, fathers, and sons was published in 2021. A new book on group work is forthcoming and a book on interracial and inter-ethnic families is in the works.

Dr. Greif’s community service in Baltimore includes: leading groups during the early years of the HIV/AIDS pandemic at a methadone maintenance center; leading a parenting group called, “Help! My kids are driving me crazy!” in four different Baltimore schools in the 1990s and early 2000s; and co-leading a fathering group for federal detainees at a Detention Center and, more recently, running a group for fathers at a residential employment center. He currently volunteers for the Pro Bono Counseling Center.

In 2001, Dr. Greif chaired Governor Parris Glendening’s Commission to study sexual orientation discrimination in Maryland. He has served on various community-based boards, including the Open Society Institute Leadership Council and the Shriver Hall Concert Series, where he chaired the board. He also served on the Board of Social Work Examiners in Maryland and the board of WYPR, the local National Public Radio Station. He has contributed numerous op-ed pieces to the Baltimore Sun.

At the School of Social Work, he has served on multiple committees and chaired the Faculty Executive Committee for six years. While Associate Dean, he co-initiated the MSW-MPH Dual Degree program with the Bloomberg School, leading to the first dual degree offered between UMB and Johns Hopkins.

His current research, teaching, and practice interests include child abduction, adult friendships, adult family relationships, and interracial families. He has consulted with governments and NGOs on four continents on the impact of child abduction on the family and was one of the first to publish in the 1980s on the impact of HIV/AIDS on the family.

Dr. Greif has received more than 25 Dean’s teaching awards from the School of Social Work as well as recognition for teaching from the student government. In 2007, he was named the Educator of the Year by the Maryland Chapter of NASW and in 2010 he received the University of Maryland Board of Regents Excellence in Teaching Award. In 2018, he was named the UMB Educator of the Year and in 2020 he was inducted as a fellow into the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare. Most recently, in 2023, he was named UMB Distinguished University Professor. He has appeared on numerous television and radio programs and his research has been cited in major news outlets throughout the world. Most notably, in SocINDEX and SCOPUS, when searching with the terms “Beatles” and “social work,” his is the only article that appears!


Read Dr. Greif's Blog at Psychology Today

Expertise & Interests

  • Family Therapy
  • Group Work
  • Child Abduction
  • Single Parents
  • Friendships

MSW, University of Pennsylvania 
PhD, Columbia University

Recent Publications

Greif, G. L. & Saviet, M. (2020). “In-law relationships among interracial couples: A preliminary view.”Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment, 30, 605-620.

Woolley, M. E. & Greif, G. L. (2020). “Communication comfort between adult siblings:
Relationship quality, trust, and interpersonal support.” Journal of Family Social Work, 23, 392-407.

Saviet, M & Greif, G. L. (2021). “Relationships between parents-in-law and children-in-law of     differing racial or ethnic backgrounds: An initial qualitative exploration.” Advances in Social   Work, 21, 154-175.

Leitch, J., Greif, G., L., Saviet, M. & Sumerday, D. (2021). “Social work education at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic: Narrative reflections and pedagogical responses.” Journal of Teaching in Social Work, 41, 446-466.

*osen, J. & Greif, G. L. (2021). “The voices of interracial and interethnic couples raising biracial, multiracial, and bi-ethnic children under 10 years old.” Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal.

Greif, G. L., Stubbs, V., & Woolley, M.E. (2022). "Clinical suggestions for family therapists based on interviews with white women married to Black men." Contemporary Family Therapy,January 23 (on-line).

Greif, G.L. (2022). "What the Beatles ‘Get Back’ documentary can teach social workers about family relationships." Families in Society, 103, 247-250.

*Greif, G.L., Rosen, J., Gholson, S, & Trotman, C.  (2022). Parents in interracial and interethnic marriages raising children 11- to 18-years-old.” Smith College Studies in Social Work, 92,  240-265. 10.1080/00377317.2022.2152155

Greif, G.L., Stubbs, V., & Woolley, M.E. (2023). “Black women married to White men: What the       women see as the challenges.” Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment. DOI:10.1080/10911359.2022.2155287 

Greif, G. L. (2023). “Long-term interracial and interethnic marriages: What can be learned about how spouses deal with negativity from others.” Journal of Ethnic & Cultural Diversity in Social Work.

Gantt, A. & Greif, G. L. (In press). “Reflections on the loss of my grandson: How life events change social work practice.” Reflections: Narratives of Professional Helping.

Greif, G. L., Chung, Y, Lee, H., & Zhang, P. (In press). The experiences of Asian Americans who intermarry in the United States: A Qualitative Study. Families in Society.