Cindy Garthwait

Professor & Interdisciplinary Gerontolology Program Coordinator


Personal Summary

Professor Cindy Garthwait has taught at The University of Montana since 1988, serves as BSW Program Director, and has served as Chair and Practicum Coordinator.  Cindy is the Coordinator of the interdisciplinary Gerontology Minor, which is open to majors in any department at The University of Montana.  She is involved with the Montana Geriatric Education Center, a consortium of The University of Montana, Montana Tech, and The Montana Research and Education Institute.  The MTGEC trains students in interdisciplinary health-related clinical sites, trains faculty in geriatrics, and trains health professionals in an interdisciplinary approach to geriatrics. 

She is Co-Chair of the Institute for Gerontology Education, working with other faculty and staff on campus to increase the availability of aging content on campus.  She is the Director of the Gerontology Fellows Program for BSW students, geared toward preparing social work graduates for intergenerational practice.  This program is part of the Geriatric Social Work Initiative, which was funded by a John A. Hartford Foundation grant. 

She works with MSW students enrolled in the Hartford Scholars on Aging for students wishing to acquire advanced training in gerontological social work.  She provides consultation and training to health facilities and housing facilities serving older adults.

Courses Taught

SW 300 Human Behavior and the Social Environment

SW 423 Addiction Studies

SW 455 Social Gerontology

SW 487-488 Field Work Practicum Seminar

SW 576 Foundation Integrative Seminar

SW 578 Concentration Integrative Seminar for Hartford Scholars

Research Interests

Social Gerontology
Human Behavior in the Social Environment
Spirituality over the Lifespan
Field Practicum

Selected Publications

Garthwait, Cynthia.  The social work practicum:  A guide and workbook for students.  5th edition.  Boston, MA:  Allyn and Bacon, 2011.

Garthwait, Cynthia.  “Teaching aging by concept and example” in Days in the lives of gerontological social workers.  Harrisburg, PA:  White Hat Communications, 2007.

Garthwait, Cynthia.  “A century in review” chapter in Teaching resources for end-of-life and palliative care:  a compendium of syllabi and teaching resources.  Chicago, Illinois:  Lyceum Books, 2007.

Garthwait, Cynthia.  “Teaching clients to write ethical wills:  identifying and documenting personal values” in forthcoming book on teaching of ethics, to be published by Council on Social Work Education (in press).



Co-author with Tondy Baumgartner, Principle Investigator, John A. Hartford Foundation grant for “Practicum Partnership Program” for MSW students, $75,000, 2005. 

Principal Investigator, John A. Hartford Foundation grant for “Geriatric Social Work Initiative," $60,000, 2001-2003. 

University of Montana Visiting Scholar Grant 2007, 2010.

University of Montana Faculty Development Award 2007.


“Training Students for Leadership in the Field of Aging” resource exchange presentation at American Society on Aging / National Council on Aging joint annual conference, Chicago, Illinois, March 2007.

“Practicum Seminars in Aging:  Customizing Links Between Classroom and Field” poster presentation at Gero-Ed Forum of the Council on Social Work Education National Center for Gerontological Social Work Education, Charleston, South Carolina, February 2007.

“Disciplinary Convergence:  An Interdisciplinary Minor in Gerontology” poster presentation with Gayle Hudgins, Ph.D., Association for Gerontology Education Education Leadership Conference, Baltimore, Maryland, February 2008.

“Creatively Combining Service-Learning and Other Pedagogies to Achieve Learning Objectives” with Andrea Vernon, Ph.d., Western Region Campus Compact Consortium Continuums of Service Conference, Portland, Oregon, April 2008.

“Geriatric Issues and the Continuum of Care” panel member at State of Montana Community Services Bureau Conference, Missoula, Montana, September 2007.

“Personal Aging Plan” at Montana Gerontology Society Annual Conference, April 2007.

“Learning to Help Clients Write Ethical Wills:  Identifying and Documenting Personal Values” at Montana Gerontology Society Annual Conference, Bozeman, Montana, April 2008.


National Association of Social Workers
Council on Social Work Education
Montana Gerontology Society
American Association of University Women
Association for Gerontology Education in Social Work