Ruth E. Spencer, J.D., M.S.S.A.., LISW

Adjunct Professor
Smith SSW monogram logo in brown reading Smith College SSW

B.A., Oberlin College 
M.S.S.A., Case Western Reserve University
J.D., Case Western Reserve University


Ruth Spencer is an adjunct professor with a long history with SSW. She teaches courses that address the intersection of law and social work practice. She teaches Practice Skills in Agency Settings, focusing on defensive clinical practice, ethics, and supervision. She is a family therapist, working in inpatient, outpatient and private practice in mental health settings. She practiced family and mental health law at Legal Aid. Spencer is now a consultant for higher education institutions focusing on labor and employment law and has been the chief human resources officer at Vassar and Oberlin Colleges. She earned her B.A. from Oberlin College, M.S.S.A., and J.D. from Case Western Reserve University. Her community work has been as a board of trustee member on local and national advocacy and social service organizations. She is the co-author of an article in the 2017 Smith College Studies in Social Work. She is currently working on a chapter on the concept of consent for a mental health policy publication.