Dr. Carolyn Gentle-Genitty



Dr. Carolyn Gentle-Genitty


Dr. Gentle-Genitty is a student-centered researcher, truancy expert, school social work researcher, published book and journal author, social work app developer, and Assistant Professor at Indiana University School of Social Work in Indianapolis. She brings extensive leadership and programmatic experience from over 25 years in the field of Youth Development locally and internationally.

Her research interest broadly covers student engagement and antisocial behavior. This has manifested in the exploration of chronic truancy, millennial students, theory teaching models, teaching effectiveness: online and in-person, understanding youth antisocial behaviors, juvenile offenders, school competency, and social work practice. She is board member of the International Association of Chronic Truancy and Dropout prevention and Marion County Commission on Youth (MCCOY), NABSW, and BPD.

Her work has varied from working with gangs, youth groups, prisoners, educational task forces, Women’s Commission, UNICEF, CYDP, IUPUI, AIM, and many organizations and entities focusing largely on how to effectively engage young people. She has been researching student engagement in various forms in the classroom, outside of formal school settings, online, face-to-face, and in middle and high schools. Her latest research efforts examined where in the juncture of students’ life, student disengagement begins. Her answer, based on preliminary research, was middle school. However, Dr. Gentle-Genitty also wanted to find out how engagement and disengagement can me researched, measured, and reported. Her work lead her to the Hirschi’s Social Control Theory and framework of Social Bonding (examining attachment, commitment, involvement, and belief). The assumption was that the more students felt socially bonded to the school by being involved, committed, attached, and also believed in the value of school, the less they would disengage from it. Her research continues to look at this aspect of student engagement in middle school and in higher education through the examination of millennial students. She recently began the exploration of school competence with prisoners and the development of two instruments: school competence and social bonding. She is a reviewer for several journals including the acclaimed Journal of Learning and Individual Differences, African American Studies, and Advances (a School of Social Work Journal). She has received numerous accolades in research and teaching excellence.