David Droppa Ph.D.
Joined Seton Hill
Pittsburgh, PA
Contact Info

A native of upstate New York, Droppa has resided in Pittsburgh since 1969. He is a graduate of Houghton College and earned his master’s degree in social work from the University of Pittsburgh and his Ph.D. in social work from the University of California at Berkeley. He also completed the Executive Management and Leadership Program at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He has over 50 years of clinical, fund raising, administrative and academic experience with individuals, families, and organizations. Droppa is associate professor of social work and social work program director at Seton Hill. He has experience working with families in difficult situations and providing strategic consultation to nonprofit and for-profit organizations in Western Pennsylvania. His research interests include service learning with students learning policy practice, outcome evaluation, and the behavior of human service collaborations and community-university research partnerships. Droppa served as executive director of Three Rivers Youth, a Pittsburgh United Way agency providing a continuum of services for young people and their families. He was also program director and acting executive director of Family Links (formerly The Whale’s Tale), a youth and family nonprofit. Droppa has written and published in the human service field, and presented at regional, national, and international professional conferences. Droppa lives in Squirrel Hill with his wife Sharon Salmon, also a social worker. He enjoys reading, gardening, sailing, and playing guitar. His volunteer activities include leading a group for teen boys at Allegheny Center Alliance Church. He led a research team that conducted the first study of diversity in Westmoreland County.


  • Ph.D., University of California at Berkeley (Berkeley, CA), 1976
  • M.S.W., University of Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh, PA), 1967
  • B.S., Chemistry, Houghton College (Houghton, NY), 1964


  • Bartel, J., Clarke, D., Droppa, D., Jacobs, E., and Warfield, R. (2015). Confronting the challenge of diversity in Westmoreland County: A study of community perceptions about diversity, Academic Report. Greensburg, PA: Seton Hill University.
  • Bartel, J., Droppa, D., and Wood, G. (2019). Improving academic-community partnerships: A case study of a project investigating attitudes about diversity. International Journal of Research on Service-Learning and Community Engagement, (7:1), 1-14.
  • Droppa, David C., and Giunta, Catherine. (2015) Factors in the failure of seemingly successful human service collaboratives. Human Service Organizations, Management, Leadership & Governance, online version, March 31, 2015.
  • Droppa, David C. (2007). Social welfare policy and services: Service learning through social policy projects in human service organizations. In Nadel, M., Sullivan-Cosetti, M., & Majewski, G. (Eds.), Social work and service learning: Partnerships for social justice (pp. 61-75. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield.
  • Droppa, David C. (2007). Developing student competence in policy practice through policy projects in human service organizations. Journal of Baccalaureate Social Work, 12(2), 83-97.
  • Droppa, David C., and Luczak, Robert. (2004). Collaboration, technology, and outcomes – A recipe to improve service delivery. Behavioral Health Management, 24 (1), 41-44.
  • Sullivan-Cosetti, Marilyn, and Droppa, David C. (2003). Moving beyond the classroom: First steps toward activism through service learning. The ACOSA Update, 17 (2).


  • Named Professor of the Year, Seton Hill University, 2002


  • Member, Outcomes & Measurements Committee, United Way of Westmoreland County, 2006 to present.
  • National Association of Social Workers


  • Licensed social worker in Pennsylvania (LSW)


  • Served as chair of the Liberal Arts Curriculum Committee at Seton Hill from 2005 to 2012. Certificate in Masters Consulting, Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management, Robert Morris University. Certificate in nonprofit management, Harvard University, Boston, MA.