John W. Ridings, PhD- IRB Chair

With a 20-year career in program evaluation and practice, Dr. Ridings has served as watchdog for social justice and program effectiveness in some of the most prominent organizations in the Chicagoland area including Hines VA, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Metropolitan Family Services and The Salvation Army. The community based action research he conducted in the Roseland community is featured in the book Conversations About Group Concept Mapping by Kane and Rosas (2017).

Dr. Ridings has been teaching program evaluation, social work research and policy courses at local universities and colleges in Chicago stemming back to 2003. In addition to his teaching duties at ICSW, he also serves as their IRB chair and institutional researcher. Dr. Ridings has authored and co-authored numerous publications, has been cited hundreds of times, and carries a respectable H-index of 9 according to Google Scholar and a RG score of 13.59 on Researchgate. He earned a PhD in social work from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2008 and became a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in 2003. He currently resides in Evanston, IL with his wife, daughter and two cats.


Using concept mapping to identify elder self-neglect program evaluation information for metro Chicago

Areas of Interest & Approaches to Practice

Concept Mapping; Program Evaluation; Elder Abuse and Neglect; At Risk Youth; Cognitive Behavioral Therapy


  • PhD, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL

  • A.M., University of Chicago, Chicago, IL

  • BA, Western Illinois University, Macomb, IL


  • L.C.S.W., Illinois

Courses Taught at ICSW

  • RM 741: Dissertation Seminar I

  • RM 742: Dissertation Seminar II

  • RM 621: Quantitative Methods

  • RM 632: Qualitative Methods

  • CCP 571: Research Process and Techniques

Additional Faculty Roles

  • Research Advising

Awards & Honors

  • Summer Training on Aging Research Topics—Mental Health (SMART—MH) Fellowship, 2003

  • Harriet Stuff Sociology Scholarship, Western Illinois University, 1998

Professional Memberships & Affiliations

  • American Evaluation Association, Member

  • Concept Systems Research Association, Member

  • Journal of Community Mental Health, Ad Hoc Peer Reviewer

Significant Publications

  • Ridings, John. (2015). The development of a concept map for understanding spiritual integration in evangelically based social service organizations. Journal of Religion & Spirituality in Social Work: Social Thought. doi:10.1080/15426432.2015.1009231

  • Ridings, J. Piedra, L., Capeles, J., Rodriguez, R., Frier, F., & Byoung, S. (2011). Using concept mapping to identify culturally relevant strategies for the development of a Latino youth program. Journal of Social Service Research, 37(1), 34-49.

  • Cotton, C. & Ridings, J. (2011). Getting out/Getting in: The DSM, political activism, and the social construction of mental disorders. Journal of Social Work in Mental Health, 9(3), 181-205.

  • Conrad, K., Ridings, J., Iris, M., Fairman, K., Anetzberger, G., & Rosen, A. (2011). Conceptual model and map of financial exploitation of older adults. Journal of Elder Abuse and Neglect, 23(3).

  • Iris, M., Ridings, J., Conrad, K. (2010). The development of a conceptual framework of understanding elder self-neglect. The Gerontologist, 50(3), 303-315.

  • Ridings, J., Powell, D., Johnson, J., Pullie, C., Jones, C., Jones, R., & Terrell, K. (2008). Using concept mapping to advance community building: The African American Initiative at Roseland. Journal of Community Practice, 16(1), 39-62.

  • Rosas, S.R., & Ridings, J.W. (2016). The use of concept mapping in measurement development and evaluation: Application and future directions. Evaluation and Program Planning. Available online: