Nikki Cavalier

Clinical Assistant Professor, Field Education
Contact Information
University Park
Department of Study 
Social Change and Innovation
MSW, University of California, Los Angeles, 1982
BA, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, 1975

NIKKI CAVALIER is a clinical assistant professor in field education, and teaches Integrative Field Seminar and serves as a field liaison and faculty for the Community, Organization, and Business Innovation department. 

A licensed clinical social worker, she comes to USC with nearly 35 years of clinical, management and training experience in health, mental health, developmental services and gerontology in the public and private sectors, with an emphasis on community-based and managed care delivery systems. Her work has included the development and provision of services related to mental health access, geriatric care management and community-based day care for developmentally disabled adults.  

Cavalier began her career in inpatient mental health settings providing assessment, clinical care management, and group and individual treatment to adults and adolescents. She also maintained a private practice specializing in depression, anxiety and work-related stress. She was among the early cohort of licensed professionals to enter the field of managed behavioral health care, where she applied her social work and clinical skills to nurture collaborations among insurance payers, employers, mental health practitioners and clients, with the goal of delivering high-quality, evidence-informed care in a cost-effective, person-centered manner. Managing multidisciplinary professional teams, she was active in the development of depression prevention and disease management programs, including early efforts to foster the integration of mental health into primary care.

Moving to the public and nonprofit sectors, Cavalier has developed and managed care management, quality improvement, staff development and graduate internship programs. She has served as a trainer and group facilitator for direct service, middle management and executive leadership, and has consulted with nonprofits and health care organizations in the areas of strategic planning, program development and regulatory compliance. 

A seasoned field educator, Cavalier has supervised practicum students from USC, California State University, Long Beach, and California State University, Los Angeles. She currently serves as a co-facilitator of new field instructor training at USC’s University Park Campus. Her scholarly and teaching interests focus on the development of career-long resiliency in professionals, and on enhancing the effectiveness of individuals, teams and organizations.