On June 1, after completion of a competitive nationwide search, Dean Jeanette Takamura announced the appointment of Dr. Cheryl Franks as Executive Director for Diversity, Human Rights, and Social Justice.

“I am pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Franks to this position,” said the Dean. “She will provide leadership in the School as the primary resource on the body of scholarship, most effective pedagogical methods, and the organizational and professional values and processes related to diversity, human rights, and social justice. In establishing this position, the School seeks to accelerate and strengthen the implementation of its strategic efforts related to these three critical issue areas. In our increasingly global society and particularly in the field of social work, scholarship-based knowledge about and demonstrable competence in addressing diversity, human rights, and social justice issues are requisite for academic and professional excellence.”

Dr. Franks has more than 20 years of professional social work experience and has been actively involved in non-profit and private sector organizational consulting rooted in social work practice and theories of multicultural organizational development. She has extensive training in social psychological theories of group behaviour, models of education and analytically-focused group supervision. Dr. Franks co-developed and teaches the interdisciplinary course, “Rethinking Human Rights” at the School of International and Public Affairs with faculty from across Columbia University. With Dr. Tazuko Shibusawa, Dr. Franks co-chaired the “Self-Awareness for Practice in a Multicultural World” Orientation which she developed with social work faculty in 1996. That same year, together with Dr. Sheila Kamerman, she established the International Social Welfare Field of Practice at CUSSW. Dr. Franks serves as an officer on the Executive Committee of the Center for the Study of Human Rights at Columbia University. She was Associate Director of Field Education at CUSSW where she trained professional social workers and social work field instructors in culturally competent field instruction and innovative educational approaches.

Dean Takamura notes, “The body of Dr. Franks’ professional work, her research, and and her publications have been aimed at forwarding the discourse and building the competencies fundamental to achieving a world in which diversity, human rights and social justice are not contested concepts, but are measurable and authentic.”

Dr. Franks will collaborate with and serve as a resource to classroom and field faculty to educate students to embrace and effectively address diversity and human rights issues. Classical theories, an interdisciplinary systems approach, and multicultural paradigms and competencies will undergrid her work with faculty. The School looks forward to the new opportunity that her appointment presents to advance its commitment to successfully and skillfully facilitate and infuse challenging conversations on topics such as race and religion in all parts of the curriculum.

July, 2005

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