Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Statement from the Dean

Columbia School of Social Work stands at the forefront of social justice and human rights. Our approach is and always has been rooted in the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion. While we aspire to these principles, we recognize that we must be engaged in a continual process of improvement and renewal. There is much work ahead. The DEI Office provides tangible evidence of the School’s commitment, and new momentum to push us to practice vigilance, enhance self-awareness, and engage in deep introspection to pursue these principles in all of our educational and research programs.

Melissa D. Begg
Dean & Professor
Columbia School of Social Work

Welcome to the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

The Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the Columbia School of Social Work is committed to fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion practices and policies in classrooms, social spaces, offices, and all interactions between CSSW students, faculty, and staff. The Office was created as a result of a student-led initiative to demonstrate a commitment to social justice, equity, and inclusion.

The DEI Office oversees and develops programming and services that link issues of diversity, multiculturalism, inclusion, intersectionality, and social justice for students, faculty, and staff, including:

  • facilitating affinity group-based supportive spaces, workshops and trainings for students, faculty and staff
  • organizing school-wide heritage celebrations.
  • collaborating with student caucuses; and
  • providing mediation services.

If you have a DEI-related concern, feedback or event idea, please share here.

“For any student—no matter their identity—please come see me if you are feeling marginalized and need support. … If you need to brainstorm about how to manage a challenging conversation, or wish for me to mediate a conversation, I’m always willing to meet to discuss that. Additionally, I welcome students to just come talk to me about anything DEI-related, particularly if they have event or programming ideas, or wish to see the School address particular concerns in a better way.”

Visit Our Space in Room 533

The home for the School of Social Work’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is the first space you see when exiting the elevator on the 5th floor of the Social Work Building. It contains

  • A student lounge area, the primary space for programming and community building for CSSW’s students of color and LGBTQIA+ students
  • Offices for the Assistant Dean of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and the DEI Program Coordinator

To reserve the lounge, student groups should contact swdei@columbia.edu. When not reserved, the space is available as a general lounge area, open 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Monday–Thursday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday.

Questions/concerns? Contact us: swdei@columbia.edu

DEI Team

Karma Lowe
Assistant Dean, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
knl3@columbia.edu 212-851-2364 Room 531
Christopher Won
Program Coordinator
cw3264@columbia.edu 212-853-7045 Room 533
2019–2020 Diversity Committee

This committee is charged with improving the systematic attention given to concerns related to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. In addition to faculty and administrators, there are multiple student members. This committee typically meets once per month.

Melissa Begg
Dean, Professor
Karma Lowe
Assistant Dean, DEI
Chris Won
Program Coordinator, DEI
Moira Curtain
Assistant Dean, Director, Advising
Courtney D. Cogburn
Associate Professor
Rick Greenberg
Idris A Hamid
Elwin Wu
Ovita F. Williams
Associate Director, Field Education
Desmond Patton
Associate Professor, Associate Dean, Curriculum Innovation &
Academic Affairs
Julien Teitler
Professor; Senior Associate Dean, Research & Academic Affairs
Adam J. Pellegrini
Director, Writing Center
Lorenzo Shaw-Graham
Student (final year)
Richard A Unite
Student (first year)
Sanjana Nidugondi
Student (first year)
Yunhe Bai
Student (first year)

Diversity Committee Goals

  • To promote and support the ongoing recruitment and retention of students, faculty, and staff of color and other underrepresented groups at CSSW
  • To support the Academic Affairs team, course conveners and DEI Office in suffusion of the Power, Race, Oppression and Privilege (PROP) framework throughout the curriculum, administrative practices and school policies
  • To encourage faculty, students and administrative teams to build collaborative, and mutually-beneficial partnerships between CSSW and communities
  • To support the Assistant Dean of DEI in developing systems of accountability for social justice, equity, and inclusion work within and beyond CSSW
  • To support the Assistant Dean of DEI in coordinating school-wide DEI strategic planning efforts