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
  • Providing mediation services

Mission Statement

At the Columbia School of Social Work, we believe that systems of racial oppression that impact our engagement across all sectors of society must be studied and challenged in order to dismantle these systems and address inequities across social identities. We are committed to centering race in our pursuit of social justice and anti-oppressive practice. We view this as a guiding principle for our community – using a power, race, oppression and privilege (PROP) framework across our curriculum, administrative practices, operations and personal interactions. Through the PROP lens, we aim to foster brave spaces where students, faculty and staff can engage in critically analyzing and addressing institutionalized racism, multi-systemic inequities, and various forms of oppression, thus creating an environment where diversity, equity and inclusion are at the center of our research, scholarship and all interactions with individuals, organizations and communities that we serve.

Commitment to Diversity

In June of 2020, the CSSW Council of Deans came together and issued a joint statement condemning anti-Black racism in all its forms and committing not just to making statements, but to taking action. Our words at that time were prompted by countless horrific acts of violence and injustice against Black Americans, all against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic as it ravaged communities of color. We need to make good on our promise to enact change for the better at CSSW.

To view our comprehensive antiracist action plan with additional and ongoing completed programs, please click here.

Headshot of Dean Melissa Begg
From the Dean

Melissa Begg, Dean and Professor of the Columbia School of Social Work, reaffirms the School's dedication to diversity and social justice. 

multitude of colorful faces are intertwined in sketches
Our Guiding Principles

Learn more about what Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion means at CSSW.

Exterior of CSSW building
DEI Advisory Committee

The committee is charged with improving the systematic attention given to concerns related to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. 

Classroom filled with students are seated while listening to a lecturer.

The Professional Development and Self Awareness program (PDSA) promotes an inclusive environment that fosters the development of self-awareness and accountability. 

Entryway of DEI office reveals two leather seats positioned behind a white table

Explore DEI-related resources and announcements. 

Artwork hanging in the DEI office
Heritage Calendar

The heritage calendar highlights holidays and observances related to diversity and equity. It also serves to foster awareness about social injustices impacting marginalized communities.

DEI Team

  • Lorenzo A Shaw-Graham Assistant Director, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
    Email: [email protected]
    Tel: 212-853-7045
  • Silas Dottor Project Coordinator, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
    Email: [email protected]

DEI Media Archives

Find fully captioned video recordings of previous events – lectures, workshops, conversations, celebrations – hosted by our office as well as the student-led Professional Development & Self-Awareness (PDSA) initiative. We encourage you to engage with the content with intention, and hope that the wisdoms may inform your deeper understanding of current events and issues related to power, race, oppression and privilege.

Office Hours

The Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion hosts weekly virtual office hours to support students’ success in remote learning environments. The DEI staff will be present to answer any questions, listen to concerns, and to share resources.

Visit Us

The home for the School of Social Work’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is on the 5th floor, Room 533 of the Social Work Building.  It consists of: 

  • A student lounge area.  The primary space for programming and community building for CSSW’s students of color and LGBTQIA+ students
  • Offices for the Senior Associate Dean for DEI, Enrollment and Community Engagement and the Assistant Director of DEI

To reserve the lounge, student groups should contact [email protected].

When not reserved, the space is available as a general lounge area (Open 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday–Thursday and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday.)

Still Have Questions? Contact Us.

Via Email at: [email protected]