2018–2019 Faculty Milestones & In the News
In addition to raising grants and producing publications, members of our faculty also marked important milestones, and made frequent media appearances, during the 2018–2019 academic year:
- Two long-serving faculty members—Professor Barbara Simon, an authority on the history of social work and activism in New York City, and Associate Professor of Professional Practice Marion Riedel—retired from teaching.
- Ada Mui and two fellow authors signed a book contract with Columbia University Press in May. Their work-in-progress, Narrative Practice with Older Adults: Unfolding Life Wisdom from East and West, is slated for completion in 2021.
- In April, Nabila El-Bassel was named University Professor, Columbia’s highest academic honor, becoming the first member of the School ever to receive this title. In his announcement, Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger highlighted El-Bassel’s focus on behavioral and social scientific approaches to addressing substance use, HIV/AIDS, and interpersonal violence within marginalized communities.
- For her role in assisting the Columbia School of Social Work in the adoption of a Power, Race, Privilege and Oppression (PROP) curriculum, Susan Witte was selected for the inaugural cohort of the Provost’s Senior Faculty Teaching Scholars, whose mission is to introduce innovations into the culture of teaching and learning at Columbia. The announcement was made in mid-March.
- Courtney Cogburn was invited to speak on civic storytelling and media platforms at the Center for Media & Social Impact’s Story Movements conference on March 1, 2019. She also presented in early April on her virtual reality film, 1000 Cut Journey, at the MCCA Global TEC Forum, which addresses diversity in the tech industry.
- In early March, Jane Waldfogel delivered expert testimony on paid family and medical leave policies to the House Ways & Means Committee. “The record is clear that [employers] will supply little coverage, particularly for the workers with the greatest need for it,” she stated.
- John Robertson launched the School’s first massive open online course (MOOC) on February 4, in partnership with Coursera, an online learning platform. The course, which teaches the basics of social policy, was originally developed by Interim Dean Irwin Garfinkel.
- Also on February 4, Jane Waldfogel was invited to present data from the Poverty Tracker project at Robin Hood’s third annual No City Limits conference, a day of action-oriented conversations around new strategies for advancing the fight against poverty. The Poverty Tracker acquires data on 4,000 families in New York City several times per year, providing a dynamic view of poverty in the city over time.
- Desmond Patton was appointed as a Presidential Leadership Scholar at the end of January 2019. Just before that, he had been named a Fellow of the Society for Social Work Research (SSWR) at the annual SSWR conference. Also at the SSWR conference, Heidi Allen received the Social Policy Researcher Award for her outstanding contributions to the field of health policy. Much of Allen’s work has focused on the expansion of Medicaid coverage as well as the persistent myths surrounding Medicaid.
- When the Rhode Island-based foster-care initiative Works Wonders™ won the Innovations in American Government Award from the Ash Center at the Harvard Kennedy School at the end of 2018, the Workplace Center, run by Lauren Gates, shared in the kudos. The Workplace Center had played a crucial role in crafting the curriculum for providing foster care youth in Rhode Island the skills and support they need to enter the world of work.
- Desmond Patton was awarded tenure by Columbia University.
- Mashura Akilova was selected for a Partners in International Education (PIE) Award by the CSWE Commission on Global Social Work Education. The awards are given in recognition of conceptual, curricular, and programmatic innovations in education for international social work.
- In July, Brooke West received a prize from the International AIDS Society for her research on the management of HCV co-infection in people who inject drugs.
In the News
- On May 6, 2019, University Professor Nabila El-Bassel was interviewed by Jamie Roth on NBC-NY for a segment on the federal government’s most recent attempt to reduce opioid-related deaths across the country by enlisting the help of the research community. El-Bassel discussed her plans to lower the barriers for opioid addicts to receive treatment in 15 New York State counties. The story was picked up by Crain’s New York Business and others.
- Because of her expertise on women who take drugs, Nabila El-Bassel was cited in an article in Bustle looking at why women in abusive relationships face unique challenges in the opioid crisis.
- New faculty member Rob Hartley, who has been working as a research scientist at the Center for Poverty and Social Policy, was quoted in a Washington Post article examining former Vice President Joe Biden’s claim that “almost half” of Americans live in poverty.
- Desmond Patton’s groundbreaking research on the relationship between social media and gang violence was featured in the A&E investigative series The Untold Story
- Vincent Schiraldi was quoted in an April 8, 2019, article in The Nation about the launch of the Youth Correctional Leaders for Justice, an initiative that seeks to unite current and former youth correctional administrators around a vision of a less punitive, more youth-, family-, and community-oriented vision of youth justice. Schiraldi also shared his expertise on mass incarceration and juvenile justice in the short documentary After Rikers: Justice By Design.
- Naomi Zewde’s research on baby bonds attracted coverage in Bloomberg Business Week as Cory Booker’s related proposal brought this topic to national attention.
- Courtney Cogburn, whose 12-minute virtual reality experience, 1000 Cut Journey, was featured at last year’s Tribeca Film Festival, was quoted in an article in Yes! magazine examining whether virtual reality can teach empathy. Cogburn explained that while her VR experience had been carefully crafted to change the perceptions of White people towards racism, empathy on its own would not be sufficient for social change.
- Nabila El-Bassel and Elwin Wu were profiled in a March 24, 2019, Chronicle of Higher Education article about their program to train underrepresented investigators entering the field of HIV intervention.
- In a March 20, 2019, op-ed for the Conversation, Nabila El-Bassel reported her research finding that men with substance use disorders often undermine their female partners’ recovery and asserted the need to study the role of violence against women in the perpetration of the opioid crisis.
- Neeraj Kaushal and her new book, Blaming Immigrants, were the subject of a Wall Street Journal Weekend Interview by Tunku Varadarajan, March 8, 2019. Among other points, Kaushal said: “The simplest way to reduce future growth in undocumented immigration isn’t a wall. It is to ease legal migration of blue-collar workers.”
- An innovative virtual memorial organized by Online Campus Administrative Director and adjunct faculty member Matthea Marquart and others for late faculty member Steven Schinke received attention in a February 26, 2019, Inside Higher Ed article.
- Naomi Zewde’s research on the comparative wealth of young White people and young Black people was highlighted in a Vox article on January 21, 2019.
- Jane Waldfogel was quoted in The Economist‘s special report on the art and science of parenting, published in early January 2019.
- Desmond Patton’s research on what social media posts can tell us about gang violence was the topic of a November 15, 2018, segment on WTTW, the PBS news station in Chicago; and his new VR project to raise awareness among Black men about the policing of their online activities received coverage on Voice of America on November 6, 2018.
- On October 25, 2018, Vincent Schiraldi published an op-ed in the New York Times about revoking parole for marijuana use, and one in Crain’s imagining the end of mass incarceration in New York City.
- Desmond Patton’s findings on the connections between youth violence and social media expression were the subject of a news feature in Nature, September 4, 2018.
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