July 17, 2008

National council to honor School of Social Work

by K.C. Jaehnig

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The national Council on Social Work Education will recognize Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s School of Social Work during the council’s annual meeting this fall in Philadelphia.

The school has made outstanding contributions and demonstrated engagement and leadership in the field of international social work both at home and abroad, according to Golam M. Mathbor, chair of the council’s award committee. It therefore will receive a Partners in Advancing Education for International Social Work Award, conferred by the council’s Commission on Global Social Work Education annually since 2003.

“This recognition from your colleagues in the international field is very well deserved,” wrote Mathbor to Mizanur R, Miah, the school’s director, in an e-mail July 15 announcing the honor.

To select this year’s honoree, the committee evaluated six schools nominated from among 600 degree-granting social work education programs.

“We heard we were rated by each member of the committee as No. 1,” Miah said.

The school’s international focus plays out on a number of fronts, Miah said. For example, it collaborates with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency in providing a two-year certified education program for 300 social workers and supervisors in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank and Gaza.

It has ties with 11 universities in eight countries, with Study Abroad programs in Austria, Bangladesh, Ecuador, Egypt, Germany, Mexico and India and an Elderhostel program in Mexico.

The school has worked actively with the Microcredit Summit Campaign, an international effort aimed at helping the world’s poorest families raise their standard of living, and has memberships in the International Consortium for Social Development, the International Federation of Social Workers and the International Association of Schools of Social Work. It financially supports several international conferences and serves as a publication partner of the international journal Social Development Issues.

Roughly half the school’s tenured and tenure-track professors hail from other countries, and it often hosts visiting scholars from abroad. Many faculty members serve on international committees and have working ties or research partnerships with colleagues overseas.

In addition, the school draws a number of international students to both its undergraduate and graduate programs, offers all international graduate students assistantships and strives to place students in other countries for field practicums.

“I think it says something that a small school in the rural Midwest can win this award,” Miah said.

“It gives us a lot of pride.”