Collaboration With Social Work Schools in Central Regions of China

7/24/2015

By Dr. Fei Sun

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As part of a 5-year initiative launched by the Council of Social Work Education (CSWE) in the United States and the China Association of Social Work Education (CASWE), the Arizona State University’s (ASU) School of Social Work (SSW), among the seven social work schools nationally selected, has entered the 3rd year of its collaboration with social work schools in central China. The collaborative project with the Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST) and nine other Chinese universities in that region is focused on providing training and assistance related to the large-scale development of social work education currently occurring in China.

The spring exchange forum at ASU’s SSW and summer training in regional schools in China are two core components of this initiative. From April 17–28,2015, the ASU’ SSW hosted a group of eight Chinese social work delegates who attended the second China Social Work Education Exchange forum. Delegates were from six different universities in central China and attended a 6-day workshop at ASU. Delegates joined seminars on various topics such as MSW curriculum design, cognitive behavioral therapy and photo-voice as a method of empowerment, visited Hospice of the Valley at the Mayo Clinic, and shared their perspectives regarding future collaboration plans.

 From July 1–10, Drs. Flavio Marsiglia, Judy Krysik, and Fei Sun visited the HUST and the Jiangxi University of Finances and Economics (JUFE). A 5-day workshop was hosted in JUFE, where the three faculty members addressed family social work, social work with children, and gerontological social work. More than 80 attendees from over 30 universities and 10 service agencies around China participated. According to Dr. Guohe Jiang, who was the coordinator of this training at the JUFE, “The workshop was very well received. Participant numbers increased by 150% compared to last year, and 98% of them rated high satisfaction with this learning experience,” In addition, Professor Flavio Marsiglia was named Honored International Affiliate Professor from the vice president of the JUFE on July 9.

In the fall of 2015, the collaboration will be expanded to include a student exchange program. One MSW student of HUST named Yinan Li, who received a fellowship from the China Department of Education, will come to ASU as a visiting student for 6 months. The other three JUFE MSW students, funded jointly by a grant received by Dr. Sun from the International Associations of School of Social Work and the JUFE, will stay for 1 month interning at aging or child welfare services agencies in Phoenix, AZ.

Moreover, with the support of two SSW directors, Michelle Carney at ASU and Jianding Ding at the HUST, Drs. Sun, David Androff, and Barbara Klimek are working together to develop a study abroad program focusing on civil leadership and community development from a cross cultural perspective. If successful, it will be the first China study abroad program at ASU. It is the hope that ASU students, not limited to those in social work, will have this opportunity to directly observe and participate in community services and practice in Chinese cities such as Wuhan, Beijing, or Xi’an, and in smaller towns in rural areas as well.

Nationally, the President of CSWE, Dr. Darla Coffey, has launched an evaluation of the entire China Collaborative. This October, Dr. Michelle Carney will present the third-year project progress to the other six peer universities in the United States at CSWE’s Annual Program Meeting in Denver, CO. Members of the Collaborative from China will also present during the conference. Looking forward, many more exciting opportunities such as building a collaborative degree program and launching a U.S.–China research center on health disparities are on the horizon.