Silver MSW program to start in Shanghai


Stephanie Grella, contributing writer

A new NYU Master of Social Work program will allow students who are fluent in both Mandarin and English to study for one year in Shanghai and one year in New York City. The NYU Silver School of Social Work announced the program on Oct. 3 and invited students to begin applying for the inaugural fall 2015 semester.

Modeled after NYU New York’s two-year MSW program, all courses in the new MSW will be taught in English. Students will have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in both Shanghai and New York City by working in social service agencies, as well as health settings. The program’s field instruction will be taught in Mandarin when students are in Shanghai.

Wen-Jui Han, co-director of NYU-ECNU Institute for Social Development at NYU Shanghai, said she believes that this globalized program will be ideal for students studying social work, fusing academic excellence with field experience.

“This rich and diverse experience is the foundation for every [aspect of] social work learning and education, and MSW program in Shanghai-New York is structured to provide just that,” Han said. “This program also provides the important platform and infrastructure for students to develop and grow to be a global citizen.”

Silver published a press release on Oct. 3 emphasizing the importance of student immersion in a country as economically driven and culturally rich as China.

“China holds particular importance for the social work profession as its government has embarked on a national initiative to increase the country’s social workers tenfold to 2 million by 2020,” the press release reads. “Graduates from this program will be fully equipped to work with populations in China or Chinese immigrant populations around the world.”

Silver dean Lynn Videka said the program is unique in its field, offering students a foundational education, both academically and culturally.

“This program is going to give a very important opportunity for students to study social work and social welfare in two very different cultures, and I think the graduates of this program will have a very keen intercultural understanding,” Videka said. “NYU is providing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have strong university infrastructures together with a closely focused program.”

With the program beginning in fall 2015, Han said NYU has begun recruiting prospective students. The first academic year will take place at NYU’s third degree-granting campus in Shanghai, while the following year will bring students to New York to study at NYU’s Washington Square campus.

“What is going to set this program apart from others is our deliberate attention to infuse global content into every one of our courses in the curriculum,” Han said. “This program allows students to get at least one step closer to be a global citizen by opening their eyes and minds about different issues, cultures, beliefs and values.”

Videka notes that Silver’s undergraduate program was recently ranked number two in the country for social work.

“We are very, very proud of that,” Videka said. “It all reflects the students and faculty, so the credit goes to them.”

A version of this article appeared in Wednesday, Oct. 8 print edition. Email Stephanie Grella at [email protected]

*Correction: an earlier version of the headline misidentified the program as an MA. WSN regrets this error.