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Collaborating globally to build and share knowledge and address injustices.

Part of the mission for the School of Social Welfare is to engage in empirically informed social work to transform lives and social contexts and promote social, economic, and environmental justice locally, nationally, and globally.  Social work research and practice are strengthened by building relationships in a global context, collaborating with other individuals and agencies with diverse perspectives on global issues, and participating in the shared commitment to improving lives everywhere.  International collaboration in the global context has many benefits both here and abroad, and it is important to consider the interconnected nature of local and global systems.







Visit the Office of Study Abroad for more information on any of these programs


International Social Work: A Costa Rican Perspective

The program provides students a general perspective on social services and broader social problems through a combination of lectures and site visits to social service agencies. These institutions focus on the institutional as well as individual aspects of social problems through individual troubles. In addition to daily seminars and site visits, students will have the opportunity to travel to significant cultural and historical sites in and around San José.  

The following questions shape the context for these experiences: What are the differences in service delivery across cultures? How does culture influence the definitions and responses to social problems and answers? What influence does global economics have on community practice, child welfare, mental health, and schools?


Bi-lingual Spanish Language Intensive for Social Workers

The goal of the program is to help students improve their language skills, become familiar with Costa Rican culture, and prepare future social workers to work in programs that serve immigrants. There will be several meetings prior to departure and upon return. While in Costa Rica, students will take an intensive Spanish language course at the Universidad de Costa Rica and live with a host family to further practice their language skills and be immersed in Costa Rican culture. Students can choose between two program lengths: one or two months.


Social Welfare in Italy

This 12-day program offers students the opportunity to gain an international perspective on social work through lectures, field trips to social service agencies, and presentations by social work faculty from the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore. The program will focus on the political, economic, and historical context of Italy as it impacts social work education and the delivery of social services. Students will visit social service agencies that address mental health, social work with children and families, public health, government and community-based social work practice, aging, and immigration issues. In addition to daily seminars and site visits, students will have the opportunity to travel to significant cultural and historical sites in Milan, Florence and the Lake Como region.


Visit the Office of Study Abroad for more information on any of these programs




Mahasweta Banerjee, Professor, BSW Program Director

Mahsweta Banerjee

Scholarship Focus
Theories and practices associated with enhancing social and economic justice; community development; micro-enterprise as an anti-poverty strategy; international social development; qualitative and quantitative research.

 Grand Challenge
Reduce extreme economic inequality. Build financial capability and assets for all.

Edward Canda, Professor

Edward Canda

Scholarship Focus
Connections between cultural diversity, spirituality and resilience in relation to health, mental health and disabilities.

 Grand Challenge
Achieve equal opportunity and justice. Create social responses to a changing environment. Advance long and productive lives.

Terry Koenig, Professor

Terry Koenig

Scholarship Focus
Ethical decision making in social work practice; social welfare philosophy; International social work development and cross-cultural practices; Central Asian and post-Soviet issues; aging, elder abuse and self-neglect; qualitative research methods.

 Grand Challenge
Achieve equal opportunity and justice.

Research Office Contacts
Amy Mendenhall
Associate Dean for Research
Jenni Atwood
Research Office Manager
Social Welfare Research Events
Recent Publications
Robbins, S., Chatterjee, P., Canda, E. R., & Leibowitz, G. (2019). Contemporary human behavior theory: A critical perspective for social work, fourth edition. New York: Pearson.
Canda, E. R. (2018). Foreword to integrative body-mind-spirit social work. In M.-Y. Lee, et al., Integrative body-mind-spirit social work: An empirically based approach to assessment and treatment, second edition. New York, USA: Oxford University Press.
Vetvik, E. E., Danbolt, T., Furman, L. D., Benson, P. W., & Canda, E. R. (2018). A comparative analysis of Norwegian and American social workers’ views about inclusion of religion and spirituality in social work. Journal of Religion & Spirituality in Social Work, 37(2), 105-127.