Summer Travels with the Boston College Social Work Faculty

Just this past week, the fall semester entered into full swing. But while the start of classes signals a return to academic inquiry for a lot of us, many members of the BCSSW faculty were hard at work over the summer, teaching, presenting speeches, conducting research, and forging partnerships with individuals outside our campus walls.

In keeping with the global nature of our school, many of their pursuits took them far and wide. Here are a few of the interesting summer projects BCSSW faculty members participated in, outside of Boston.

Ruth McRoy & Tiziana Dearing – The Vatican 

Ruth McRoyIn July Ruth McRoy joined Tiziana Dearing for meetings in Vatican City with a Catholic researcher who worked on Laudato Si, as well as the American Ambassador to the Vatican, Ken Hackett. With Hackett, McRoy and Dearing discussed perspectives on the encyclical, the role that social and environmental justice play in our changing world, and future issues of importance to the Catholic Church and the U.S. With the researcher, conversation surrounded how to best facilitate open dialogue on Laudato Si, and to do so across diverse populations.

Westy Egmont – Italy

westy-egmont-513x336For the second straight summer, Westy Egmont convened a course on immigrant integration in Europe, bringing students to the principal gateway for undocumented immigration in the continent, Italy. Over the course of two weeks, the class visited with social workers, academics, and government officials in Venice, Verona, Milan, and Rome as they studied the impact of migration on our changing world, and what it means for them as the next generation of social workers. Check out the student-led blog chronicling the course.

David Takeuchi – Chicago, USA

takeuchi3Research Dean David Takeuchi was in Chicago in August to accept the Leonard I. Pearlin award from the American Sociological Association for his distinguished contributions to the sociological study of mental health. Takeuchi was also named Secretary of the ASA, the world’s largest association of sociologists.


Stephanie Berzin – Chile

stephanie-berzin-513x336 copyStephanie Berzin led a unique course in conjunction with the Pontificia Universidad Catolica designed to get students engaged in a collaborative innovation project focused on a women’s prison in the capital city of Santiago. Follow the experience of four BCSSW MSW students on their blog The Chilean Context: Exploring and Analyzing Visitation and Mother-Child Attachment in a Santiago Female Prison.

Jim Lubben – Singapore

Jim LubbenJim Lubben gave the keynote address at the Social Isolation Seminar at the National University of Singapore in June. As the author of the Lubben Social Network Scale, which helps to screen for social isolation among older adult populations, he discussed how to use the scale as a measure of social isolation. His remarks also took a broad view of how forging better social connections and creating more supportive communities can improve the psychological and physical health of millions of vulnerable citizens. The seminar was organized by the Next Age Institute, Centre for Social Development Asia, and the Social Service Institute.

Margaret Lombe – Zambia

Margaret Lombe“Poverty, Human Rights, and Environmental Justice” was a new Summer 2015 course from the Office of International Programs in Lusaka, Zambia led by Margaret Lombe and Andrew Tirrell of BC Law. The course asked students to conduct analyses of three major case studies in the following areas: land and mineral rights (the Mopani Copper Mine), water resources and hydroelectric (the Kariba Hydroelectric Dam), and forest management (the UN REDD deforestation national program).

Tiziana Dearing – SPARK Camp, Minneapolis, USA

tizian-dearing-513x336 copyThe Vatican wasn’t Tiziana Dearing’s only prestigious invite this summer – in June, she went to Minneapolis for Spark Camp, a “next generation convener” that the magazine Fast Company has called “the ultimate summer camp for influencers.” During her time in Minnesota, Dearing and other leaders in their respective fields discussed the changing dynamics of giving. Special invited guests included founders of platforms for giving, philanthropists, nonprofit fundraisers, scholars who’ve studied the science of giving, as well as up-and-coming millennial changemakers.

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