BC Social Work Partners with Latin American Universities to Bolster Doctoral Studies in Social Welfare

Lubben (center) meets with IBERO's Dean of Graduate Studies, Ana Bertha Perez, and Rector, David Fernandez Davalos, S.J.

Lubben (center) meets with Iberoamericana’s Dean of Graduate Studies, Ana Bertha Perez, and Rector, David Fernandez Davalos, S.J.

BC Social Work’s international doctoral program in social welfare is a unique collaboration between BCSSW and other Jesuit universities in Mexico and Chile.

This past month, the program’s director, Jim Lubben, and its assistant director, Chabeli Nadal, spent a week in Mexico meeting with representatives from Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City and Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Occidente (ITESO) in Guadalajara. The goal of the visit: to further develop relationships and programs between the partner institutions towards bolstering a long, productive, and collaborative future.

“We’re building a community of scholars whose goal is to investigate issues related to social welfare,” explains Lubben. “There were numerous moments throughout the course of our week where I could see this community blossoming. Already, our program is populated by talented individuals who I’m confident will become the kind of ambassadors necessary to bring social welfare issues to the fore of academic thought in Mexico and across Latin America.”

International PhD students from IBERO with Professor Lubben (Left to Right): Luz Maria Hernandez, Paola Campos, Jim Lubben, and Pablo Gaitan.

International PhD students from Iberoamericana with Lubben (left to right): Luz Maria Hernandez, Paola Campos, and Pablo Gaitan.

Over the course of the week, Lubben and Nadal enjoyed an audience with the president of Iberoamericana, David Fernandez Davalos, S.J., who voiced his support for the program. They also spoke with administrators, faculty, students, and prospective students from both schools (including six who have applied for the 2016-2017 academic year). Conversation surrounded the use of new technologies to enhance distance learning and exchange, a better harmonization of protocols between the Mexican and American higher education systems, and the hoped-for development of an MSW program in Mexico in the future. Lubben also met with scholars from Iberoamericana’s Institute for Research on Sustainable Development and Social Equity (In Spanish, EQUIDE), who are implementing his Lubben Social Network Scale on ongoing health and social policy research initiatives. Of course, there was time for great fellowship as well, and some fantastic food.

“We were absolutely able to see that once you plant the seeds, the community can take root and find growth on its own,” adds Nadal. “In the past, there was little opportunity for Mexican academics interested in social welfare to actually educate next generations of Mexicans, at home. Through our partnership with Iberoamericana and ITESO, this reality is changing.”

In addition to relationships with Iberoamericana and ITESO, Boston College has signed an agreement with Universidad Alberto Hurtado in Santiago, Chile. The program is generously funded by Santander Universities Foundation.  Learn more on our website.

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