Congratulations to Professor Nabila El-Bassel on Appointment to University Professor

Congratulations to Nabila El-Bassel, the Willma and Albert Musher Professor of Social Work, to the rank of University Professor, the highest academic honor.

From the Office of the President:

A tireless leader in the fields of global public health and social work, Professor El-Bassel has dedicated her career to improving the lives of people who have too often been overlooked or neglected.  Her landmark scholarship focuses on behavioral and social sciences approaches to addressing substance use, HIV/AIDS, and interpersonal violence within marginalized communities.  She is one of the nation’s foremost experts in these areas and a pioneer in designing sophisticated and innovative gender-based interventions, many of which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have identified as models and best practices, and which have revolutionized prevention and treatment of stigmatized conditions across the United States and the world.  Currently, she is leading community and system-based research to address the opioid epidemic in New York State.

Professor El-Bassel is the recipient of extensive funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).  She is a Principal Investigator on the NIMH HIV Intervention Science Training Program for Racial Ethnic Minority HIV Investigators and a Principal Investigator on the T32 NIH Training Program on HIV and Criminal Justice.  And, she has served as a member of the National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse.

We are proud that Professor El-Bassel calls Columbia her intellectual home.  After completing a BSW at Tel Aviv University and an MSW at the School of Social Work and Social Welfare at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, she earned her PhD at the Columbia School of Social Work and continued her training here as a Research Associate in the Center for Social Policy and Practice in the Workplace and as a Research Associate and Research Scholar in the Social Intervention Group, before becoming its Director.  She is also Director of Columbia’s Global Health Research Center of Central Asia, the core activities of which are outcome-driven and designed to improve the health and well-being of vulnerable populations in the region.

A University Professor appointment is a rare and distinguished honor among our faculty.  Not only does it signify scholarly merit of the highest caliber, it also designates the recipient as a professor of the entire University who can teach across schools and departments.  Professor El-Bassel has devoted her career to the pursuit of knowledge and innovation that can strengthen communities and improve the human condition.  She has established social work as a recognized profession in countries where it previously did not exist and has mentored generations of new researchers in a field that has had a transformative effect on the lives of at-risk populations.  She richly deserves this honor—please join me in congratulating her.

Susan Witte Selected as Provost’s Senior Faculty Teaching Scholar

From the Office of the Dean:

…CSSW Professor Susan Witte has been selected as a member of the inaugural cohort of the Provost’s Senior Faculty Teaching Scholars in recognition of her outstanding achievements in both teaching and research.

Dr. Witte is a scholar whose classroom pedagogy integrates issues of power, race, oppression, and privilege (PROP). She joins an increasing number of adult educators who are asking students to critically analyze and challenge dominant culture and structures, and to study social work through the lens of anti-oppressive practice. She challenges herself and her students to make authentic efforts at personal and professional exploration of the role that all “isms,” but particularly racism, play in how we construct our curriculum and the utility and relevance of this material to professional development.

The Provost’s Senior Faculty Teaching Scholars initiative aims to develop a cohort of senior faculty who will each have the opportunity to create a vision and plan for supporting, changing and innovating the culture of teaching and learning within their own department or school and across campus. In partnership with the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL), the Provost’s Senior Faculty Teaching Scholars may choose from a range of teaching and learning initiatives and I look forward to seeing Dr. Witte work both within the school and across the Columbia graduate community to explore the integration of issues of PROP, “isms,” and beyond throughout our curricula.

Congratulations to Dr. Witte on this achievement!

Professor Zhao from Beijing University of Technology (BJUT) Shares Insights on Social Work Education and Career Paths in China

The Office of Career Services and Leadership Management, in partnership with the China Center for Social Policy, were pleased to welcome Professor Liqin Zhao, Department Chair of Social Work, College of Humanities and Social Sciences of Beijing University of Technology (BJUT), to lead a presentation on social work education and career paths in China. Attendees had the opportunity to learn about the evolution of social work education, the growing demand for social workers with the rise of social and economic changes in China, and the various opportunities and career paths they can pursue.

Thank you to Professor Zhao and the entire delegation from BJUT, including Deputy Dean Jianguo Hu, Yuzhou Xing, Faculty Member, and Chenting Song, Faculty Member, for joining us, as well as CSSW Professor Qin Gao, Director of the China Center for Social Policy for coordinating the presentation.

Presentation on Social Work Education and Career Paths in China | Tuesday, November 13

Join us for a conversation with Professor Liqin Zhao, Chair of the Department of Social Work at Beijing University of Technology, and Professor Qin Gao, Director of the China Center for Social Policy at CSSW to learn about social work education and career paths in China. This is a great opportunity for Chinese nationals as well as others who wish to explore social work jobs abroad.

Tuesday, November 13
1:00 – 2:00 pm
CSSW Room C06

Professor Liqin Zhao is the Chair of the Department of Social Work at Beijing University of Technology (BJUT). She holds a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from Beijing Normal University. Professor Zhao’s research focuses on the learning motivation of adolescents and the application of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) in addressing adolescents’ anxiety and depression. She has taught courses on Personality, Counseling Theories and Practices, and Social Psychology. Prof. Zhao has also engaged in psychological counseling for undergraduate and graduate students at BJUT.

National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity | New Resource for Faculty, Graduate Students, and Postdocs

From the Office of Faculty Diversity and Inclusion:

As part of the University’s continued commitment to nurturing a climate where current, new, and future faculty can thrive, Columbia has joined the National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity (NCFDD).

The NCFDD is an independent professional development, training, and mentoring community of faculty, postdocs, and graduate students from over 450 colleges and universities. They provide a variety of virtual programs and resources including:

  • Weekly Monday Motivator
  • Monthly Core Curriculum Webinars
  • Monthly Guest Expert Webinars
  • Access to Multi-Week Courses
  • Access to Dissertation Success Curriculum for graduate students
  • Private Discussion Forum for peer-mentoring, problem-solving, & moderated writing challenges
  • Monthly accountability buddy matches
  • Access to 14-Day Writing Challenges
  • Access to the Member Library that includes past webinar materials, referrals, and readings

The Institutional Membership includes access to NCFDD resources for ALL Columbia faculty, graduate students and postdocs.

  1. To claim your free membership, complete the following steps:
  2. Go to the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity website (
  3. Select the “Become a Member” tab and choose “Claim Your Institutional Membership.”
  4. Within the list of universities, click on “Columbia University.”
  5. Complete the registration form by following all instructions. Be sure to provide your Columbia email address.
  6. Once you have submitted your registration information and NCFDD has approved your connection to Columbia, you should receive a welcome email.

If you have any questions about Columbia’s institutional membership, please contact Shana Lassiter (Assistant Provost for Faculty Diversity and Inclusion) at [email protected].

Additional information, including a calendar of upcoming NCFDD events, can also be found at

If you have any technical questions, please email NCFDD at [email protected].

Post Election Events including Panel Discussion with CSSW Policy Faculty | Wednesday, November 7

Join Dr. Irwin (Irv) Garfinkel and policy faculty for two separate events addressing the social policy implications of the midterm elections.

  1. Facebook LIVE with Dr. Irwin (Irv) Garfinkel: 11:30 am – 12:00 pm
    In this week’s Social Work LIVE program, Michael Friedman interviews Dr. Irwin Garfinkel, CSSW’s interim dean, on the social policy implications of the mid-term elections. Tune in remotely on Columbia School of Social Work’s Facebook page.

    This is the third in a new weekly “Social Work LIVE” series hosted by Professor Michael Friedman. Tune in every Wednesday at noon for a lively conversation on a social work topic championed by one of our in-house experts.

  2. Panel Discussion with CSSW Policy Faculty: 12:15 pm – 1:45 pm
    Attend this panel (Social Work Building, Room C03; also live-streamed) to hear CSSW’s policy faculty discuss the likely impact of the election results on the areas they cover.

About the Panel

The panel will be moderated by Professor Jane Waldfogel (bio). Interim Dean Irwin Garfinkel (bio) will offer closing thoughts and reflections.

Panelists and their topics:

  • Chris Wimer (bio): SNAP and people in poverty
  • Neeraj Kaushal (bio): immigration
  • Heidi Allen (bio): Healthcare and ACA
  • Ron Mincy (bio): Taxes and poverty
  • John Robertson (bio): Community organizing

Register for one or both events

Questions? Please contact [email protected].

World Leaders Forum Continues in October

The World Leaders Forum is pleased to offer the below listed event opportunities:

Please note the following:

  • Online registration is required and seating is limited. Please visit the online links for more detailed event information and to register.
  • Registration is open to current students, faculty, and staff from Columbia University, Barnard College, and Teachers College.
  • All events will be held in the Teatro, Italian Academy.

Monday, October 29 @ 6:00 pm

World Leaders Forum: Her Excellency Paula-Mae Weekes, President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago

Online registration is required and is currently open. To register, click here.

Friday, November 2 @ 12:00 pm

World Leaders Forum: Estonia, the Land of Skype, the Digital Land
Online registration is required and is currently open. To register, click here.

Friday, November 16 @ 10:00 am

World Leaders Forum: Cities of the Mind: Lost Cities and Their Inhabitants
Online registration is required and is currently open. To register, click here.

From Idea to Intervention: Breaking down the research process from start to finish

Interested in learning more about the research process? Ever wanted to know how you get from a research idea to the development of an intervention?

Then considering attending this upcoming presentation! 

“From Idea to Intervention: Breaking down the research process from start to finish.”

Monday, November 5, 1:00 – 2:00 pm
Presenters: Professor Elwin Wu and Assistant Professor Brooke West
CSSW, Room 1109
RSVP: not required
General Contact: Jenissis Jeanty ([email protected])

In this training session, Professor Elwin Wu and Assistant Professor Brooke West will discuss the phases of research from start to finish, including how research ideas are generated, how studies are designed and implemented and what needs to be done along the way to make sure that the work is ethical and responsible. This session is open to all students and provide an opportunity to learn more about how research gets done. As this will be an informal chat, please come with questions.


Dr. Elwin Wu is a Co-Director of the CSSW Social Intervention Group (SIG) and Co-Director of the HIV Intervention Science Training Programfor Racial/Ethnic Minority New Investigators. He is also a Director of Columbia University’s Training, HIV, Substance Abuse, and Criminal Justice Fellowship Program, and Co-Direcor of Global Health Research Center of Central Asia (GHRCCA), also at Columbia University. His practice experience includes direct clinical practice with individuals, couples, and groups with agencies serving primarily the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities; evaluation of violence prevention programs for perpetrators of intimate partner violence in same-sex relationships; and program development and evaluation for criminal justice-involved adolescents and adults.


Dr. Brooke West is a medical sociologist whose global and domestic research examines determinants of HIV/STI and substance use, as well as reproductive health and violence exposure. Drawing on social science and public health approaches, she examines the conditions in which health risks occur for substance using populations, women in sex work, and other stigmatized groups.

Dr. West is the principal investigator on a NIDA-funded study that examines the intersection of venue-based risk and networks for substance-using women in Tijuana, Mexico, with the goal of informing the development of targeted interventions that create safer spaces for affected people. Other projects include evaluation and development of sexual and reproductive health programs in Kenya, South Africa, Zambia, and the United States.

She received her PhD in Sociomedical Sciences from Columbia University in 2014. She also has an MA in Sociology from Cornell University and a BA in Sociology and Philosophy from Cleveland State University.