Dean's Column

From Dean Nancy J. Smyth

Portrait of Nancy Smyth.

Welcome to the fall 2019 issue of Mosaics.

We are excited to announce that colleagues Dr. Paul Stasiewicz and Dr. Clara Bradizza, both psychologists who were formerly of UB’s Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, have joined our faculty as full professors; in addition, Stasiewicz assumes the newly established Janet B. Wattle Endowed Chair.

Adding two more full professors to our senior leadership is a boon for the School’s entire academic community. We are especially thrilled that their addition fulfills our current faculty’s desire for mentorship in funded clinical studies—Stasiewicz and Bradizza bring with them $9 million in NIH-funded research; our faculty is looking forward to learning how to expand their own research portfolios similarly.

You will also see information about our country’s immigration crisis—specifically, about asylum seekers at the U.S./Mexico border. This is a glaring global issue, and while it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by its enormity, we focus on interdisciplinary advocacy and action, which we and many others realize is so important. We are proud that several of our students partnered with the law school and traveled to Texas.

The new UB micro credential program is another effort that answers a wider calling: that of non-degree–related credentials and certificates. While degrees are absolutely still relevant (I think the MSW is terrific, even though many employers and others outside the field may not yet understand what’s behind it), students and professionals need other ways to stay current and show others that they are current. And the embeddable digital badge (versus a paper certificate), is a thoroughly modern way to show one’s achievement.

I continue to be fascinated by the many ways in which social work is relevant outside of our traditional and assumed areas. We as social workers and social work educators understand the huge applicability of the training that we have, the skill sets that we can share, the approaches to problem-solving and community-building that are second nature to us. I hope you agree, and find stories that illustrate this as you journey through this issue of Mosaics.

                                                            Nancy J. Smyth, PhD, LCSW