Dean's Column

From Dean Nancy J. Smyth

Portrait of Nancy Smyth.

This issue of Mosaics contains an excellent overview of the breadth of our programs and collaborations, as well as some of the impactful ways that your donations and support help our students gain an even richer immersive experience.

Our feature story on the exploration of the human-animal bond through social work reminded me of the flexibility of our MSW program. The MSW degree is a "license to learn." Some MSWs know what they want to focus on from the start, and use our "design your own concentration" degree to do just that. Others need time and experience after earning their degree to find their passion, whether it's veterinary social work, health disparities, or real estate. Either way, what you've focused on during your time here is just the beginning. Continuing education and certificate programs are excellent options for more in-depth knowledge. 

Our ongoing collaboration with the nonprofit Say Yes Buffalo is multi-pronged and mutually beneficial—providing resources for Say Yes “clients,” who are Buffalo area public and charter school students and their families; the staff and other stakeholders of Say Yes; and our own faculty and students. Our social work educational community strives to be part of intentional change-making. That is why our support of the Say Yes Buffalo goal, to ensure that every public and charter school child graduates high school and has access to and support for post-secondary education, is so meaningful. 

Our Social Impact Fellows initiative is a striking example of our generous donors' dollars at work. The summertime program offers our MSW students the chance to collaborate in a small multidisciplinary team (3 people) and affect real change within a nonprofit agency or business. We're hearing from the leaders of those organizations that these are consistently the highest value students projects they've had.

Philanthropic giving also empowers us to send several students a year to the Congressional Research Institute for Social Work and Policy (CRISP) Political Boot Camp and Media Training help in Washington, DC. The school has a specific fund designated to supporting students who want to learn about policy and political action for social workers. They tell us the experience is life-changing. And we couldn't do it without you. 

                                                            Nancy J. Smyth, PhD, LCSW