NYU Silver Launches 2018-19 Academic Year With New Level of Engagement in the Grand Challenges for Social Work

NYU Silver marked the start of the 2018-19 academic year with a new program of activity to engage students in the “Grand Challenges for Social Work,” a nationwide initiative harnessing social work’s science and knowledge base to forge real progress on 12 of the country’s toughest social problems.

As part of orientation for nearly 600 incoming students, the School held a panel discussion on the Grand Challenges featuring three NYU Silver faculty members who are national leaders on the initiative. A closed captioned video of the discussion, which was streamed in real time for returning students and other interested parties, may now be viewed on the School’s website.

NYU Silver Dean Neil B. Guterman moderated the conversation between Assistant Professor Ernest Gonzales, co-lead of the Advance Long and Productive Lives challenge; Professor Michelle R. Munson, an invited member of the Eradicate Social Isolation challenge; and Professor Deborah Padgett, co-lead of the End Homelessness challenge.

Dean Guterman, who participated in the 2012 retreat at which the notion of the Grand Challenges was born, is leading efforts to integrate the Grand Challenges more actively at NYU Silver. “We are excited to bring the Grand Challenges into our student’s learning experience,” he said, “and to encourage them to collaborate and think creatively about these issues within the context of the profession and their education.”

The panel featured lively discussion of topics, including how Drs. Gonzales, Munson, and Padgett are thinking differently about their challenges in the current environment than they were six years ago when the initiative was launched; how the development of the 12 Grand Challenges has changed their approach to their work in the social work field; and how NYU Silver students might most effectively engage with the Grand Challenges.

After the faculty discussion, student leaders Mary Burns and Elijah Thompson, both MSW '19, addressed the latter question by announcing the #NYUSilverUp4theChallenge Student Competition. Launched in fall 2018 and culminating in spring 2019, the student-led competition is designed to inspire students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels to propose concepts or projects that utilize the core Social Work values to address the pressing social issues included in the Grand Challenges. Finalists will be assigned a faculty mentor to support their progress and will receive a monetary award. The competition winner(s) will be designated as NYU Silver Grand Challenges Scholar(s). Full competition details will soon be available on the School’s website.

Watch the Grand Challenges Launch at NYU Silver

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