A Year-End Update from Dean Lindsey
Dear Silver Community and Friends,
I arrive at the end of my first year as Dean inspired and energized by all that we have accomplished together.
Because of your passion, drive and innovative spirit during the 2022-2023 academic year, we led in emerging areas of social work research and practice; recentered social justice in what we teach and do; found greater local, state and national exposure for our thought leaders; and took concrete steps to make our social work education more accessible to a diverse pipeline of students.
Amid these achievements, we continue to take pride in our tradition of clinical excellence and also rejoice that one of our own faculty, Dr. Linda G. Mills, will be President of New York University, effective July 1!
A growing leadership team to carry out our vision
Within Silver, additions and promotions within our leadership team put us on the best footing to advance our mission to be the top destination for students who want to make a difference in the world as innovative and impactful social work practitioners.
We saw the appointments of Dr. Linda Lausell Bryant as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Dr. Victoria Stanhope as Associate Dean of Faculty Affairs, Dr. Anne Dempsey as Interim Assistant Dean of Field Learning and Community Partnerships, Dr. Kirk “Jae” James as Director of the DSW Program, and Dr. Rohini Pahwa as Director of the PhD Program. We expanded our capabilities in critical areas with the hiring of Amy Greenstein as Assistant Dean of Enrollment Services, Erin Capone as Assistant Dean of Development and Aimee Vargas as Senior Advisor to the Dean, while elevating Sheryl Huggins Salomon to the role of Director of Strategic Communications.
Now, I’m proud to announce the following faculty appointments and promotions, which will take our scholarship and pedagogy to new heights starting in September 2023: Associate Professor Jordan DeVylder, who focuses on preventive mental health, with a particular emphasis on psychosis and suicide; Provost’s Postdoctoral Faculty Fellow and Assistant Professor Mohamad Adam Brooks, an expert in refugee and migrant mental health; Assistant Professor Sireen Irsheid, a critical race scholar focused on education inequities affecting youth; and Assistant Professor Dale Dagar Maglalang, who examines health behaviors and outcomes relating to substance use in BIPOC populations.
I hope you’ll also join me in congratulating Dr. Lausell Bryant for her promotion to Clinical Professor, a faculty rank shared only with Drs. Susan Gerbino and Diane Mirabito. Her scholarship and leadership have been influential as Silver continues to advance and innovate in the social work field. Her accolades are too numerous to list here, and include introducing the Adaptive Leadership framework into the graduate social work curriculum at Silver. She has been a full-time member of Silver’s clinical faculty since 2015, most recently holding the position of Clinical Associate Professor.
I am also pleased to announce that, effective in September, our Director of the Undergraduate Program, Dr. Cora de Leon, has been promoted to Clinical Associate Professor. She was most recently a Clinical Assistant Professor, focusing primarily on depressive disorders, child bereavement and federal tobacco policy. Our undergraduate students have benefitted immensely from her leadership.
As I reflect on these developments, I circle back to several commitments that I made when I began my tenure as Dean last July.
Making a social work education more accessible
There is a growing shortage of social workers to meet the burgeoning demand for mental health and social services, and NYU Silver has a vital role to play in addressing this crisis. I have previously shared our commitment to eliminating financial barriers to obtaining a social work education at Silver, as well as making education more accessible to a diverse candidate pool of students. Our students are asking for these measures, and we must always be responsive to where our field is heading.
NYU Silver has already taken steps to defray field placement onboarding and licensure costs for students with need, but that’s just the beginning.
I was proud to announce during this year’s graduation exercises that by the fall of 2024, we intend to align MSW practicum learning hours (also known as field learning) that MSW students are required to complete for Field Instruction I-IV from 1,200 hours to the 900 hours required by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), beginning in the Fall 2024.
Our School must work with our students, faculty, field agency partners and other New York City area schools of social work to get there, and we will. Hand in hand with these changes, we will make use of innovative tools and cutting-edge teaching methods in order to continue our tradition of providing a rigorous clinical education.
This development will not impact the number of hours required for MSW students in any pathway for incoming and current students in the Fall 2023 semester. We will provide additional details in the coming months, as we work internally in coordination with CSWE and the New York State Department of Education.
Addressing the need for more social workers in schools
Silver is taking additional steps to address critical needs in the communities around us and lead the field in workforce development.
The after-effects of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to reverberate, disproportionately impacting low-income communities and communities of color. Young people are heavily impacted, and it is taking a toll on their mental health.
This is a moment that many of our graduates today are trained to meet.
Over the years, I have called for having more social workers in schools, to meet the needs that children and teens have with their mental health and other concerns.
That’s why I’m proud of our plans to launch the School Social Work Training Academy, in partnership with the New York City Department of Education. It will be a national exemplar for how schools of social work and municipalities can work to address the critical shortage of school-based social workers.
Spearheaded by Dr. Linda Lausell Bryant, this new initiative will increase the pipeline of qualified and well-prepared professionals who can help shift the trajectories of K-12 students toward academic, social and career success.
It will prepare a cadre of diverse graduate MSW students to be competitive candidates for any available school social work jobs. It will also deepen the skills of school-based social work staff who are currently working on the front lines of need in some of our most vulnerable communities. The program will include tailored academic, professional and social supports in schools across New York City.
Leading the social work field in innovative research
The total number of proposals submitted by Silver investigators increased 40 percent over the prior year, and the total number of federal proposals submitted for which faculty are principal investigators increased by 75 percent, due to the tireless work of Associate Dean for Research Marya Gwadz, the Office for Research, and our scholars.
Furthermore, the School enjoys an NIH grant application success rate that is twice the average. Last August, Silver and Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development received a five-year, $5.8 million R01 research grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) for the WeCare study, which responds to an urgent need for an effective suicide risk detection, treatment, and prevention strategy for Black youth. I am among the Principal Investigators of the study, which uses a predictive algorithm in its suicide risk screening tool, along with a culturally-adapted suicide prevention intervention. The study is based at the NYU McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research and NYU’s Institute of Human Development and Social Change, and it is being implemented in two NYC hospitals.
Meanwhile, NIMH awarded Assistant Professor Kiara Moore with a four-year grant of nearly $740,000 that will enable her to adapt and test a mental health services engagement program to retain racial and ethnic minority young adults with serious mental illness in treatment. As the first K23 Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award received by an NYU Silver faculty member, the grant also provides support for training and mentorship to advance Dr. Moore’s goal of becoming an independent investigator focused on improving mental health services for underserved youth during the transition to adulthood.
Additionally, Professor Michelle Munson is Co-Investigator for a $54,061 R34 grant to adapt the evidenced-based intervention Critical Time Intervention for young adults with mental health conditions and test the adapted intervention in a randomized feasibility pilot trial. It is an NIMH/NIH subaward under the University of Houston.
At the same time, Silver continued to build on the foundation that has been established by Dr. Constance Silver and Martin Silver’s gift for artificial intelligence and data science scholarship, and our field is taking notice. At this year’s Society for Social Work Research conference, our Constance and Martin Silver Center on Data Science and Social Equity (C+M Silver Center) held a standing-room-only symposium. Attendees saw presentations about: employing natural language processing to measure person-centered care; utilizing geocoded Twitter data to predict Asian American well-being in the face of COVID-era bias; and the ethical implications of using machine learning to predict cognitive functioning across racial groups. C+M Silver Center Director of Operations Amanda Ritchie organized the symposium, while the presenters and discussants included Drs. Doris Chang, Ernest Gonzales and Victoria Stanhope; and doctoral students Daniel Baslock, Cliff Whetung and Nari Yoo.
Furthermore, the C+M Center is hosting the Summer Institute in Computational Social Science, which is bringing together graduate students, postdoctoral researchers and early-career faculty from social work and other disciplines to promote collaboration and research on computational social science for social good.
Your Role in the Past Year’s Successes
It has been so wonderful to connect with so many of you during the last year, whether it was during my summer open office hours, Orientation, Parlor events, the student art show, faculty and department meetings, advocacy-inspired meetings or just around campus. Thank you, as well, to all of our alums and partners for your emails, phone calls and meetings. I have been grateful to learn about all of you: your achievements, aspirations and what you have hoped we can achieve together. Let’s keep the dialogue going.
As you read this letter, I hope you see your hard work, passion and ideas reflected in our actions to expand access to a Silver education and progress deepening the impact of the Silver community on social work and the communities we serve. We have made substantial progress over the past year, and this is just the beginning. I am grateful that you have engaged us as we remain dedicated to our mission of creating a community that centers equity, inclusivity and social justice. Please continue to partner with us in the coming year.
Our Year in Review Report
The achievements of our students, faculty, staff and alums over the past year are impressive and too numerous to contain in a letter. To read a more detailed account of all that the Silver community has accomplished over the past year, please visit our Year in Review digital report.
Thank you for your continued support and impact.
Michael A. Lindsey
Dean and Paulette Goddard Professor of Social Work