An Interview with Dean Jeffery P. Braden: On the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and the Department of Social Work.


Dean Braden believes the Department of Social work is a leader in showing how NC State’s land grant mission is realized. “We have good scholars who contribute to the field of social work who also enhance the quality of life for North Carolina communities and people,” he said. “Our department effectively combines professional training with a deep understanding of social justice and a commitment to providing that [social justice] to the community.” Braden added that he personally identified with the Department of Social Work: both of his parents earned master’s degrees in Social Service Administration and practiced as social workers throughout their careers. Braden is pleased with the amount of extramural funding received by the Department of Social Work, including Dr. Karen Bullock and Dr. Jodi Hall’s award from the federal Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA) for $1.1 million for three years. The grant aims to prepare graduates to work in the mental health field with under-served young people ages 16 to 25. Braden is impressed by the number of service hours that Department of Social Work students in field-work placements provide to surrounding communities. Braden also acknowledged the accomplishment of the student Caterina Schenck who was selected to be the Dean-for-a-day, is a Social Work Major. When asked what achievements he’s most proud of at the college level, Braden said he is proud that we are home to the first endowed center and first humanities center at NC State. The college received an $8 million gift to create the Moise A. Khayrallah Center for Lebanese Diaspora Studies. The gift was provided by Dr. Moise Khayrallah and Vera Khayrallah. Mrs. Khayrallah is a licensed social worker with a Master of Social Work degree. Braden is also pleased with project VOLAR which has partnered with Spanish-speaking students and existing organizations within the Hispanic community to provide English/Spanish translation in medical settings in Raleigh. The partnership has received two awards, the Opal Mann Greene Engagement and Scholarship Award and an award from the City of Raleigh. In light of recent issues surrounding diversity, equity and social justice occurring in both the Triangle and the United States, I asked the dean how the college was working to ensure that we all continue to work against racism and discrimination. Braden explained that “at NC State, and in our college, we address issues of racism, social justice and discrimination on three levels: through recruitment and retention of a diverse student body; by recruiting and retaining a diverse faculty; and by contributing to the intellectual discussion of diversity in our college, on campus and in the community through our various disciplines.” Braden listed some of the many ways we address these topics, including film screenings, panel discussions, teach-ins and in classroom conversations. “Our disciplines seek to elaborate what diversity is, to truly illuminate what it means to be religiously, culturally and ethnically diverse,” he said. “Through their studies and their research, NC State faculty and students seek to define equity, diversity and social justice and what these topics mean, not only to the university but also to the community. Braden said that he truly believes that because NC State, H&SS and the Department of Social Work are all trusted resources of social justice; that it is “our obligation and our responsibility to ensure that we lead in these areas.” NC State is one voice and united as one Pack. Written by Paige Moore, edits provided by Dr. K. Bullock and Lauren Kirkpatrick. To be included in the Department of Social Work’s 2015 newsletter.

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