Fordham University GSS Associate Professors Howard Robinson and Manoj Pardasani taught emerging social work professionals in the People’s Republic of China in May, 2015, as part of a collaboration between schools of social work in China and the United States coordinated by Dr. Winnie Kung. During their two weeks in Northeast China, Professors Robinson and Pardasani met with administration, faculty, and students at three universities: Northeast Normal, Jilin, and Shenyang Normal (“Normal” signifies schools that specialize in training teachers as many of our state schools in the United States do). Dr. Pardasani lectured on macro subjects of program development and community-based social work, and Dr. Robinson focused on direct social work practice with individuals, families, and groups.
Dr. Robinson, having some knowledge and fluency in Mandarin, says, “We met with exuberant receptions and warm friendship by our Chinese counter-parts who expressed not only curiosity about social work in the United States but who were also enormously receptive to the practice knowledge that we were able to share. Students and faculty alike were eager to learn from us, and many students gave up free time and social activities to come to our classes.” Dr. Padasani noted: “We bring back with us a clearer understanding of the centrality of the family system in Chinese life and new cultural perspectives that drive home the importance of shaping social work practice to the beliefs, values and practices of Chinese society.”
Cultural exchange included numerous lunches and dinners led by Chinese faculty who took Dr. Robinson and Dr. Pardasani to their favorite venues including eateries specializing in Shanghai soup dumplings, spicy hot Sichuan dishes, and rural food from the period of the Cultural Revolution. GSS is expecting Dr. Liu from North East Normal University to visit Fordham in October while attending a gerontology conference in New York City. Plans are also being made for students from North East Normal University to study social work in New York City and matriculate into Fordham’s BASW program.
Photos by Howard Robinson.
Howard Robinson, PhD Associate Professor Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service 400 Westchester Avenue West Harrison, NY 10604 firstname.lastname@example.org