The Social Work Education Enhancement Project (SWEEP) completed its third Fellows Academy on July 11, with eight Vietnamese faculty members participating in a three-week training session at San José State University (SJSU).
The eight Fellows were:
Tung Nguyen, of Vietnam National University/HCM, University of Social Sciences and Humanities
Thao Do, of Dong Thap University
Sy Pham, of Hue University, College of Sciences
Cam Ly Vo, of Vinh University
Minh Bui, of Vietnam Natioinal University/Hanoi, University of Social Sciences and Humanities
Bich Do, of University of Labor and Social Affairs
Hien Nguyen, of DaLat University
Trang Nguyen, of Hanoi University of Education
SWEEP is an international consortium which includes the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), SJSU, eight universities in Vietnam, Vietnamese government Ministries, Cisco Systems, Inc., and community agencies and stakeholders. The purpose of SWEEP is to assist eight universities in Vietnam with improving their undergraduate social work educational programs. The project, which is funded with a grant from USAID and support from CISCO through September, 2015, aims to improve:
- The administration of social work programs
- Faculty capabilities in teaching and research
- Social work curriculum, and
- Network communication among the universities through the use of improved technology
Fast-emerging social problems in Vietnam are creating a high demand for professionally-trained social workers. Bich Do emphasized how important it is for young faculty members to gain knowledge in order to effectively improve social work in Vietnamese higher education. She was appointed by the SWEEP coordinator from her university.
“I learned how to design a syllabus for assignments and assessments through the competency-based curriculum training,” Do said during a short break from a workshop. She explained the importance of building a foundation to teach social work. “I will apply the training and use of technology I learned here to the way I teach.”
Throughout the three weeks, the Fellows were able to use Cisco telepresence equipment for workshops and meetings. The use of improved technology promotes easier access of communication among the universities.
Hien Nguyen expressed how this technology could be used to keep a connection with SJSU and for her own teaching approach. “I will look for ways to include technology to my teaching methods and network with colleagues and social services in Vietnam.”
In addition to workshops on campus, the Fellows were able to visit various social service agencies in the Bay Area, including the Santa Clara County Child Protective Services, Mekong Community Center, Gardner Family Care Mental Health Services and the California Social Work Education Center in Berkeley.
Sy Pham said he likes to learn new things and the site visits gave him an opportunity to study how these social services operate. “The field of social work is new and limited in Vietnam, so I will share the practices of social work we observed here which is very useful to help create a foundation” said Pham.
The Fellows gained much knowledge from the program and were pleased with how hospitable SJSU faculty and staff were. Do said she enjoyed the “spirit of collaboration and openness.”
Hien Nguyen said she would like to “continue the connection with SJSU faculty for support and hopefully bring Vietnamese social workers from the U.S. to Vietnam to share knowledge.”
“The faculty and staff were very informative and showed me an integrated way to apply the competency-based training where I will provide a seminar on it back home,” said Pham.
The Fellows were the third and final group to participate in SWEEP.