The Social Work Education Enhancement Project completed its second Fellows Academy in March, with eight Vietnamese faculty members undergoing an intense three-week training session at San José State University.
Nguyen Thi Thai Lan said she was appointed by her university to attend the SWEEP Fellows Academy in March. She is a faculty member at the University of Labor and Social Affairs in Hanoi, one of eight partner universities that are working to create a model of Social Work education based on best practices in the United States.
“The first thing I learned was a better understanding of competency-based curriculum,” Nguyen said on the last day of the Academy, noting that the field trips to government agencies and nonprofits that provide services directly to the community were especially helpful. “I learned the structure in providing services to people.”
During their visit, the Fellows visited the Mekong Community Center, Santa Clara County Child Protective Services, East Side Unified High School, Gardner Family Care Mental Health Services and the California Social Work Education Center.
Many College of Applied Sciences and Arts Social Work faculty were involved in sharing knowledge about how to teach social work for the fellows, but other departments at SJSU also provided support. Other groups involved in leading workshops included the School of Information, the Center for Faculty Development, the SJSU Global Leadership Advancement Center, Academic Technology and the University Library.
Some of the workshops focused on faculty development, creating curriculum and setting a research agenda, among other topics. They used Cisco telepresence equipment in some of their meetings and workshops.
Interim Dean Alice Hines is the director of SWEEP, while Social Work Professor Ed Cohen serves as a co-director. SWEEP is an international consortium which includes USAID, SJSU, eight universities in Vietnam, government ministries, Cisco Systems, Inc., 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 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
Pham Tien Dong, a faculty member at Vinh University, said he wanted to attend the Fellows Academy so he can contribute to the development of social work in Vietnam.
Using a translator, Pham said he learned about “new material in social work and accessing modern technology in teaching.”
“They shared a lot of how to instruct students and the use of technology in teaching,” Nguyen said. “I wish we had a wonderful environment like this.”
Nguyen and Pham both commented on how welcoming all the SJSU faculty and staff had been during their visit.
“I appreciate the friendship of the faculty and staff from SJSU, the personal environment and the nice weather,” Pham said.
Other faculty who visited from Vietnam for the second Fellows Academy include:
Nguyen Thi Thu Hien, of Vietnam National University/HCM, University of Social Sciences and Humanities
Nugyen Thi Bich Hung, of Dong Thap University
Bui Quang Dung, of Hue University, College of Sciences
Dang Kim Khanh Ly, of Vietnam National University/Hanoi, University of Social Sciences and Humanities
Vo Thuan, of DaLat University
Nguyen Le Hoai Anh, of Hanoi University of Education
A third Fellows Academy is planned for June.