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Published on Thursday, October 28, 2021

Announcing the 2022 Initiative for Cross-Institutional Student Collaboration Winner

Congratulations to the winning proposal team!

On behalf of the Board of Directors, we are delighted to announce the winner of the 2022 Initiative for Cross-Institutional Student Collaboration.

The Initiative for Cross-Institutional Student Collaboration is a mechanism designed to engage students across universities around social work doctoral education topics, with an emphasis on centering student roles, leadership, and perspectives. The selected initiative is provided a certificate and a $2,500 award to be presented at the GADE Reception at the Annual Conference of the Society of Social Work and Research (SSWR) in January 2022.

We received several outstanding proposals. After a thorough review, the Board has selected a proposal entitled Students from Migrant Backgrounds in Doctoral Programs in Social Work: Increasing Access and Creating Conditions for Success as this year's winner. Congratulations to Tanzilya Oren, Agnes N. Nzomene Kahouo Foda, and Maryam Rafieifar! 

This initiative seeks to highlight and address the specific challenges and issues affecting social work Ph.D. students from migrant backgrounds, especially those with refugee and forced displacement experiences, and to create supportive spaces for current and potential Ph.D. students in social work who are migrants. We look forward to learning more about the forthcoming activities that the team will develop to engage the GADE community in this effort.  A key objective of the Initiative is to share information among institutions and serve as a catalyst for discussion and potential new directions within diverse social work programs.

Regarding the selection process, the GADE Board of Directors would like to underscore that the review was conducted by Board members who did not have a conflict of interest vis-à-vis the proposals under review. Specifically, no reviewers had a relationship to the proposal authors, and the two board members with conflicts of interest (e.g., named as faculty sponsors in specific proposals) did not participate in the evaluation process.

In Service,
Julie & Larry

Julia R. Henly, MSW, PhD and G. Lawrence Farmer, MSW, PhD
GADE Co-Presidents


Students from Migrant Backgrounds in Doctoral Programs in Social Work: Increasing Access and Creating Conditions for Success

Project Leads
Tanzilya Oren, Ph.D. Candidate in Social Work
Graduate School of Social Service, Fordham University

Agnes N. Nzomene Kahouo Foda, Second-year Ph.D. Student
College of Social Work, University of South Carolina

Maryam Rafieifar, Ph.D. Candidate in Social Welfare
Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work, Florida International University,

Goal & Scope of the Initiative
The main goals of the initiative are: (1) to highlight and address the specific challenges and issues affecting social work Ph.D. students from migrant backgrounds, especially those with refugee and forced displacement experiences, and (2) to create supportive spaces for current and potential Ph.D. students in social work who are migrants.

The initiative will address a wide range of issues affecting migrant students on personal and institutional levels. On an institutional level, the issues include difficulties navigating social work doctoral education admissions, financial assistance to funding, English as a second language, as well as translation, evaluation, and official vetting of educational and professional credentials. Other issues to be addressed include migration trauma, encounters with racism and xenophobia, grappling with transforming personal and professional identities post-migration, and navigating institutional and family issues related to being a first-generation academic.

The project also plans to highlight the topic of embodied learning in the classrooms and research related to social work practices and policies around refugees and immigrants. Specifically, the initiative will create a space where dialogues could be shaped about a number of issues, including researchers’ positionality in immigration research, community engagement and active participation of immigrant communities in migration research, an embodiment for the attainment of well-being and social justice, and participation of the Ph.D. students and faculty with direct experiences of migration in research and doctoral education, and access of migrants to higher education and social work doctoral programs (focusing on issues of admission processes, funding doctoral studies, language issues, and necessary knowledge and skills for doctoral studies success).

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Author: GADE Social Work

Categories: General

Tags: awards

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