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Dean Richman fosters collaboration in India

Research agenda being established, School’s first international field placement set 

Dean Jack Richman traveled to India in March to meet with one of our partner international institutions to increase opportunities for joint research and teaching.

The School recently signed a five-year “memorandum of understanding (MOU)” with the Centre for Studies in Rural Development (CSRD), Institute of Social Work and Research in Ahmednagar, India. The Centre, which is affiliated with the University of Pune, established a relationship with the School three years ago, and has served as a host to UNC students, faculty and others as part of a study abroad program.

While in India, Richman met with CSRD faculty and students, signed the Centre’s collaboration agreement, visited several community agencies, and presented on intervention research at a social work conference.

Richman’s trip was facilitated by Suresh Pathare and alumnus Darshan Mundada.

Pathare, a professor and director of the CSRD, spent six months at the UNC School of Social Work this year as a visiting scholar and has been helping the School explore ideas for collaboration. Mundada, MSW ’11, is doing community development in India, and was instrumental in establishing our study abroad trips there.

The main goal of the trip was developing a research agenda with CSRD, said Richman, and a number of ideas are already in the works. Assistant Professor Gina Chowa has applied for a grant to work with Pathare on a project.

The School is also pursuing opportunities for study abroad and international field placements. A study abroad in India is targeted for 2015, and the School’s first international field placement is set for this summer. MSW student Priya Chelladurai will work in Delhi on a project called, “Women and Girls Lead Global.”

“It’s being implemented in five countries, and India is one of them,” said Chelladurai. “The work in India, titled ‘The Hero Project,’ will focus on targeting the root causes of gender-based violence by addressing harmful gender stereotypes, our ideas of masculinity, and the harmful aspects of traditional gender roles.”

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