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Gina Chowa receives the 2023 UNC Faculty Award for Global Excellence

Johnson-Howard-Adair Distinguished Professor Gina Chowa, Ph.D., has been awarded the 2023 UNC Faculty Award for Global Excellence.

The award, conferred by the Office of the Vice Provost for Global Affairs, recognizes UNC-Chapel Hill faculty members who have made significant contributions to the globalize pillar of Carolina Next: Innovations for Public Good strategic plan. These efforts include strengthening global partnerships and bringing the world to Carolina; expanding the menu of global education opportunities for all Carolina students; and amplifying the virtues of Carolina’s culture of low stone walls by collaborating with international partners to address the world’s greatest challenges.

Selected faculty are specifically recognized for demonstrating impact, influence and innovation and for their work involving interdisciplinary teaching and research teams.

Chowa, UNC School of Social Work’s associate dean for global engagement and director of Global Social Development Innovations, joins Tori Smith Ekstrand, the Caroline H. and Thomas S. Royster Distinguished Professor for Graduate Education and an associate professor in the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media, and Robert Jenkins, a teaching professor in the Department of Political Science, in receiving this year’s prestigious award.

“I am honored to be recognized as a faculty member who has contributed to Carolina Next’s globalize pillar,” Chowa said. “This recognition goes beyond me, as I cannot do this work on my own, as this work takes teams and collaboration at UNC and across the globe. So, I am honored to work with colleagues and students committed to global research and learning, resulting in a more globalized Carolina and a better world.”

Chowa joined the School of Social Work in 2008 and conducts research at the intersection of economic security, workforce development, social protection, and financial inclusion and its impact on marginalized individuals in the Global South. Her breath of research has included large-scale, cluster-randomized projects such as the YouthSave Ghana Experiment, which examined how accumulating savings impact a youth’s educational, economic, psychosocial, physical and mental well-being. Additionally, she has piloted GSDI initiatives, including an innovative intervention study in Zambia dedicated to improving the health outcomes of individuals living with HIV.

“I can think of no one more deserving of this special recognition,” School of Social Work Dean Ramona Denby-Brinson praised. “Dr. Chowa is making a difference and doing work that is worthy of emulation.”

Over the course of her career, Chowa has received numerous other honors, including the prestigious Ruth and Philip Hettleman Prize for Artistic and Scholarly Achievement in 2014. In 2016, she was named a Wallace Kuralt Early Career Distinguished Professor; four years later, she earned the Johnson-Howard-Adair Distinguished Professorship. Her work has been published in various interdisciplinary and social work journals, including Child and Youth Services, Children and Youth Services Review, International Journal of Educational Development, Journal of Family and Economic Issues, and Journal of Socio-Economics.

Chowa also has faculty appointments at the Center for Social Development at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, and the Centre for Social Development Africa at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa.

This year’s faculty award winners  will each receive $5,000 and will be recognized in early May at a special ceremony in the FedEx Global Education Center. Funding for the awards is made possible through contributions to the Chancellor’s Global Education Fund.