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Global Engagement

UNC School of Social Work is engaged with partner institutions globally to address social issues around the world. We share this commitment with our academic home, UNC-Chapel Hill. This University-wide commitment to global engagement provides our School with unique opportunities.

In keeping with our strategic priority of “Advancing a Global Perspective,” our School has a vision to engage in cross-national research that will expand knowledge addressing real-world challenges and will enhance and expand the global competence of our students. Under the auspices of its Global Engagement Office (GEO), our School pursues this global vision through three complementary pillars of global engagement: Global Scholars Program, Global Research & Engagement, and Knowledge and Capacity Building.

GEO leads efforts around six ongoing initiatives:

  • Identify and develop strategic partnerships for global research and practice to increase the depth of the School faculty’s scholarly activities in global social development and to advance rigorous research and action on global issues.
  • Expand opportunities for faculty exchanges and international visiting scholars.
  • Embrace a global perspective in the School’s explicit and implicit curriula to prepare social work students for practice in a global context.
  • Increase efforts to attract, support, and host full-time international students.
  • Ensure a robust global scholars program that provides opportunities for global field education, student exchange, study abroad, and immersion programs.
  • Share widely the impact of the global work and achievements of our School’s faculty, staff, students, and alumni.


Pillar one: Global Scholars Program

  • Field practicums
  • Visiting scholars
  • Student & faculty exchange programs
  • Immersion programs
  • Admissions & recruitment

Pillar two: Global Research & Engagement

  • SSW global research
  • Global research collaborations

Pillar three: Knowledge & Capacity Building

  • Training
  • Consultation
  • SSW teaching collaborations
  • Globalizing the curriculum


UNC Global Vision — Guarantee, Seed Fund, Accelerator

Coordinate, link, support, track, evaluate, demonstrate Impact


Opportunities for Faculty Collaborations

Professors Mimi Chapman and Gina Chowa stand with eight unidentified men and women in front of a blue building under a sign with Chinese charactersOur faculty welcomes opportunities to engage with colleagues worldwide to address social work issues through education, research, and field programs. Several of our faculty members have lectured at colleges and universities in Asia, and our School has hosted visiting faculty here. Other faculty members have collaborated with peers at other universities to conduct research, develop interventions, and evaluate outcomes.

Faculty listings within our School’s online directory include information about each faculty member’s research interests, project awards, recent publications, and other background. We encourage you to use our directory to identify faculty members with whom you may choose to collaborate.

Research Opportunities at GSDI

The Global Social Development Innovations research center is part of our School and is focused on the intersections of social, economic, and health issues in low-resource countries. Researchers at the center, including Gina Chowa, Rainier Masa, David Ansong, and Neil Bilotta, have led research projects in collaboration with partners across Africa (Ghana, Kenya, India, South Africa, Uganda, and Zambia), Asia (India and Philippines), and Latin America (Ecuador and the Galapagos).

As part of its public and professional outreach, GSDI sponsors the Michael Sherraden Lecture Series, which brings influential and original thinkers from around the world to showcase scholarship in social development research, policy, and practice.

Visit the GSDI website for more information.

Funding Opportunities for Student Global Engagement

Participants in a group activity stand and move around a meeting roomUNC-Chapel Hill actively promotes global engagement on every level. In 2019, our University ranked fifth among the Peace Corps’ top volunteer-producing universities. Funding is available for graduate students who want to pursue studies internationally through a variety of different programs. These include the Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships and the Boren Fellowships (both emphasizing language studies), the Mahatma Gandhi Fellowship (emphasizing civic engagement in South Asia), and the Ronald W. Hyatt Rotary Public Service Award (emphasizing innovative public service projects), among others.

These and other fellowships for graduate students pursuing studies internationally are administered by other units within our University. Visit UNC Global’s website for details about these funding opportunities.



Gina Chowa, Associate Dean for Global Engagement, 919-843-8453