Linkage Program with University of the West Indies Mona Campus – Jamaica
The University of Connecticut School of Social Work and the Department of Sociology, Psychology and Social Work of the University of the West Indies in Jamaica have been engaged in a multi-faceted collaborative relationship for more than a decade. Discussions between the two programs began informally in 1992 and were expanded in faculty exchange visits that began in 1993 and 1994. A Memorandum of Agreement was signed in 1995. Exchange visits and collaborative projects have continued since that time, as will be briefly detailed here.
The two programs were brought together by areas of mutual interest. The Greater Hartford area in which the School of Social Work is located has one of the largest concentrations of immigrants from the West Indies in the United States. Although the West Indian residents are diverse, the largest number come from Jamaica. Initially, the exchange emphasized the issue of migration. This is still an important dimension of the exchange, but many additional areas of mutual interest, including social welfare management, child welfare, HIV/AIDS, sickle cell disease and field education have been addressed.
For additional information on the exchange project, readers are referred to two published discussions:
John A. Maxwell and Lynne M. Healy, (2003) “Mutual Assistance Through an Ongoing United States—Caribbean Partnership: University of Connecticut and University of the West Indies in Jamaica,“ in L. Healy, Y. Asamoah and M.C. Hokenstad, editors, Models of International Collaboration in Social Work Education. Alexandria, VA: CSWE, pp. 51-60.
L. M. Healy, J. A. Maxwell and B.A. Pine, (1999). Exchanges that Work: Mutuality and Sustainability in a Caribbean/USA Academic Partnership. Social Development Issues. 21:3, 14-21.
Armenia Studies Project
The effort to bring Armenian studies to the University of Connecticut began in 1984 when a small group of volunteers started a fundraising campaign. In 1993 Dr. Ludmila Haroutunian of Yerevan State University (YSU) made a number of presentations at the University and at meetings with Connecticut’s Armenian-American community. Dr. Haroutunian’s presence at UConn in 1993 was in association with what has become the cornerstone of the UConn-YSU Armenia relationship, close academic ties between UConn’s School of Social Work and YSU’s faculty of sociology.
Dr. Rebecca Thomas, the director for the Center for International Social Work Studies teaches a bi-annual course called “Comparative Social Welfare Policy between the United States and Armenia.”
Armenia Course Abroad Information
UConn’s School of Social Work has sustained a longstanding partnership with Armenia’s Yerevan State University for over 20 years, with annual student exchanges taking place between universities. YSU’s social work program was recently developed in 1996, and the university currently offers multiple programs of study (BSW, MSW, and other course options) for social work education.
The relationship between UConn and YSU provides an invaluable experience for students wishing to do international research and field study, and is an excellent opportunity for cross-cultural learning and networking. Students engaging in the course and/or travel experience can expect to learn differing approaches to social work and social welfare systems, as well as gaining cultural knowledge and expertise about Armenia.
The partnership is currently taking a more research-based focus both in Armenia and Connecticut. Students engaging in international travel should expect to be part of a research delegation, and field research will be a significant component of their time spent in Armenia. They will also have ample opportunities to engage in cultural and historical activities of their choosing in their leisure time, and will likely forge new friendships as well as professional connections while visiting.