2018 News

Tsinghua University professor discusses social work in China

​Students, faculty and staff crowded into Brown Hall on Sept. 17 to hear Professor Sheying Chen deliver the lecture “Building Social Work in China.”

Chen is the director of the Center for Social Work Study and a faculty member of the School of Social Sciences at Tsinghua University, in Beijing. He also is a visiting scholar at the Institute for Cross-Strait Research and a senior research fellow at the Center for Sino-American Relations.

In the early years of the Peoples Republic of China, established in 1949, the government eliminated social work education and related disciplines. It was not until the 1980s that social work education gained some footing again because of social problems and needs, Chen said.

Over the past 30 years, many schools in China have started social work programs, but the profession is still a “baby” with a lot of work ahead, Chen said. In addition, a transformation of Chinese General Public Policy is necessary for a more balanced development strategy to help deal with serious social problems, including widening inequality, he noted.

The Next Age Institute and the Center for Social Development (CSD) hosted Chen, who met with various Washington University officials, including Kurt Dirks, vice chancellor for International Relations and Bank of America Professor of Leadership, Brown School Dean Mary McKay, and Jim Wertsch,director of the McDonnell International Scholars Academy. Chen also spent almost two hours in dialogue with doctoral and masters students.

“We are delighted to have this opportunity to welcome Professor Chen of Tsinghua University to Washington University,” CSD International Director Li Zou said.

Washington University partners are collaborating with Chen’s center in hosting a workshop, “Social Innovation and Public Health,” as part of the McDonnell Academy’s seventh International Symposium, this October 14 in Beijing.