Editor’s Note: This is a fourth in a series of articles about the preparations being made for the Schiller Institute for Integrated Science and Society.
The Schiller Institute for Integrated Science and Society, which strives to provide a collaborative space for research of solutions to key societal matters, is tasked with combining distinct academic areas of Boston College. In the initial releases detailing the cornerstones that define the Schiller Institute, service has come up as an aspect of the “Society” section of the institute’s official title.
Given that, it isn’t surprising that the BC School of Social Work will have an important role to play in the institute’s future—according to Gautam Yadama, dean of the Boston College School of Social Work, his school will enhance the Schiller Institute as it strives to uphold its mission of integrating various fields in order to solve problems.
“The Schiller Institute for Integrated Science and Society provides the School of Social Work that ideal platform to reach across disciplines to define, understand, design, and test interventions,” he said in an email.
SSW students work to become skilled at conducting research, working with different demographics, and implementing policy in order to be able to target major societal issues. In particular, students concentrate on doing work to improve the lives of people in various communities. For instance, some focus on mental health interventions to assist children who have been in traumatic situations like violence, war, and epidemics. Others work to improve the situations of African-American and LatinX families.
Additionally, members of the school’s faculty study ways to better the quality of life, both socially and physically, for elderly members of society. But Yadama emphasized that the SSW does not limit itself to local or national issues. Another main endeavor is to promote the quality of life for women and girls in low- and middle-income countries and to research clean energy solutions to improve the health of the poor living in rural India.
The work of the Schiller Institute and the SSW are essentially linked. Because each examines complex topics on a daily basis, they often need to be examined under a different lens.
“Such problems demand that we integrate approaches and perspectives from other disciplines to both understand the architecture of the problem and to effectively intervene to alleviate the social problem,” Yadama said.
This cross-disciplinary relationship applies across all areas of the University: The Schiller Institute has already involved students from CSOM and MCAS in its projects with SSW. Faculty and students from CSON and SSW participated in a workshop organized by the institute alongside the National Institutes of Health. Social Work faculty members Summer Hawkins and Erika Sabbath have an active role in advancing the global public health curriculum introduced this fall.
The Schiller Institute and the SSW, as well as other schools within Boston College, serve as resources of great value for each other, according to Yadama.
“Given the complexity of the social problems that we address in the school, the Schiller Institute provides an opportunity to engage with faculty and students from other schools at BC to be that much more effective in our education and research to improve lives,” he said.
Featured Image Courtesy of Office of University Communications