Dr. Rebecca Thomas was recently appointed chair of the Council on Social Work Education’s (CSWE) Commission on Global Social Work Education. As director of the SSW Center for International Social Work Studies, she brings extensive knowledge, experience, and leadership to the position. “It will be my honor to engage the committee to further the mission of the Commission and to collectively advance human rights and social work education in a global environment,” said Dr. Thomas. She will bring her dynamic energy and passion in working with others to promote human rights and social justice from a global perspective.
“The Global Commission is a critical body in CSWE and demonstrates clearly our reputation as a leader in international social work and human rights/social justice”, states Dr. Kathryn Libal, Director of the UConn Human Rights Institute.
Dr. Thomas serves as the Chair of the Commission on Refugee and Immigrant Affairs for the City of Hartford. This Commission addresses issues and concerns of immigrants and refugees. In addition, she represents the International Association of the Schools of Social Work on the NGO Committee on Migration at the United Nations focusing on issues related to migration and climate induced migration. Dr. Thomas serves on the UConn Global Affairs Advisory Board, charged with developing a strategic plan and proposing concrete strategies for deepening global education.
Dr. Thomas’s current research and scholarship includes issues related to remittances, international development, poverty and migration. She is principal investigator, with SSW faculty member Dr. Miriam Valdovinos (Co-PI), on a needs assessment of the State of Connecticut’s responses to human trafficking. For the past three years, Dr. Thomas has been collaborating with Yerevan State University conducting research with students on Syrian refugees of Armenian decent returning to Armenia. In 2018, Dr. Thomas was awarded a small grant, along with two other colleagues, to conduct a comparative study in Armenia, Germany and Texas about the experiences of refugees.
Dr. Thomas teaches in the Policy Practice concentration and in the International Social Work focused area of study. She also coordinates a joint academic exchange program between UConn and Yerevan State University and is currently co-teaching an on-line course entitled “Comparative Social Welfare Policy between United States and Armenia”. In 2016 and 2017, with scholars and educators from around the globe, Dr. Thomas traveled to Prato, Italy to formulate new ideas on social work education and leadership resulting in a forthcoming book publication in which she is a co-author of a chapter entitled, Beyond the Mainstream: Diversity Leadership and Leading Diversity in Social Work Education.