Educating globally with hope
At Lock Haven University, we utilize web conferencing as a tool in a student’s education.
An advantage of this modality is the ability to interface with the world.
During the pandemic it has been challenging to provide international education due to travel restrictions.
Through the use of web conferencing, students in my Diverse Populations and Groups course learn about the world and establish links for future collaboration.
In July 2019, I traveled to the 9th International Conference on Social Work in Health and Mental Health in York, England and made numerous contacts with other professionals in the field of social work.
As a result of connecting with social workers around the world, Lock Haven University students are gaining knowledge of the impact of a number of issues affecting populations and how these issues are being addressed on a global scale.
On Sept. 2, 2020 at 5:15 a.m., my Diverse Populations and Groups course had a one hour and half web conference with Dr. Pashupati Mahat, director, Center for Mental Health and Counseling in Nepal.
The students learned about the delivery of mental health services in the country of Nepal. Subjects covered were strengths and challenges of mental health service delivery in Nepal, the structure of services, mental health issues in Nepal, special issues of high suicide rate and the effects of gender on mental health, programming by the Center for Mental Health and Counseling, and the effect of the pandemic on mental health issues in Nepal.
The students were very appreciative of the time that Dr. Mahat spent with them. Student comments were very positive about having a psychologist speak to them from another country.
Another scheduled web conference will occur on Sept. 23 with Dr. Aarti Jagannathan, from the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) in Bangalore, India. Dr. Jagannathan will speak on Indian Psychology and Yoga.
This web conferencing is scheduled for 6:30 a.m.
It is of credit to the students that they are willing to rise early to participate in international experiences.
I have other scheduled speakers for this semester.
A social worker from Israel will talk about multi-cultural social services in Israel.
A social work professor from Turkey will present on the role of social workers in nonprofits serving refugees in Turkey.
A professor of social work from Hong Kong will discuss working with parents whose children have eczema (a skin disease), which is a common problem in Hong Kong.
The talk about eczema in Hong Kong will address improving the quality of life of parents of children with eczema by a customized integrative body-mind-spirit program.
Web conferencing with international professionals provides opportunities for students to see how issues similar and different to those we have in the United States are addressed in other countries.
The pandemic is very challenging for students and faculty at Lock Haven University.
However, faculty and students at LHU are creatively using alternative learning platforms to continue building knowledge and experience internationally.
Links and connections are being established for the successful global education of students and faculty.
Dr. Steven Granich is associate professor of social work and counseling at Lock Haven University.