Huamin Research Center Established at School of Social Work
By Judith Alfano
from Fall 2012 Rutgers School of Social Work Magazine
It’s only been a few months since the Huamin Research Center was established at the Rutgers School of Social Work, but Dr. Chien-Chung Huang, Associate Professor and Director of the Center, is already seeing tremendous growth in strategic exchange partnerships with universities in China and new opportunities for faculty and student research and fellowships.
The Huamin Research Center supports research projects that relate to nonprofit organizations and social welfare issues in China, promotes exchanges between China and the United States, and provides fellowships to students studying nonprofit and social welfare issues in China. It was established at the School of Social Work in January 2012 through a major gift from Dr. Dehzi Lu of the Huamin Charity Foundation, one of China’s largest privately funded charitable organizations.
The center provides a unique opportunity for Rutgers faculty to draw on their expertise in nonprofit management and governance, in partnership with universities in China, to be at the forefront of social policy research, emerging nonprofit organizations and social welfare issues in China.
"Not many schools in the US have faculty with strengths in the area of nonprofit research, which is very attractive to the Huamin Foundation," said Dr. Huang, who, along with thirty School of Social Work faculty and students, recently returned from a two-week trip to China. "The length of the trip allowed for a meaningful exchange with our partners, who recognize that we are committed to research, exchange and fellowships. We are the only school of social work in the US that brings substantial faculty and students to China on a consistent basis."
Current research was presented at two faculty exchanges - "Workshop on Leadership of Nonprofit Organizations in Current Economy," co-sponsored with the Philanthropy Research Institute, Beijing Normal University and "Conference on Social Work Education and Research in China and United States: Comparison and Innovation," co-sponsored with Graduate School of Chinese Academy of Social Science, Beijing, China.
At these exchanges, Drs. Richard L. Edwards, Ronald Quincy, Chien-Chung Huang, Jeffrey Longhofer and Jerry Floersch, Bill Waldman and Andy Germak gave presentations on topics ranging from "The Use of SWOT (Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats) Analyses in Evaluating Nonprofit/Civil Society Organizations" and "Exploring the Social Enterprise Organization Business Model" to "The Working Alliance and Therapeutic Relationship in Mental Health Case Management."
Rutgers students traveled as part of the China Study Abroad Program, a 3-credit course that combines online study with two weeks of in-country instruction. Students received a comprehensive view of the social welfare system in China through visits to mental health institutes and community centers, as well as the China Social Work Association and university partners. This year’s program was expanded to include new universities and agencies, such as the Narada Foundation, which provides high quality education to low-income children who have migrated from rural to city areas. When not studying, Rutgers students were introduced to local and traditional foods and visited landmarks, such as the Forbidden City and Great Wall.
In addition to the recent visit, Drs. Huang and Judy Postmus co-organized "Ending Violence Against Women," a two-day international conference and workshop, held in December 2011. Drs. Sara-Beth Plummer and Christopher Allen also attended the event and together, the Rutgers faculty made seven conference presentations and led six workshops.
"We were thrilled to have the opportunity to meet and collaborate with colleagues doing similar work in Taiwan," said Dr. Judy Postmus, Director of the Center on Violence Against Women and Children. "The experience left all of us appreciating the cultural differences between our countries as well as the similarities in addressing the problem of domestic violence or sexual assault."
To expand research and contribute to a growing body of knowledge, Rutgers faculty collaborated with faculty from Renmin University on a book titled "Comparison of Social Welfare in China and United States." Topics by Rutgers faculty included Mental Health Services and Policy in the U.S., by Associate Professor Beth Angell; Overview of the Nonprofit Sector in the U.S., by Interim Executive Vice President and former SSW Dean, Richard Edwards and Executive Director of the Center for Nonprofit Management, Ron Quincy; U.S. Disability Policy and Welfare System, by Assistant Professor Patricia Findley, and Development of Child Support Enforcement in U.S., by Associate Professor Chien-Chung Huang.
The Huamin Research Center is part of the broader Rutgers in China initiative, a program launched in May 2011 to expand international opportunities for Rutgers students and increase research collaboration between Rutgers faculty and their Chinese counterparts.
In February 2012, Dr. Jianfeng (Jeff) Wang was appointed as Director of Rutgers China Programs and Special Assistant to the Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs to substantially expand the university’s global reach by building strategic partnerships with leading Chinese educational institutions. Dr. Wang also holds an academic appointment as Lecturer in the School of Social Work.
Dr. Wang will work closely with Rutgers’ deans, faculty, staff and students to expand Rutgers’ existing programs in China and to develop a new range of institutional partnerships while working to secure external funding to support such initiatives.
Dr. Huang is looking forward to a productive and growing partnership with universities in China, with the goal of developing strategic opportunities for Rutgers. "We want to continue to maintain strong relationships with Renmin and Nankai Universities and develop our partnerships with Beijing Normal University, Tsinghua University and the Chinese Academy of Social Science. The resources provided by the Huamin Research Center enable us to deepen our relationship with our partners in China through concrete and meaningful research and exchange."