Member Spotlight: Debra Nelson-Gardell


NASW- Alabama Membership Spotlight

Debra Nelson-Gardell selected as NASW International Committee Member Spotlight

NASW International Committee Member Spotlight
by: Debra Nelson-Gardell, Ph.D., LCSW

My Interest and Experience in International Social Work

Currently, I serve as School of Social Work Coordinator of International Programs at The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, AL, USA.  I sought out that role because of my belief in the power of international experiences to enhance the potential for transformative learning, especially related to cultural competence and cultural humility.  Additionally, I believe international professional development for students and practitioners enhances social workers’ awareness of global human rights, an underpinning of our profession. Up to this point, most of my international experiences in social work education have had to do with Asia, specifically China. I have taught social work related content to Chinese social work students, faculty, and professionals for the past nineteen years.  The University of Alabama School of Social Work joined the U.S. Council on Social Work Education China Collaborative as an original member approximately five years ago. I’ve been overseeing UA’s contribution to that partnership for four years.  Another major part of my role as Coordinator of International Programs now has to do with international placement development.

How I Became a Part of the NASW International Committee      

I believe my involvement in the CSWE China Collaborative sparked an invitation from the NASW President in 2012 to join the NASW International Committee. I jumped at the opportunity and have tried to work diligently as a member of that committee to enact its charge, and expand its influence within NASW. The Committee’s work and my contribution to the Committee’s accomplishments are among my most precious professional experiences.

Click here to learn more about NASW’s International Committee.

Article submitted courtesy of the University of Alabama Department of Social Work