UW Today

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April 2, 2009

Ratnesh Nagda to deliver Samuel E. Kelly Distinguished Faculty Lecture

Biren (Ratnesh) Nagda, associate professor in the School of Social Work and director of the Intergroup Dialogue, Education and Action Center, will deliver the 2009 Samuel E. Kelly Distinguished Faculty Lecture from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. April 23 at the Henry Art Gallery.

Preceding the lecture is a reception from 5 to 6:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public, but those planning to attend are asked to register by e-mailing cpromad@u.washington.edu or calling 206-685-3422.

This honor recognizes a UW scholar whose teaching, service, and nationally recognized research have helped transform knowledge and teaching about diversity and social justice. Initiated in 2005, the annual lecture honors Samuel E. Kelly, who in 1970 was named the first vice president of the UW Office of Minority Affairs.

Nagda is internationally known for his expansive vision of scholarship and teaching that enhances engagement across differences and alliance building in pursuit of social justice. In 1996, he launched the Intergroup Dialogue, Education and Action Center, as a response to the urgent challenges for social work educators to prepare practitioners who can work with an increasingly diverse clientele and embrace the profession’s social justice mission.

An embodiment of Nagda’s vision, intergroup dialogue provides a model of an intentionally cultivated and deepened learning community that focuses on participant-centered community-building and learning. Intergroup dialogue has helped transform the undergraduate and graduate curricula in social work, while preparing a cadre of students and faculty to facilitate their own dialogues.

In some of its international programs, the UW has employed this approach to dialogue as a campus-wide initiative to provide pre-departure seminars, re-entry seminars, and connections to community programs.

In 2005 Nagda was a visiting scholar at the Desmond Tutu Peace Centre in Cape Town, South Africa, where he developed a formal partnership to integrate intergroup dialogue into international youth leadership programs for peace building. That program has now become the Global Development for Peace and Leadership. The same year he collaborated in initiating A Multi-University Evaluation of the Educational Effects of Intergroup Dialogues.

In 2006, Nagda’s center was recognized with the UW Brotman Award for Instructional Excellence. Nagda has also won several social work Students’ Choice Teaching Awards and in 2001, the UW’s Distinguished Teaching Award.

“Ratnesh is a researcher who has received national and international recognition for his scholarship; an award-winning teacher and mentor who has enhanced the lives of students at the University of Washington, in the nation and across the globe; and an engaged scholar who has worked tirelessly in the community,” said David Takeuchi, professor and associate dean for research in the School of Social Work.