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Dean of the Silver School in charge of free social work


The dean of NYU’s Silver School of Social Work responds to a recent post advocating for the school to be free.

In response to the article, NYU’s Silver School of Social Work Should Be Free (November 2).

I applaud Noah Zaldivar’s advocacy for the social work profession in general and for education here at the Silver School of Social Work in particular. In fact, talking about the need to remove financial barriers to Silver education exemplifies a principle we value in action: a willingness to advocate for policies and practices that promote social justice and socioeconomic equality.

Social workers are indispensable in our schools, social service organizations, mental and behavioral health systems, and many other sectors. Since the pandemic, we have even seen an increase in the use of social workers in the private sector to meet the needs of employees. And as Noah points out, most of them are not paid according to the value they provide to society. This has to change, and it can only happen if there is a will to do so in the public and private sectors. Meanwhile, the demand for the services of social workers is growing.

[Read the original op-ed: NYU’s Silver School of Social Work should be tuition-free]

We believe that social work education should be available to anyone and everyone who is called to the profession and meets the admissions standards. We also know that our goal of having a student body that is more reflective of the communities in which we study, work and research will only be possible if we can remove as many financial barriers as possible.

How we get to this point at Silver will require a multi-year effort and additional funding and resources from within and outside of the extended Silver community. As Noah points out, it took the Grossman School of Medicine 11 years to raise funds and support its goal of making medical school free for all students.

That’s why we’re calling on everyone who can help us break down barriers—alumni, donors, policymakers, nonprofits, government, community partners, and especially in government and the private sector—to work with us in the coming months and years. so we can expand the pipeline of innovative practices that are so needed right now. We’ll have more to say about what might happen in the coming months.

Michael A. Lindsay is Dean and Paulette Goddard Professor of Social Work at NYU’s Silver School of Social Work.

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