Springfield College School of Social Work Collaborates with Universidad de San Francisco School of Medicine in Ecuador



Students from the Springfield College School of Social Work (SSW) Master of Social Work (MSW) Program’s Special Topics Class recently participated in a short-term study of Ecuador’s educational, social service, and healthcare systems in collaboration with the Universidad de San Francisco de Quito, School of Medicine, in Quito, Ecuador. 

As part of the trip, MSW students resided with host families in Cumbaya, Ecuador while gaining direct exposure to four areas of emphasis: health care, child care, geriatric care, and mental health.

“The Springfield College School of Social Work is the first school of social work to be working with the Universidad de San Francisco,” said Springfield College School of Social Work Dean Francine J. Vecchiolla. “Students gained exposure to Ecuadorian culture including indigenous communities, as well as hands on experiences working with students in their community centers and schools.”

The inaugural delegation of 13 MSW students spent a total of 10 days in Ecuador and had the opportunity to attend lectures taught by Universidad de San Francisco faculty focused on maternal-infant health and mental health system and initiatives in Ecuador; experience in internships at the public primary school in Cumbaya and the Hogar Suizo, a center for children of alcoholic parents; participate in a lecture about the struggles of illegal immigrants; and visit the Museo Guayasamin and Capilla del Hombre, a memorial for the first and most important painter in the continent to protest against the violation of human rights.

The experience concluded with a weekend in an Indigenous sustainable community, where MSW students learned about agricultural practices, cooking, the use of medical plants, nutrition, social interaction among families, and how this particular culture faces and responds to adversity.

“School of Social Work Dean Francine Vecchiolla, Doggett International Center Director Deb Alm, and I are working with the University in Quito regarding future collaborations,” said Springfield College School of Social Work Assistant Director of Field Education Glenn Gemma. “It is certainly a great experience for our students and we are proud to be a part of such a wonderful educational partnership.”  

The Springfield College School of Social Work offers multiple programs for students including a full-time, two-year, weekday master of social work program in Springfield, and a part-time, three-year, weekend master of social work program in Springfield and Worcester.  There are also options for graduates of Council on Social Work Education-accredited bachelor of social work programs to choose either a four-semester weekend or three-semester weekday advanced standing program. The dual master of social work/juris doctorate is a four-year, full-time program in conjunction with Western New England University School of Law.  Students can also work toward a post-master’s certificate in advanced practice with children and adolescents.

Since 1989, the Springfield College School of Social Work has been accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, the official accrediting body for social work programs in the United States.  Graduates are eligible for professional social work licensure in all 50 states. The MSW/JD program is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools. Graduates are eligible for professional social work licensure and bar examination.

The home of the Springfield College School of Social Work, the Brennan Center, is a state-of-the-art teaching and conference facility that underwent a $2.2 million renovation in 2002.  The facility was again renovated in 2012 to include more classroom and office space. It includes technologically enhanced classrooms, a computer lab, a tiered auditorium, faculty offices, and a large, light filled atrium, which is the site of school events and also serves as a student lounge. Easily accessible, it is located just over a mile from the main campus, and has on-site parking. The weekend program in Worcester is located at Saint Vincent Hospital.

Founded in 1885, Springfield College is known worldwide for the guiding principles of its Humanics philosophy—educating students in spirit, mind and body for leadership in service to others. With its foundation of academic excellence and rich athletic heritage, Springfield College prepares students with real-world leadership skills for careers that transform lives and communities. The college offers a range of undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the fields of health sciences, human and social services, sport management and movement studies, education, business, and the arts and sciences. It also offers doctoral programs in physical education, physical therapy, and counseling psychology. The college is ranked in the 2015 edition of “Best Colleges” in the top tier of “Best Regional Universities – North Region” by U.S.News and World Report, and is designated as a premier Leadership Development Center by the YMCA of the USA. More than 5,000 traditional, nontraditional and international students study at its main campus in Springfield, Mass., and at its School of Human Services campuses across the country.