YU Home
Wurzwelier School of Social Work RSS

Dr. Joyce Brenner, Director of the Wurzweiler Block Program in Israel, Retires After 27 years

July 22nd, 2014 by raco

Dr. Joyce Brenner (center) with Israeli colleagues Marva Perrin Levine (left) and Meir Charash (right)

Dr. Brenner’s retirement celebration was well attended

On July 21st, 2014 Dr. Joyce Brenner’s twenty seven years with Wurzweiler School of Social Work were recognized as she steps down and embraces retirement. More than fifty students, alumni, faculty and staff were on hand to celebrate her accomplishments as Director of the Block Program in Israel and wish her well as she retires after more than a quarter of a century of service.

In addition to some remarks by Dean Carmen Ortiz Hendricks, a retrospective video featuring photos and well-wishes from colleagues Dr. Ronnie Glassman, Raesa Kaiteris and Meir Charash and an address by Dr. Brenner highlighting her career and offering thanks rounded out the event. Watch the video here.

Dr. Brenner with students and Dr. Joan Beder (right)

Dr. Brenner will be the commencement speaker for the Block Program graduation July 23rd, 2014.

Wurzweiler’s “Sexual Identity and Social Work Practice” Common Day a Great Success

July 3rd, 2014 by raco

A Message from Dean Carmen Ortiz Hendricks reflecting on the Block Program’s “Sexual Identity and  Social Work Practice”- themed Common Day at Wurzweiler School of Social Work, July 2nd, 2014:

Thank you Students, Faculty and Staff,

Our joint efforts paid off in a wonderful Common Day experience.  Thank you Student Government Association, Dr. Levy, the Panelists, and Marc Raco!  It was an informative and enlightening experience that emphasized our social work role and responsibilities to LGBTQ clients.  Enjoy the photos of the event!

Dean Hendricks

The Future of Wurzweiler

June 20th, 2014 by raco

A Message from the Dean:  The Future of Wurzweiler School of Social Work

Dr. HendricksEvery May, the faculty and administration meet for Spring Wrap-Up to review the year that is ending and to plan for the year ahead.  As usual, we agree on new goals and directions for the School, the curriculum and for our students.  Students are generally surveyed through Survey Monkey for their input on our discussions, and we look at course evaluations to see what trends exist among students and faculty.

In addition to all these discussions, this year the focus was on expanding on-line course offerings for the Fall, Spring and Summer sessions in the MSW and PHD programs.  Our main concern is maintaining high standards of social work education while expanding our reach as a School to new populations both nationally and internationally.  Alumni have expressed a need for an on-line PHD program for many years, and we are finally acting on this request.  You will hear more about this as we teach ourselves and our students how to use new technologies in on-line education.

We are also hard at work preparing for reaccreditation by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).  Our self-study is due October 2016 and our site visit will take place in February 2017.  The most dramatic change for our School is shifting our attention to competency-based education.  In other words, we have to assess the extent to which our students achieve social work competencies established by CSWE.  Some of you are already familiar with this, but there will be more discussions about competencies as you move through your social work education at Wurzweiler.  Soon we will be able to report to students how well we are doing as educators and how well you are doing as graduates in achieving competence in social work practice with individuals, families, groups, communities and organizations.

Lastly, I want you to know that we have already begun to plan for our 60th Anniversary as a School.  Our 60th logo is already on all our stationery, and a joint Board and Faculty committee will help plan a gala in Fall 2017 to celebrate the past, present and future of Wurzweiler, and to raise more scholarship money for our students.  I hope all our alumni will join in this celebration.

The faculty and administration continue to envision new directions and new goals for the School.  We have raised more scholarship money this year than last, and our enrollment continues to steadily rise despite all the competition in NYC where 10 Schools of Social Work reside each offering their unique brand of social work education.

While you are a student here at Wurzweiler, please take advantage of all we have to offer you.  Smaller classes, faculty advising, extra-curricular learning opportunities, opportunities to collaborate with faculty on research or other scholarly activities, service learning events, becoming a student member of the National Association of Social Workers, and putting into practice the lessons learned from your teachers, classmates and the people you serve.

I am entering my third year as Dean, and my tenth year at YU, and I am confident that Wurzweiler has wonderful alumni and students who can help us realize our vision of the future.

Dean Hendricks


Research Findings and Curriculum on Hearing Loss in Infants

June 19th, 2014 by raco

(L to R) Dr. Susan Mason, Dr. Charles Auerbach and Dr. Wendy Zeitlin

 Wurzweiler School of Social Work professors Dr. Charles Auerbach, Dr. Susan Mason and Dr. Wendy Zeitlin recently presented the findings from their research on Hearing Loss in Infants

The resources and modules are below.


Hearing Module – Pediatric Hearing Loss (PDF)

Hearing Module- Public Health (PDF)

Hearing Module- Working with Families of Children with HL (PDF)

Resources – Hearing Loss in Infants and Children (PDF)

Resources – Public Health and Working with Families (PDF)

Wurzweiler Students Participate in Artstroll

June 18th, 2014 by raco

IMG_20140618_100007_312Several students of Yeshiva University’s Wurzweiler School of Social Work have offered photographs of the Washington Heights, NY area as part of the School’s participation in “Artstroll”. The photos of Washington Heights-Inwood by Yeshiva students reflect the diversity of our students and community.

According to the “Artstroll” website, for the past 11 years, local artists and leaders have partnered to build a stronger community through the arts in Northern Manhattan. The Uptown Arts Stroll is an annual showcase for this effort, giving a voice to an arts community that is growing in the often overlooked and quickly gentrifying neighborhoods of Washington Heights and Inwood. Since 2003, the Uptown Arts StrollIMG_20140618_095954_394s mall has grown from a one-day event to a month-long celebration offering a wide variety of arts and cultural events north of West 155th Street. The Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance (NoMAA) in collaboration with local artists, businesses, community leaders and institutions, has produced the Uptown Arts Stroll since 2008.

The 2014 Uptown Arts Stroll will feature open studios, art exhibitions, concerts, literary events, and performances throughout Northern Manhattan from West 155th Street to West 220th Street.

ArtStroll2014-Brochure-192x271The Yeshiva University contribution to Artstroll can be seen on the first floor of Furst Hall at 500 W. 185th Street (9am-5pm Mon-Thurs and 9am-2pm Fri) through June 27th.

For more on “Artstroll” and the other exhibits visit http://www.artstroll.com .

Wurzweiler Alumnus Esteban Ramos Featured in “Manhattan Times”: Youth Development Organization Boasts Two Decades of Service

May 28th, 2014 by raco

From “Manhattan Times” May 14, 2014

“For your information   FYI marks two decades of service”

Story and photos by Robin Elisabeth Kilmer


Esteban Ramos

Esteban “Steve” Ramos

In Northern Manhattan, “FYI” is a lot more than information.

Founded in 1993, Fresh Youth Initiatives (FYI) is a non-profit youth development organization that focuses on providing support and skills to youths ages 9-18 with afterschool, enrichment and summer programming.

FYI youth spend most of their time volunteering throughout Northern Manhattan. Among the tasks they take on include organizing care packages for area seniors; painting over mailboxes covered in graffiti; sewing mittens and sleeping bags for homeless people; and gardening in local community gardens. Some also make their own clothes from recycled materials.

When not volunteering, the youths work hit the books at FYI’s offices located at West 171st Street in afterschool tutoring and enrichment programs.

Each activity is part of the organization’s holistic approach to giving area kids a boost, explained Executive Director Steve Ramos.

“I like it when we have fun,” said Josue Lora.

“There’s a very strong sense of family,” he said of the organization which is marking two decades of service.
In one year, the students will cumulatively complete 12,000 hours of volunteer service, and touch about 300 lives, he estimated.


First Ever Class of Wurzweiler School of Social Work Certificate in Jewish Philanthropy Graduates

May 27th, 2014 by raco
Members of the WSSW premiere class in Certificate in Jewish Philanthropy

Members of the Certificate in Jewish Philanthropy

Congratulations to the graduating fellows of the premiere class of the “Certificate in Jewish Philanthropy” at Wurzweiler School of Social Work, Yeshiva University.

Several students graduating from Wurzweiler School of Social Work's Certificate in Jewish Philanthropy

Several students graduating from Wurzweiler School of Social Work’s Certificate in Jewish Philanthropy


Wurzweiler Students React to “Common Day”

May 5th, 2014 by raco

180fOn April 2, 2014 Wurzweiler held an annual innovative learning event known as “Common Day.” This event brings students and faculty together for a shared themed educational process often involving guest speakers, unique learning approaches, entertainment, food and more. The events are collaborated between the faculty, staff and  students via Wurzweiler’s Student Government Association.

This year’s Common Day focused on military veterans and their needs when returning from duty, particularly in the areas of permanent injuries and post traumatic stress 80fdisorder. Four veterans spoke with the students and faculty, who were immersed in hours of guest lectures, memory exercises, social policy examination and an overview of the issues impacting returning veterans.

Below are impressions from some of the students who organized and attended this event.


170fCommon Day provided an uncommonly rewarding learning experience. The speakers were excellent, the schedule was packed but well-organized (and according to military time; clever!), and the room setup was smartly planned and executed. If a program such as this leaves a lasting desire for more such programs, it should be considered as a true success. I want this day to be more common!

First, let us start off by saying that Common Day was completely a team effort, 145fnothing could have gotten done without the coordination and hard work of everyone on Student Government and from the administration office. Personally, we helped in the planning of Common Day and we helped a with a lot of the activities during the actual day such as introducing the table project, registration, set-up and clean-up. 195f
Picking a topic for Common Day is a long and arduous process. Everyone wants it to be the best it can be (pun intended) and settling on returning veterans seemed the logical choice as they are the fastest growing population of potential clients for social workers. We also knew that providing testimony from real life veterans would be a draw and make people more interested, and it seems as though it worked. 
We want to thank everyone in the administration, those in student government, and the be tire student body for making this a Common Day to remember. 

Seven Wurzweiler Students Inducted into Phi Alpha Honors Society

May 5th, 2014 by raco
Phi Alpha Inductees

2014 Phi Alpha Inductees

The Tau Epsilon Chapter of Phi Alpha Honors Society held its second  induction ceremony on May 1st, 2014. Seven students were inducted into the chapter- Rhonda Bacchus, Sheryl Edelstein, Gilles Lubeth, Michell Lubeth, Kate Marks, Nathalie Ohayon, and Stephen Ronay.

Nygera Pierson-Mutis gave an inspirational speech on her experiences as a social worker.

Dean Carmen Hendricks congratulates Phi Alpha inductees

Dean Carmen Hendricks congratulates Phi Alpha inductees

Mrs. Pierson-Mutis was awarded an honorary membership for her commitment to the field of social work. The inductees were celebrated by the administration, faculty, friends, and family.

First Year Wurzweiler Student Impression on Field Placement Agency Strengthens Ties

May 1st, 2014 by raco
Afifa Yusufi

Afifa Yusufi

Out of town transplants typically come to the Schenectady JCC to register their child for preschool, workout at the fitness center or meet people.  Queens transplant Afifa Yusufi came to the JCC for a  different reason: to complete a field instruction requirement in the graduate social work program at the prestigious Yeshiva University’s Wurzweiler School of Social Work.

 “As the JCC didn’t have a formal internship program, I wasn’t sure how things would develop; but I remained open to a new environment and challenging learning experience.   I wondered how my role as a social work student would mesh into the various programs at the SJCC. Most of all, I really hoped that my field instructor and I would work well together.” Afifa reflected.

 Afifa is part of Wurzweiler’s “Summer Block” program, which allows students to complete the bulk of their coursework over three consecutive summers while completing two academic years of in-field, on-the-job training in the students’ home community.  Wurzweiler opened its doors in 1957 “as America’s only graduate social work school under Jewish auspices,” and today draws a diverse Jewish and non-Jewish student body from North America, Israel, and around the world.

 Wurzweiler partners with agencies to provide its students with top-notch field placements, and many people play a role in creating the learning experience. Supervising Afifa’s work is JCC School Age Assistant Director Tiffany Smith. Afifa commented that “Tiffany is amazing and continuously goes above and beyond to make sure I gain the most from my learning experience at the SJCC.”  She added that “I feel extremely grateful to have worked with such wonderful people”, including [SJCC Executive Director] Mark Weintraub and my field supervisor, Raesa Kaiteris . Ms. Kaiteris is the Associate Director of Field Instruction at Wurzweiler.

Afifa’s direct work at the SJCC includes youth programming, but her learning experience goes beyond that. A highlight of her internship was writing a proposal for a mentorship program geared for middle school age youth. This program is unique, in that most mentorship programs focus on those in high school, college or later years.  Afifa’s experience embodies both Wurzweiler’s and the SJCC’s commitments to diversity, welcoming, and inclusion. Originally from Afghanistan, this was important to Afifa. “To SJCC’s credit, I have felt very welcome at the center and did so from the start.”

As the first year’s internship concludes May, 2014 it has been deemed a success by all involved.  “I believe that the SJCC – Wurzweiler collaboration has met the objectives of both institutions and most importantly provided Afifa with a significant learning experience. It has been my pleasure to serve as Afifa’s faculty advisor this year.  She is an intelligent, energetic and invested student with a long and successful career in social work ahead of her. ” commented   Wurzweiler’s Raesa Kaiteris.

Adds Weintraub  “We have also had some general discussions about expanding the relationship to possible areas such as connecting with academics who specialize in the JCC field or training opportunities.  It is my hope that we can continue and deepen our relationship with YU – one of the great centers of learning in New York”.