SHU Promotes Assoc. Prof. to Assoc. Dean of Social Work

FAIRFIELD, Conn.—Sacred Heart University has promoted Duy Nguyen, associate professor of social work, to associate dean for the School of Social Work. He has been a SHU faculty member since 2021.

“Duy’s dedication to the School of Social Work and its students is evident in everything he does,” said Mark Beekey, dean of the College of Arts & Sciences. “I know he is going to bring a lot to the table in his new role, and I am looking forward to seeing exactly what that entails.”

Nguyen is a licensed clinical social worker with bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Washington University in St. Louis, MO, and a doctorate from Columbia University in New York. He has held faculty appointments at Columbia and New York University, as well as Temple University in Pennsylvania, where he taught courses in research, statistics and human behavior. He also directed the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services-funded Minority Fellowship Program at the Council on Social Work Education in Virginia.

In a question-and-answer interview, Nguyen discussed the strengths of SHU’s social work program.

What do you think makes Sacred Heart’s School of Social Work different from programs at other schools?

I think there is a level of integration across the courses that helps students understand necessary concepts and practices. This is born out of our integrated practice framework. Research, policy and practice are important parts of the social work profession, and I think that is something we stress to our students.

You have been researching gerontology, specifically among Asian Americans. What piqued this interest?

My interest started when I was a clinical social worker in community practice. I noticed that many of my clients were older Vietnamese refugees and immigrants. When I pursued my Ph.D., I was interested in how Asian Americans of all ages use mental health services. So, that is the work I have been doing since I was a doctoral student.

The School of Social Work hosts many workshops and conferences. Why are these important for social work students, individuals from other departments and people outside the University?

The workshops and conferences, such as the anti-racist symposium we have been organizing for the past two years, are very mission-aligned. The emphasis on social justice and human rights is important to us as a school, but it is also important to the world we are living in now.

How do you think your role of associate professor and your close work with students will help you as associate dean?

I can use much of what I learned working with students at the master’s and doctoral levels in this new administrative position. I am mindful of advancing the school’s goals, and also how to advance our students’ goals. It’s about how we work with students and how we provide them professional development experiences in their practicum learning and alumni interactions. These are aspects of SHU’s program I am excited about, and I want to focus on connecting students with our faculty and the community.


About Sacred Heart University

As the second-largest independent Catholic university in New England, and one of the fastest-growing private doctoral institutions in the U.S., Sacred Heart University is a national leader in shaping higher education for the 21st century. SHU offers nearly 90 undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and certificate programs on its Fairfield, Conn., campus. Sacred Heart also has a campus in Dingle, Ireland, and offers online programs. More than 10,000 students attend the University’s nine colleges and schools: Arts & Sciences; Communication, Media & the Arts; Social Work; Computer Science & Engineering; Health Professions; the Isabelle Farrington College of Education & Human Development; the Jack Welch College of Business & Technology; the Dr. Susan L. Davis, R.N., & Richard J. Henley College of Nursing; and St. Vincent’s College. Sacred Heart stands out from other Catholic institutions as it was established and led by laity. The contemporary Catholic university is rooted in the rich Catholic intellectual tradition and the liberal arts, and at the same time cultivates students to be forward thinkers who enact change—in their own lives, professions and in their communities. The Princeton Review includes SHU in its Best 389 Colleges: 2024 Edition, and Best Business Schools: 2023 Edition. Sacred Heart is home to the award-winning, NPR-affiliate station, WSHU Public Radio, a Division I athletics program and an impressive performing arts program that includes choir, band, dance and theatre.

Submitted by Fairfield, CT

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