Qin Gao, a professor of social policy and social work at our School and the founding director of the China Center for Social Policy, has been appointed to Columbia University’s Committee on Global Thought (CGT). In so doing, she has become the first faculty member of the School of Social Work to serve on this high-level committee, which was established in 2006 by Columbia University President Lee Bollinger with the mission of encouraging transnational, interdisciplinary research on globalization.
Currently chaired by senior research scholar Vishakha Desai, CGT consists of over thirty distinguished faculty members from across the University: from the Arts and Sciences, the Schools of Law, Business, Journalism, Architecture and Planning, the Mailman School of Public Health, the School of the Arts, the School of International and Public Affairs—and now the School of Social Work.
To understand the changing conditions of the contemporary world, CGT members strive to come up with new concepts and strategies for understanding rapidly evolving global phenomena. They view these events not only through a transnational lens but one that demands thinking across the established academic disciplines—since issues such as global governance, varieties of democracy, economic inequality, new technologies, and diversity of cultures and religions often fall between or across conventional disciplinary borders.
In addition to signature research projects addressing a broad spectrum of issues, CGT also sponsors a master’s and an undergraduate initiative in Global Thought, Global Think-ins, and events at the New York campus and at Columbia Global Centers.
“Please join me in congratulating Qin Gao on this well-deserved honor,” said Dean Melissa Begg. “She has distinguished herself with scholarship that applies a global lens to the critical work of analyzing causes of and responses to poverty and inequality, which makes her a tremendous asset to the Committee on Global Thought.”
“I deeply admire the mission of the CGT,” Gao said. “I am very happy to be part of the CGT’s distinguished interdisciplinary faculty, to support students in the MA in Global Thought program, and to contribute to CGT initiatives through my expertise, teaching, and other activities. I am particularly eager to participate in the Youth in a Changing World Project, to help envision and shape what the future looks like for the younger generation.”
A 2005 doctoral alumna of the School of Social Work, Gao is a preeminent expert on Chinese social policy. Her book, Welfare, Work, and Poverty: Social Assistance in China, released in 2017 by Oxford University Press, presented the first systematic evaluation of the effectiveness of China’s social welfare program, Dibao, one of the world’s largest social welfare programs. Her current book project, titled China’s War on Poverty, combines economics, political science, and data science to evaluate the Chinese government’s campaign to eradicate rural poverty in China by 2020 from both historical and international comparative perspectives.
Gao teaches courses on inequality, poverty, and public policy, and on advanced methods for policy practice, as well as a signature course on Global Social Policy that attracts students from across the Columbia campus. She frequently serves as a mentor for master’s and doctoral students within and beyond the Columbia School of Social Work.
For more on Gao’s research, please see her recent publications:
- Creating solace and hope during COVID-19: An innovative Internet-based social work intervention, in International Social Work (23 September 2020)
- Does poverty alleviation help enhance social investment? The case of South Korea, in Journal of Asian Public Policy (5 November 2020)
- Cultural orientations and parental distress among Chinese immigrants in the United States: the mediating role of parent–child acculturation conflict, in Asia Pacific Journal of Social Work and Development (9 November 2020)