Ora Nakash Incoming Ph.D. Program Director

Smith College School for Social Work is pleased to announce 
Ora Nakash, M.A., Ph.D., as the School’s incoming Ph.D. program director.

Her appointment is effective July 10, 2020.

In a statement praising Nakash’s contributions to the School and the field of clinicial services, Dean Marianne Yoshioka, M.S.W., MBA, Ph.D., said “Ora is a highly skilled clinician, a wonderful colleague and most importantly, she cares deeply about pedagogy and mentoring. She is internationally recognized for her impactful practice research and brings a wealth of knowledge about doctoral education.”

“Ora will be extending and advancing the program's goals developed under Joanne Corbin, Ph.D., to train the next generation of extraordinary practitioner scholar,” she added.

In transitioning into her new role as Ph.D. program director, Nakash has begun to collaborate with fellow resident faculty, adjuncts and students to review the current structure of the program including curriculum, research training internships and coursework in support of internship. She is also looking to incorporate different models of dissertation that are tied to mentorship. Says Nakash, “I plan to work closely with the Ph.D. Oversight Committee and student representatives to conceptualize the kinds of courses we need, build the syllabus and consider multiple ways of thinking about how we can bolster the research portion of this program in an integrated way with the excellence of the clinical training. At the core of our planning lies our strong commitment to social justice and anti-racism, and ways we can continue integrating those significant pieces into all aspects of the program."

Commenting on Dean Yoshioka’s decision to not to enroll an entering doctoral class this summer because of the impact of the pandemic on class size Nakash says, “It was a hard choice but one that had to be made. We have been spending a lot of time looking at how we can think creatively to maintain a sense of community and connection while we are physically apart. It’s a challenge, but we as a faculty have great ideas about this, as well as our students. It’s been moving to see the generosity of everyone involved— students, adjuncts, admins, faculty— who are working hard to make this happen.

"I’m seeing up close the care each individual is putting into their work; it’s really the social work profession at its best."

A resident faculty member since 2018, Nakash's scholarly work aims to generate innovative research to improve the access, equity and quality of care for disadvantaged and minority populations. She is particularly interested in identifying the mechanisms that underlie mental health service disparities as a result of people's social and cultural backgrounds and developing evidence-based interventions to reduce the detrimental effects these inequalities have on individuals, families and society at large.

Nakash succeeds Joanne Corbin, Ph.D., who will be taking on a new role as associate dean of academic affairs at the University of Connecticut School of Social Work.