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Kanako Okuda Joins the GSSWSR as Director of Field Education

March 18, 2022
A photo of Kanako Okuda
Kanako Okuda
Tthe Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research is delighted to wecome Kanako Okuda as the director of field education. Okuda is a social work practitioner, educator, and advocate. She is passionate about the role of field education in mentoring and educating future social workers. Recently, she served as the director of field education and an assistant professor at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, and previously as the director of field education at Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College, the City University of New York. Prior to her time at Hunter, Okuda was an education coordinator, field instructor, and lecturer at Columbia University School of Social Work. Additionally, she has been actively involved in social justice throughout her career by designing and facilitating workshops for students and the community. 
Okuda is passionate about field education and how students make meaning out of their learning through serving. Her work includes resources on students’ anxiety in field education which have been widely adopted by social work programs in North America. In the advocacy sphere, she is one of the original leading members of the field education directors’ group of the "Voting is Social Work" campaign to mobilize voter participation nationwide through field education. Her publications include research on social work students' anxiety, meaning-making, spirituality in social work, and medical social work. 
Okuda envisions field education as a hub for innovation and discovery. In 2020, she was selected as a Field Research Scholar by the Transforming Field Education Landscape Project at the University of Calgary, supported by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Okuda actively seeks to transform students' field learning experiences using simulations. She is also conducting collaborative research with various social work field education programs to improve students' field learning outcomes. 
In addition to her scholarly work, Okuda is a practicing clinical social worker, serving hard-to-reach populations through tele-mental health services. She began her career in child welfare and later worked as a pediatric oncology social worker, offering psychosocial services to her patients and their families at Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital at Columbia University Medical Center.

Okuda holds a B.S.W. from Lehman College, an M.S.S.W. from Columbia University School of Social Work, and a D.S.W. from Rutgers University School of Social Work.

The GSSWSR prepares students to become effective social work practitioners, advocates for social and economic justice, and leaders in the social work profession. Students learn about work with individuals, families and groups, as well as social work with organizations and communities. Students learn a holistic approach to social work practice with an emphasis on the importance of diversity and inclusion. GSSWSR's accredited program awards a Master of Social Service (M.S.S.) degree, which is equivalent to an M.S.W. For more information, contact the school at 610-520-2600 or