Five Social Work faculty to be honored at Chancellor's Convocation

Five members of the School of Social Work faculty will be honored at the Chancellor’s Academic Honors Convocation on April 19 for awards for Excellence in Multicultural Teaching, the Alvin S. Bynum Mentor Award for Faculty, Trustee Teaching Awards and for a Prestigious External Award.

Dr. Margaret Adamek, Director of the School of Social Work’s Doctoral Program will receive a Prestigious External Award Recognition (Pear) in honor of having received a 2011 Fulbright Award.

Drs. Stephanie Boys and Carol Hostetter are recipients of this year’s Trustee Teaching Wards from the School of Social Work for their excellent teaching.

Dr. Khadija Khaja will receive the Chancellor’s Award for Multicultural Teaching. Dean Michael Patchner wrote in his letter recommending her for the award, Dr. Khaja is the lead faculty member who teaches the course Understanding Diversity in a Pluralistic Society which she has taught since joining the School’s faculty. “She consistently receives outstanding teaching evaluations in this course and all her courses. Dr. Khaja has published (10) peer reviewed articles, conducted (28) peer-reviewed presentations and been invited to give at least (22) presentations locally, nationally and internationally on subjects dealing with multicultural teaching/research, cultural competent issues, and innovative diverse teaching methods. In 2011, Dr. Khaja published a student exercise workbook with a colleague, Dr. Black, which focused on teaching students how to be diverse centered social work practitioners. Exercises were developed by people in various roles and locations at IUSSW to ensure a rich and varied perspective.  

Dean Patchner went on to explain that Dr. Khaja, who is herself a Muslim, felt compelled to undertake the timely international research on the lives on Muslims post 911 living in Argentina, Australia, Canada and the United States. “Among the findings was that Muslims who saw themselves as proud American citizens before the terrorist attacks, found themselves sometimes viewed as suspect citizens, or perhaps facing stereotypes and discrimination after the attacks on the world trade centers. Dr. Khaja who was PI of this study presented a briefing of this study at the White House and recommended what it would take to engage Muslims in peace building in this age of terror. Dr. Khaja’s inclusion of undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral research assistants in this study was powerful in teaching and mentoring students how to conduct international multicultural research.

Dr. Khaja is now part of the White House Work Group that shares and discusses briefing papers on Global and Domestic Catastrophes: Community Resiliency. The Directive outlines the President’s vision for strengthening the security and resilience of the United States through systematic preparation for global threats to the security of the Nation, including acts of terrorism, pandemics, significant accidents, and catastrophic natural disasters. As part of the workgroup she provides information on evidence based studies and literature that document value in having a resilient community. This work is a tremendous honor for Indiana University as a whole and illustrates service to the nation and the world at its finest. Dr. Khaja’s special contribution to this group however, has been her recent development of logic models that were provided to Richard Reed, Special Assistant to the President on Homeland Security and Continuity Policy  which stressed  that any response to a global or domestic disaster must build bridges and networks with  limited English speaking  populations, address the serious lack of translators, & bilingual-bicultural  staff and volunteers, deal with the lack of cultural sensitivity by some main-stream helpers, develop better media communication in languages other than English, and deal more pro-actively with diverse communities as research shows they are the most vulnerable.

Dean Patchner noted her focus and interest in international research and issues is the hallmark of her teaching as well. “We can think of no other single faculty member who has done more to advance diversity and to internationalize the quality of students experience in the School of Social Work during the last 10 years,” three PhD students wrote in a letter of support for Dr. Khaja’s work.

In 2010, Dr. Khaja, Co-Chair, then of the Multicultural Pedagogy Research Group received the Joseph T. Taylor Excellence in Diversity award with the rest of its group members, a tremendous honor. This group consists of prominent scholars in multicultural teaching and research from the IUPUI Office of International Affairs, IU School of Liberal Arts, Purdue School of Science, Office of Women, and the Department of Public Health at the School of Medicine. Kathy Grove, former Co-Chair of MPRG  and Director of the Office for Women states “Dr. Khaja’s multicultural teaching, research and service has an impact across classrooms, the university and community due to her passion for teaching in a way that ensures inclusivity for all diverse learners. Her expertise is recognized nationally and internationally.” 

Dr. Irene Queiro Tajalli will receive the Alvin S. Bynum Mentor Award. In his letter of recommendation, Dean Patchner wrote:  I can think of no other individual who is more richly deserving of this important recognition. “To talk about Dr. Queiro-Tajalli is to talk about her trajectory as a mentor/advisor for our students. From her early years as an Assistant Professor to her current status as Full Professor, her dedication to our School and students has been second to none. I have known Dr. Queiro-Tajalli for over 30 years dating back to when I was an Assistant Professor and Dr. Queiro-Tajalli was a PhD student at the University of Illinois. Of course, I have worked intimately with her for the last 11 years here at the School of Social Work where Dr. Queiro-Tajalli directed our Bachelor of Social Work Program for more than 20 years and for the past four years has been directing our statewide Labor Studies Program. Dr. Queiro-Tajalli has devoted her career to mentoring, advising, and supporting students to ensure their success.”

Dean Patchner went on to say, “It is no exaggeration to say that Dr. Queiro-Tajalli has been a pillar of strength at the School of Social Work since she joined the faculty in 1980. She devoted hundreds of hours to improving the Bachelor of Social Work program, including her work with three program accreditation cycles, development of student handbooks, field manuals, promotional materials, and transparent educational procedures. Her work served as a model for other undergraduate programs around the country. During the 1980s and 1990s, students from IU East and IU Bloomington were required to complete their fourth year at IUPUI. Always the champion of students, Dr. Queiro-Tajalli went to work and changed the system so the students could complete their final year on their home campus, something they dearly wanted to do. I should say that this initiative added to her workload, but she accepted this task gladly in the name of facilitating student access to the School’s educational opportunities.”

The changes she has brought about at the School helped provide for better administration of our social work programs. And her motivation to bring them about was the certainty that these changes would make being a student at the School of Social Work an even better experience. These are not the kind of projects that end with a ribbon cutting or much fanfare, but knowing they would help the School and our students was the only reward Dr. Queiro-Tajalli needed, the dean noted.

In 2007, Labor Studies joined the School of Social Work. At my request, Dr. Queiro-Tajalli graciously agreed to oversee the Labor Studies program as well as the school’s Bachelor of Social Work program. In 2010, Dr. Queiro-Tajalli decided she needed to focus her full attention on Labor Studies to build a program that was student and faculty centered. It is remarkable that someone with her tenure and as a Full Professor would have volunteered to take on the hard and detailed work such a position requires. Dr. Queiro-Tajalli did so because of her love of students and her ardent desire to ensure they have the best experience possible when they enroll in our statewide Labor Studies program.

Press Release Contact:
Rob Schneider
(317) 278-0303