The Internationalization of Doctoral Social Work Education: Learning from a Partnership in Ethiopia


  • Alice K. Johnson Butterfield



doctoral education, international, community development, higher education partnerships, action research


What does it mean to internationalize doctoral education by working abroad? What does it mean to internationalize doctoral education in one’s home country? This article offers a perspective based on the Social Work Education in Ethiopia Partnership, which established Ethiopia’s first-ever master’s degree in social work in 2004. To ensure sustainability of the MSW program, a doctoral program in Social Work and Social Development was launched in 2006. This article describes the development and research base of the doctoral program. Beginning in the first semester, teams of doctoral students join with poor communities in action research.Overall, these efforts lead to an emerging model of university-based development. Through engaged action research, faculty and students use human capital resources and the educational process to function as “development actors.” Some ideas for internationalizing doctoral education are offered. Deans and directors in the United States and Canada are challenged to expand doctoral education within a developing country and to prepare doctoral students to include international perspectives in their teaching and research.