Judith Trachtenberg brings a remarkable combination of experience and passion to the Silberman School of Social Work’s BSW and MSW students in her role as an Adjunct Professor. Building directly upon her practice and leadership career in healthcare organizations – including her service as the Director of Social Work and later a human resources director at Weill-Cornell Medicine – as well as her life as an advocate committed to intersectional social justice in New York communities, Ms. Trachtenberg’s teaching leaves a significant imprint on those who take her Social Work Practice Lab and Professional Seminar courses.
In Professional Seminar with master’s students who are about to complete their programs, the cases that Ms. Trachtenberg uses in the classroom enable emerging social workers to identify and marshal all they have learned along the way, while they develop crucial professional perspectives and identities. In Practice Lab with fourth-year BSW undergraduates – who are also prepared to earn degrees in social work, alongside the liberal arts, and who will soon enter professional roles or MSW programs – she relishes helping students explore how they want to approach and articulate social work ideas, practices, and challenges throughout their careers. Across all her teaching, Ms. Trachtenberg is as consistently inspired by Silberman students as they are by her.
“Bringing experiences and cases of what I have done into the inquisitive Silberman School of Social Work classroom has shown me that there is so much I or anyone has not done or known,” says Ms. Trachtenberg: “In this way, teaching has made me a better listener. I have learned how to listen and how to learn… [especially] from our college [BSW] students who are still learning how to learn, to write, to think.”
Ms. Trachtenberg’s dedication to her students and to teaching is mirrored in her appreciation for the School community more broadly. “What we do here is unique,” she states, “and I love the framework embedded in the teaching here: it integrates micro and macro and approaches clinical work by looking at systemic oppression. It is amazing to be a part of it.”