The Lois V. and Samuel J. Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College was established in 1958 and is the oldest and largest public school of social work in New York. Our mandate is informed by the School’s location within the City University of New York (CUNY), the nation’s largest urban public institution of higher education, and within Hunter College, one of CUNY’s five senior colleges. As part of CUNY, our goal is to provide social work education of the highest quality at the lowest possible cost.
Our location in the urban public system of New York City directs us to seek and encourage social work talent for and from the least advantaged in the population. Hunter’s commitment to educational access is evident in our continued dedication to admit and graduate a diverse student body primarily from New York City; to maintain our affordability by providing financial aid and scholarship opportunities in addition to our already modest tuition; to offer students an array of academic opportunities and supports for achievement; and to strive for multi-layered diversity in our student body, faculty, administration, and staff.
The mission of the Silberman School of Social Work promotes civic engagement and dedication to public services in the City of New York. Our student body, field agencies, and alumni are the primary social work workforce of the public human service departments and not-for-profit agencies in New York City.
The School’s intellectual and academic life is informed by our standing as a graduate department of Hunter College, the largest and most pre-eminent of CUNY’s five senior colleges. The central elements of Hunter’s mission statement – cultivating intellectual and personal development, encouraging social and civic engagement, inspiring a lifelong zest for learning in the students of New York City – resonate deeply within the Silberman School of Social Work.
Our mission expresses our commitment to graduate excellently prepared and civically engaged social workers for New York’s diverse communities.
Our curriculum is designed to cultivate students’ intellectual and personal development, and our School’s environment engages and challenges students and propels graduates into lifelong activism and learning.
At Silberman, we relish the challenge of balancing our School’s commitment to serve New York City and its people with our position as a graduate school within Hunter College, with its associated mandate to produce applied research and scholarship. The challenge is to be excellent in both professional and research domains. The School is proud of our numerous and varied professional and community partnerships and our faculty’s scholarly productivity. We are committed to serving as a model of a professional school that achieves excellence in both the service and scholarship domains.
Thanks to the generous and continuing support of the Silberman family, the School moved into a state-of-the-art, environmentally friendly, technologically advanced building in 2011. The School’s relocation to East Harlem has been an unparalleled opportunity for the School to “live its mission.” The Silberman School of Social Work shares the building with the Brookdale Center for Healthy Aging. In addition, it houses the library and archives of Centro, the Institute for the Study of Puerto Ricans, and the Hunter Art Gallery. This provides unique opportunities for cross-disciplinary education, training, practice, and research.