Nabila El-Bassel, SSW ’89, the Willma and Albert Musher professor of social work, has been appointed University Professor, University President Lee Bollinger announced in an email to the student body on Monday morning.
The rank of University Professor is the highest academic position afforded to University faculty. Only eight faculty members may hold this title at once—all are nominated by the president and appointed by the board of trustees. The last inductee as University Professor was professor of biomedical engineering and medicine Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic in 2017.
El-Bassel is the first faculty member of the School of Social Work to become a University Professor. She currently serves as the director of Columbia’s Global Health Center of Central Asia, which strives to improve health and social issues in the area and has served on the National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse.
Her research has predominantly focused on HIV/AIDS prevention, violence against marginalized communities, and substance abuse, from which she has designed HIV and drug use interventional models for at-risk populations.
“Professor El-Bassel has devoted her career to the pursuit of knowledge and innovation that can strengthen communities and improve the human condition. She has established social work as a recognized profession in countries where it previously did not exist and has mentored generations of new researchers in a field that has had a transformative effect on the lives of at-risk populations. She richly deserves this honor,” Bollinger’s email read.