Joining the Berkeley Social Welfare faculty this fall is Dr. Yu-Ling Chang, who recently earned her doctoral degree in social welfare from the University of Washington. The School of Social Welfare's new assistant professor — whose research focuses on the relationships among poverty, inequality and social safety net programs — shares her first-year and long-term goals at Cal.
Please tell us a little about your educational, professional and personal background.
After earning my MSW from National Taiwan University in 2006, I began my social work career as a frontline practitioner at a public welfare center providing a variety of social services to low-income families in Taipei, Taiwan. In addition to the social work direct practice, I also worked as a policy analyst extern at the Washington State Budget and Policy Center from 2013 to 2014. In this position, I developed the Progress Index of Economy Security by performing analysis of low-wage workers and income support programs in Washington State. I earned my PhD in social welfare from the University of Washington in 2016, with a concentration in public policy and management and a certificate in statistics track in social science.
What influenced you to pursue an academic career in social welfare?
My academic career is inspired by my post-MSW practice experiences serving and advocating for individuals suffering economic hardship in Taiwan and the US during the recent global recession. These experiences have contributed to my understanding of the connections between global economic forces and social conditions at the local, community level. I see social policy plays a crucial role in allocating public resources. In order to advance social justice and improve economic resources for vulnerable populations, I have dedicated myself to research and teaching on policies and practices that address social and economic inequalities.
What first interested you in the position at the UC Berkeley School of Social Welfare?
The position with a focus in the area of poverty and income inequality is a perfect fit to my research and teaching expertise. I was also attracted by the leadership of global programs at the UC Berkeley School of Social Welfare. I believe my interdisciplinary training, expertise in poverty and social policy, and cross-national professional experiences can make a valuable contribution to the School.
What are you most looking forward to in coming to Berkeley?
I am looking forward to working with the diverse student body and the excellent intellectual community at UC Berkeley. Particularly, I am interested in joining the multidisciplinary Economic Disparities Cluster under the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society.
What are some of your goals for the upcoming academic year?
I would like to know more about my colleagues and students at the School of Social Welfare. I also plan to develop opportunities to collaborate with practitioners and researchers in the Bay Area and inthe Pacific Rim, with a focus on the issues of poverty, income inequality, and social safety net programs.