Nancy Farwell

Nancy Farwell (Ret.)

Associate Professor
PhD, University of California, Berkeley

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206-616-2339
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Nancy Farwell, associate professor, retired in June 2019 after 21 years at the School of Social Work. Throughout her distinguished tenure, she made significant contributions in teaching, scholarship and research. She taught in the School’s MSW and BASW programs, as well as offering doctoral tutorials at the School and other UW departments. She served as chair of the African Studies Program at the UW Jackson School of International Affairs for two terms and has been an affiliate faculty member of African Studies since 1999. Nancy has also taught in the UW Honors Program and the African Studies Program at the Jackson School.   

At the School of Social Work, Dr. Farwell was a member of the MSW Multiethnic Practice Concentration and the Community-Centered Integrative Practice Concentration. She developed and taught popular electives such as Global Perspectives in Social Work and Development and Transnational Identities in Communities in Transition: The Pacific Northwest and the Horn of Africa. She also taught Empowerment Practice with Immigrant and Refugee Communities, Ethnographic Interviewing, Introduction to Direct Social Work Practice, and Intermediate Direct Practice with Families, Individuals and Groups. In the BASW program, she taught Cultural Diversity and Justice, Introduction to Social Welfare Practice, and Macro-practice with Organizations and Communities. Her doctoral tutorials covered a range of topics related to refugee repatriation and community development, international and domestic refugee policy, gender and development, and transnationalism and forced migration. 

As part of the UW Global Classrooms Project, and with a grant from the Hewlett Foundation, Dr. Farwell developed a technology-assisted binational course, offering transnational learning opportunities for social work students both at the UW and at the University of Asmara, Eritrea. She also co-developed and co-led (with UW School of Law professor Joel Ngugi) an interdisciplinary study abroad program in Kenya, featuring classroom and practicum instruction focused on health, human rights and social transformation in the Greater Horn of Africa. In addition to her classroom teaching, Dr. Farwell served as a practicum instructor in conjunction with field sites in Seattle and in Nairobi, Kenya. Her commitment to education and scholarship has given social work students the opportunity to participate in transnational exchanges, helping them to build knowledge while serving on agency-based projects overseas.

Dr. Farwell's many contributions to the University and the School include serving on the Equity and Diversity Council, the BASW Program Committee and the Practicum Advisory Council. She co-founded and co-advised the Horn of Africa Student Social Workers Association, co-chaired the BASW Committee and the CCIP Concentration, and served for many years as the chair of the School’s International Committee. In this capacity, she and committee members established, organized and hosted multiple annual International Extravaganzas—fairs that showcased the global interests and expertise of social work faculty, staff, students and colleagues from other health sciences schools. 

At the University level, Dr. Farwell served in various capacities, including the advisory board for the Interdisciplinary Program on Humanitarian Relief at the Marc Lindenberg Center for Humanitarian Action, International Development, and Global Citizenship at the Evans School of Public Affairs; the Advisory Board of the Health Sciences Global Health Resource Center; the UW Graduate School Council; as a mentor with the UW Women’s Center, Making Connections Program; with the Gear-up Early Scholars Outreach Program in the OMAD; and as a proposal reviewer and interviewer for the UW Office of Graduate Education Fulbright Awards Program. She also served as principal investigator and project director on two two-year cycles of a U.S. Department of Education Title VI Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Language Grant to the African Studies Program at the Jackson School of International Studies.

Dr. Farwell’s broad research interests include the psychosocial health of war-affected and displaced populations; global migration and transnational identities; and leadership development and community-building among multiethnic youth. She held a two-year senior Fulbright Fellowship (2008–2010) for research and teaching at the University of Nairobi, Kenya, as well as a 2001 provost’s office faculty exchange grant for research in Eritrea.

During her career, she received many awards and recognition for her work. She has an extensive history of volunteer and community service, and consultation within the University community, in the Northwest and internationally. She continues to collaborate with colleagues and communities to promote interdisciplinary collaboration, research, and global perspectives in social work and related professions. 

Dr. Farwell received both her PhD and MSW from the School of Social Welfare, University of California, Berkeley. Her undergraduate degree in Chinese studies was awarded by Connecticut College in New London, Conn. She speaks Mandarin, Cantonese and French proficiently, and has a conversational knowledge of Japanese, Kiswahili, and Tigrinya.