Andrew Israel

Andrew Israel 

Las Vegas, N.M. — New Mexico Highlands social work professor Andrew Israel was named a Fulbright Specialist by the United States Department of State.

Israel’s Fulbright service will be this summer at Ndejje University in Kamala, capital of the Republic of Uganda in East Africa. He will advise the university’s administration and social work faculty in further developing curriculum and ethical practices.

He will also teach at the university, and work with neighboring communities to help develop social work field practice opportunities for Ndejje University students.

Israel joins the ranks of distinguished Fulbright scholars and specialists worldwide who have been selected to participate in this prestigious international academic exchange program. The U.S. government established the Fulbright Program in 1946.

“I commend professor Israel for his outstanding scholarship, and the many positive contributions he has made to the School of Social Work and the university over the past 17 years,” said Alfredo Garcia, dean of the School of Social Work. “Highlands University as a whole should be very proud to have one of our own chosen for a Fulbright. The competition is fierce, and it’s a tremendous honor.

“Ndejje University will benefit greatly from Andrew’s academic training as both a lawyer and social worker. He also brings a strong multicultural perspective that will be very important for this Fulbright in Uganda. He was a key player in helping our School of Social Work develop and implement its multicultural curriculum,” Garcia said.

Israel is looking forward to sharing his expertise in Uganda, and serving as an ambassador for both the United States and Highlands University.

“I have been excited by the idea of teaching and consulting in social work administration because it combines my background in law and social work,” Israel said. “The Fulbright Program provides the most diverse opportunities to do precisely that in an international setting. I’m thrilled to be selected.

“Historically, developing nations have been dominated by the industrialized Western World — in Uganda’s case Great Britain and others. It will be fascinating and rewarding to have the opportunity to work with a developing nation that’s charting its own course,” Israel said.

Israel graduated cum laude from the Syracuse University College of Law and practiced law in New Mexico for 10 years, with emphasis in civil rights, child welfare, and domestic relations. He is the past director of the State Bar of New Mexico Public Law Section.

Tiring of the contentious law profession, Israel went on to complete his master’s in social work from Highlands. Garcia asked Israel to join the social work faculty in 1996, where he served as associate dean from 2005 — 2010.

Israel teaches upper-division social work courses in law and ethics, community organizing, social welfare policy, grant writing, and more.

In 2010, Israel’s textbook, Using the Law: Practical Decision Making in Mental Health, was published to critical academic acclaim. The textbook offers a multidisciplinary approach to law and ethics for social work, psychology and counseling students.

“I’m very grateful to Highlands for the experience I’ve gained here that has prepared me for this Fulbright challenge. One of my goals is to establish an ongoing link between Highlands and Ndejje University that will be mutually beneficial for the students. I’ll also bring my new multicultural knowledge about Uganda back to my student at Highlands,” Israel said.