Melba Butler, LCSW, PhD
Adjunct Assistant Professor
Melba Butler is committed to connecting people with opportunities. An Adjunct faculty member since 2006 who holds her Ph.D. from the CUNY Graduate Center, Dr. Butler energetically connects her Silberman students with people, networks, resources, and ideas that will expand their knowledge and empower them as social work professionals.
This passion for capacity-building grounds all of Dr. Butler’s work, from her teaching and research to her practice as a consultant. Drawing from her experiences in child welfare, organizational management, and academia, she helps a wide range of individuals and agencies develop their capabilities; enhance their leadership; and assess the needs of their communities. It is no surprise, then, that Dr. Butler’s professorial work shapes her practice and vice-versa. She brings readings from her Silberman courses to organizational clients, in order to shed light on their unique cases, and brings insights from those cases directly into her discussions with students – students who, as the next generation of social workers, ultimately make it all worthwhile, she says.
“I love the diversity of the Silberman School of Social Work in so many different ways – cultural and ethnic, experiential, and much more,” Dr. Butler says. “Currently, I teach two sections of the same course, which each bring such richness to the same subject matter. I have also known, liked, and respected many of the faculty for a long time prior to my time at Silberman. We bounce ideas, and talk about issues that impact students and the larger community… It is truly collegial.”
Leora Shudofsky, LMSW
Co-Director of PROVE, Adjunct Lecturer
Leora Shudofsky, herself a graduate of the Hunter College School of Social Work and a valued staff and faculty member since 2008, is committed to supporting veterans, their families, and their unique social service needs. She (re-)joined Hunter to work for PROVE: The Project for Return and Opportunity in Veterans’ Education, first as a full-time field instructor (2008-2012); then Associate Director (2012-2016); and, since 2016, Co-Director alongside Founding Director Roger Sherwood. Now in its tenth year, PROVE is a groundbreaking program that brings Silberman students together with student veterans at ten CUNY campuses, to jointly ensure the educational success of CUNY’s enrolled veterans and the military cultural competence of Silberman students.
Leora is first author on a recent paper about this program’s extraordinary success, published in the Clinical Social Work Journal. Read the paper here.
In tandem with her work for PROVE, Leora has been a widely admired adjunct instructor since 2011. She taught Group Work for Non-Majors until 2013; and since 2013 has taught Social Work with Veterans, a course she developed with Professor Sherwood. In May 2017, Leora received the Hunter College Presidential Award for Excellence – Cecile B. Insdorf Award for Excellence in Teaching for Part-Time Faculty, recognizing her outstanding teaching.
“Silberman (then the Hunter College School of Social Work) was a transformational experience for me as a student,” says Leora. “My experience laid the foundation for who I am as a social work practitioner. That I am able to work at this very institution is an incredible privilege. I admire the passion, advocacy, and dedication of the students, faculty, and staff here at Silberman; and I appreciate their open willingness to continue to stretch and grow.”
Melody J. Wilding, LMSW
Adjunct Instructor of Human Behavior
Melody J. Wilding, who became an adjunct faculty member in 2015 and previously worked with the Social Work Leadership Institute (precursor to the Strell Executive Leadership program), is a nationally recognized Master Coach. Using psychological insights to help professional and entrepreneurial women achieve greater success, Melody has counseled dozens of CEOs, startup executives, media personalities, and prominent authors. She is also a widely published expert in workplace mental health.
Melody was recently invited to deliver a TEDx talk, Trying to Change? How Self-Doubt can Actually Help, which has been enthusiastically received. It distills a key concept from psychology and social work – “naming and reframing” anxieties instead of suppressing them – for viewers at any career stage. View the talk here.
“I continue to be so impressed by the caliber of students”, says Melody. “The strength-based perspective, focus on resilience, and belief in human resilience and capacity [which inspired the TEDx talk] … is what the Silberman School of Social Work represents. It is instilling that resilience in students, giving them skills to use these evidence-based techniques, backed by research and academic rigor.”