Lee, Peter C.Y. (1947-2004)

Lee, Peter C.Y. (1947-2004)

Date Updated



Social Work

Academic Rank


Year Retired from SJSU


Educational Background

University of California, Berkeley, 1980, DSW

University of California, Berkeley, 1977, MPH

University of Hawaii, 1974, MSW

Tunghai University, Taiwan, Sociology, 1971, BA

Teaching Experience

Social Work, San Jose State University, 1977-1996

School of Social Welfare, University of California, Berkeley, Teaching Associate 1976-1977; Teaching Assistant, 1975-1976

Administrative and Professional Experience

Associate Vice President, Faculty Affairs, San Jose State University, 1996-2004

Dean of the Graduate School of Social Work and Chair of the Department of Social Work at Tunghai University, 1986-1988

Secretary General, Inter-University Consortium for International Social Development , 1986-2004

Director, Joint Center for Human Services Research and Development, School of Social Work, San Jose State University, 1983-

Selected Publications

“Organizing in the Chinese American Community: Issues, Strategies, and Alternatives,” In Felix G. Rivera & John L. Erlich (Eds.), Community Organizing in a Diverse Society (3rded.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon. 1998, 117-145.

“Social Welfare of Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan: Progress and Challenge,” American Journal of Chinese Studies, 3:2 (1996), 225-233.

“Understanding Death, Dying and Religion: A Chinese Perspective,” In J.K. Parry & A.S. Ryan (Eds.), A Cross-Cultural Look at Death, Dying and Religion. Chicago: Nelson-Hall Publishers. 1995, 172-182.

“Social Work in Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan: Bridging Tradition and Modernization,” The Indian Journal of Social Work, 55:3 (1994), 419-432.

“Social Work in Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan: Asia’s Four Little Dragons,” In M.C. Hokenstad, S.K. Khinduka, & J. Midgley (Eds.), Profiles in International Social Work. Washington, DC: NASW, 1992, 99-114.

Dimensions of Social Welfare Transition: Sino-British Perspectives.Taipei: Chu Liu Book Co., 1988. Edited by Peter Ching-Yung Lee; papers presented at the second Sino-British Conference on Social Welfare Development.

“Group Work Practice with Asian Clients: A Sociocultural Approach,” Social Work with Groups: A Journal of Community and Clinical Practice, 7:3 (Fall 1984), 37-49.

“Reflections on the Sino-American Exchange on Social Welfare Development” (with John A. Brown),In Toward Comparative Social Welfare, Cambridge, MA: Schenkman Publishing Co., 1984.

“Towards the Development of Community Mental Health in Taiwan: A Social Welfare Perspective,” In Aspects of social welfare in Taiwan R.O.C. and Britain : the edited proceedings of the First Sino-British Conference on Social Welfare,held at Magdalen College Oxford, August 1984 / editors: Jane Keithley and Peter Kaim-Caudle.

“Community Mental Health Policy and Programs in the U.S.: Lessons for the Republic of China,” The China Tribune, 16:11 (September 1983), 66-70.

“The Chinese Value Orientation in Social Welfare: Intercultural Implications,” In Proceedings of the Sino-American Conference on Social Welfare Development, Taichung, Taiwan: Tunghai University Press, 1982, 129-136.

“Current Trends in Social Welfare: Implications for Planning,” Chin Hsueh Society Journal, 1:9 (September 1981), 27-31.

“ Social Work as a Profession in the U.S.: Some Lessons for Taiwan,” Community Development Journal, 15 (September 1981), 96-102.

“Theoretical Foundations and Future Directions in Chinese Social Work,” The China Tribune,11:11 (March 1981), 7-18.

“The Past, Present and Future of Social Welfare: An Interview with Walter A. Friedlander,” Journal of Sociology and Social Work, 1:2 (1977), 103-110.

“Social Work Education in the United States,” Journal of Tunghai Sociological Review, 3:1 (1974), 23-26.

Personal Commentary

Peter C.Y. Lee, DSW, was a true pioneer for international social work education. He led the effort to broaden the social work curriculum at the San José State University (SJSU) School of Social Work to address the newly recognized needs of Vietnamese refugees in San Jose, California. Lee brought an international perspective to SJSU by engaging in groundbreaking inter-university connections with universities in Asia and beyond. As an important campus leader in his final role at SJSU as Assistant Vice President, Faculty Affairs, he oversaw the Retention/Tenure/Promotion process for the University and served as an important voice in the increasing diversification of the faculty.

In addition to his duties at SJSU, Lee served as Secretary General of the Inter-University Consortium for International Social Development (now known as ICSD). ICSD is an international organization of institutions (the institutional memberships are predominately Schools of Social Work), practitioners, scholars, and students focused on economic and social development through capacity building. The organization seeks to develop conceptual frameworks and effective intervention strategies geared to influencing local, national and international systems. It is committed to creating peaceful solutions to the problems of survival at the local, national, and global levels. As Secretary General, Lee handled the administrative and financial management of their biennial symposiums, worked closely with symposium chairs, managed a scholarship fund for members from least developed countries to support their symposium attendance, oversaw membership services, and was the board liaison for the journal. During his 18 years as the primary administrative officer of ICSD, he traveled widely on behalf of the organization.

Shortly before he passed away, Lee was named as one of three finalists for the position of President of the University of Guam. He had an early understanding of the importance of international education for the profession of social work and beyond and worked tirelessly to bring that goal to fruition.

Career Highlights

Lee spent his career as an academic social worker, starting out as a research assistant/file manager for Neil Gilbert and Harry Specht at the University of California, Berkeley while they were preparing their book, “Planning for Social Welfare: Issues, Models and Tasks,” and as a program evaluator and counselor serving children with developmental disabilities. By the time he had completed his doctorate, Lee was already an Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work at SJSU. Arriving at the time of significant primary and secondary migration of several waves of refugees from Vietnam, he came to SJSU when critical curricular decisions were being hotly debated. The School, founded on a mission of service to Spanish-speaking populations, was challenged by the newest arrivals to the area who spoke yet another language. Lee, as Chair of the Curriculum committee, navigated major curriculum changes to broaden and deepen the vision of the School and the curriculum to cross-cultural and transcultural practice in service to marginalized, oppressed and disadvantaged populations. All incoming MSW students at SJSU had a requirement to demonstrate proficiency in Spanish, including those who were Vietnamese speakers. Under Lee’s leadership, the Spanish language requirement was changed to an optional certification exam, in recognition of the language diversity of the surrounding community and state. As the first Director of the Joint Center for Human Services Research and Development at SJSU, Lee embarked on a series of projects that focused on developmentally disabled adults, Asian/Pacific Islanders, Spanish-speaking users of mental health services, and the elderly. While building his career at SJSU, he expanded his international work by consulting in Taiwan, and from 1986-1988, while on sabbatical, he served as the Dean of the School of Social Work at Tunghai University, his undergraduate alma mater. Lee embarked on a series of trips to China and Taiwan with the goal of opening student-faculty collaborations and exchanges between SJSU, the CSU and Chinese and Taiwanese educational and governmental organizations. The continuing relationships between SJSU and the collaborating universities and organizations in China and Taiwan, based on the Memorandums of Understanding signed while on those travels, remained vital and active long after his death.

Significant Achievements and Awards

Exceptional Merit Service Award, SJSU, 1984;

Outstanding Volunteer of the Year, County of Santa Clara, Junior League of San Jose, Inc., and Volunteer Center of Santa Clara County;

Distinguished Service Award, American Cancer Society, 1978 and 1982;

Listed in Who’s Who in the West and Who’s Who in America; and,

President’s Award, Tunghai University, Taiwan, 1980.

Source:National Association of Social Workers Foundation. NASW Pioneers Biography Index (https://www.naswfoundation.org/Our-Work/NASW-Social-Work-Pioneers/NASW-Social-Workers-Pioneers-Bio-Index/id/861


Lee, Peter C.Y. (1947-2004)