Fordham University            The Jesuit University of New York

The Langenfeld Chair

The Nicholas J. Langenfeld Chair in Social Research

The Nicholas J. Langenfeld Chair in Social Research was established at the Graduate School of Social Service of Fordham University in 1983.  The Chair was established in recognition of Father Langenfeld's contributions to social research and to assure that the Graduate School of Social Service will continue to support excellence in urban social research. The Chair honors the commitment and vision of Fr. Langenfeld, Ph.D., who was a faculty member in the Graduate School of Social Service for more than thirty years.  Fr. Langenfeld devoted his career to the study of the conditions of children and families, social development, and international social work.  He was interested in developing a knowledge base that would help professionals understand the forces that shape social and human behavior and would contribute to the formulation of responsive and effective social policies.  

Amy Horowitz, Ph.D., currently holds the Langenfeld Chair in Social Research.  Link to Dr. Horowitz's Profile >>


The Chair is devoted to urban social research, which is defined broadly as the empirical investigation of conditions that affect community life and social functioning, the systematic analysis of social policies, and the study of social interventions (practices) designed to improve social functioning and prevent the development of problems in living.  The Chair's contribution to urban social research will be to generate new knowledge and to validate existing practices and policies through scholar research and education.  Through these activities it is expected that the Langenfeld Chair will influence social policy, service development and social work practice with individuals, families and communities.


The Chair is responsible for developing and advancing an urban social research agenda with the School's faculty through the following strategies:

  • Provide leadership in the School and in the development of a critical mass of social work researchers on the faculty.

  • Contribute to the identification and recruitment of new faculty members who are committed to the School's research and educational missions.

  • Represent the School and the University locally, nationally, and internationally on issues of urban social research.

  • Teach and mentor B.S.W., M.S.W. and Ph.D. students.

  • Continually assess the scholarly and research capacity of the School related to contemporary urban issues, and make recommendations for how the School's capacity in these areas can be expanded and sustained.


Professor's Research: Not Driving Can Drive Elders to Despair

Amy Horowitz, Ph.D., began studying the elderly three decades before members of the Baby Boom generation started to become senior citizens.

"When I began in the late 1970's, there was comparatively little research on the elderly, so you could really sink your teeth into the field," said Horowitz, the Graduate School of Social Service's (GSS) new Nicholas J. Langenfeld Chair in Social Research.

Since then, Horowitz has contributed a generous amount of research to the growing field of gerontology.  She has acted as principal investigator on roughly $9 million in grant-funded studies on the sociological effects of aging, sensory loss and mental health.

It is no secret that aging can lead to myriad mental and physical impairments, from mobility issues to dementia.  Horowitz's research has largely focused on age-related macular degeneration, which leads to varying degrees of vision loss in the elderly.  One of her earlier studies revealed that vision-impaired elders show rates of depression as high as people who are acutely medically ill.

"Losing vision engenders a much different reaction than other types of physical disabilities," Horowitz said. "Because of the meanings that people attach to vision, the losing process becomes even more emotional." 

Read the rest of the article in Inside Fordham. >>

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