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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Spotlight: Renison Alum Bernard Akuoko

Continuing our series for Black History Month, we spotlight Bernard Akuoko, an alum of Renison’s Master of Social Work (MSW) program. Bernard is a relatively recent graduate of the MSW program. He finished in 2022.

Today, we have an incredible story to share about Renison Alum Msenwa Mweneake.  

Msenwa grew up in the Democratic Republic of Congo until 1996 when, at age 15, war broke out around him. Msenwa witnessed unimaginable brutality. Through perseverance and determination, and after years as a refugee, he arrived in Canada in 2011 eager to practice Social Work. At the time, Renison had just launched its Master of Social Work (MSW) program and Msenwa became part of the first cohort. The focus on health with a diversity and inclusion lens was a program that he saw himself in. He has practiced social work in Africa and Canada as a clinical social worker in mental health and child welfare, and is particularly interested in how policies affect macro social work, migration, diversity, equity and inclusion.

Today, we are happy to spotlight alum Michelle Williams.  

In 2017, Michelle was a mature student returning to academia in her 40s. After leaving Toronto and moving to Brant County with her husband and two children, she wanted to make a career change and the flexible MSW program was just what Michelle was looking for. She was already familiar with Renison, having completed a BSW in 2016 and making strong connections with faculty and staff. For Michelle, the connection with the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences (recently changed to Faculty of Health), and the strong community focus were also part of the appeal. 

On Thursday, January 11, 2024, the St. Bede Chapel at Renison was filled with community members, students, and faculty. This time not for a service, but for a theatre performance. With the events happening in Gaza, Niomi Cherney from Independent Jewish Voices (IJV) of Waterloo Region, reached out to organize an event to promote dialogue and challenge structures of oppression. IJV is a grassroots organization grounded in Jewish tradition that opposes all forms of racism and advocates for justice and peace for all in Israel-Palestine. Once connected with Renison, Niomi, along with Renison Chaplain Scott McLeod, and Culture and Language Studies professors Amir Al-Azraki and Vinh Nguyen, began crafting the vignette that would become the centre of the interactive theatre event.  

On behalf of Renison University College and Renison Association of Academic Staff (RAAS) and RAAS, Dr. Wendy Fletcher, President of Renison and Dr. Rob Case, President of RAAS, are pleased to announce that the new collective agreement, tentatively reached on December 19, 2023, has now been ratified. 

Renison University College invites applications for the position of President and Vice-Chancellor. Reporting to the Board of Governors and working in collaboration with Renison’s community of faculty, staff, and students, the President will lead the College in pursuing even greater opportunities grounded in academic excellence, student success, community engagement, and financial sustainability.  As the Chief Executive Officer of Renison, the President will successfully manage the infrastructure of human, educational, financial, and physical resources required to develop and deliver the College’s programming and student residence.

From all of us at Renison, we wish you and your loved ones a very Happy Holiday season!

Please note: Renison will be closed starting at noon on December 21, 2023, and the administrative offices will re-open on Thursday, January 4, 2024. Residence will re-open on Sunday, January 7 at 12:00pm to residents. Wishing you a restful break!

Renison University College installed Jodey Porter as its 10th Chancellor on Wednesday, November 29, 2023 in the College’s Atrium with almost 150 well-wishers attending in person and online.

Jodey brings to her new role a long and esteemed career in social justice and advocacy work, having served as Assistant Deputy Minister of Health for the Province of Ontario and three terms as Ontario Human Rights Commissioner. She was also a staff member at the United Nations Human Rights Commission; Executive Director of the Canadian Diabetes Association; and Director of Development for the Canadian National Institute for the Blind.

In mid-October our president Wendy Fletcher was privileged to participate in a distinguished visitors program in Seoul supported by the Korea Foundation. The Korea Foundation supports work around the globe in Korean language and culture studies. This meeting lasted for 5 days, and provided the opportunity for 12 academic leaders from around the globe representing universities with strong Korean studies programs to meet and network. The group was hosted for conversations with all organizations in Seoul which lead the higher education sector.