Statement of Sorrow and Support  

The School of Social Work would like to express our deep sorrow for the violence in Atlanta. This is not an isolated incident. Instead, it is a horrific reflection of the anti-Asian racism that has touched so many communities, including our university community in Waterloo and many others across Canada.

Although sex work is real work, the media is using this to overshadow the fact that the victims were predominantly Asian women. The violence occurs at the intersection of racism, misogyny, and white supremacy. We are reminded once again about how hard we must work, and how this work must be done together.

If you would like to contribute in some way to the solidarity that is being called for at this time, there are places to go. One agency in Toronto, for example, is Butterfly:

We are being called to action, let's each and every one of us respond with action:

Dr. Kathy Hogart talks about the XChanges Conference 

Kathy Hogarth, Associate Professor in the School of Social Work was featured this week on the CBC-KW Morning Radio Show, hosted by Craig Norris. She talks about the XChanges conference, which took place March 15-16, and the need for action against racism in academic spaces. Listen to the interview on the CBC website

Professor Susan Cadell discusses 'Coping with loss during the coronavirus pandemic'

Susan Cadell, Professor, School of Social Work, Renison University College, affiliated with University of Waterloo, discusses Coping with loss: We need a national strategy to address grief beyond the coronavirus pandemic, published in The Conversation on February 18, 2021

Dr. Kathy Hogarth was featured in an article this week discussing the Waterloo Regional Police Services use-of-force statistics

Kathy Hogarth a faculty member in Renison's School of Social Work, was featured in an article this week discussing the Waterloo Regional Police Services use-of-force statistics,which were recently released. Read the article, Time for an uncomfortable police conversation in Waterloo Region and beyond on the Waterloo Chronicle website

Dr. Kathy Hogarth is interviewed by media outlets to discuss racism and allyship in Canada

Kathy Hogarth, a faculty member in Renison's School of Social Work, was featured in an article on Kitchener Today earlier this week, discussing local instances of racism. Later in the week, Kathy was also featured in a Global news article to discuss the Premier's comments on racism in Canada, and on Global radio in London to discuss the role of social media in creating momentum to dismantle systemic racism.

Kathy has also been interviewed by TVO, discussing 'What does it mean to be an ally?'.

  • Read the Kitchener Today article HERE
  • Read the Global article HERE
  • Listen to the radio interview HERE
  • Additional Resources: Discomfort is part of change...
  • TVO interview: What does it mean to be an ally? Watch the interview HERE 

Statement of Solidarity and Reaffirmation of Commitment to Anti-Racism, June 2, 2020

The School of Social Work at Renison University College (affiliated with University of Waterloo) stands in solidarity with racialized communities and reaffirms its commitment to anti-racism in response to the recent murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police and the police involved death of Regis Korchinski-Paquet in Toronto, as well as the other numerous incidents of racial violence that have led to the deaths of Black, Indigenous, and people of colour (BIPOC) (Ahmaud Arbrey, Breonna Taylor, Jason Collins, Eishia Hudson, D’Andre Campbell, Machuar Madut, among others). We recognize that the deaths of George Floyd and Regis Korchinski-Paquet are not singular events, but rather are the outcome of institutionalized racism and anti-Black racism. These deaths are the outcome of white supremacist violence enacted by social institutions.

Read the entire statement...

Pride Month: An Open Letter to Director Notten and the Trustees for the Waterloo Catholic District School Board

Faculty and staff of Renison University College’s School of Social Work (affiliated with University of Waterloo) and staff of the campus Ministry and Shatitsirótha’ Waterloo Indigenous Student Centre at St. Paul’s University College are writing in response to your decision to not fly the Pride Flag to mark Pride month.

Read the full letter HERE

Grief in the time of COVID-19

image of mosaic pathGrief can come in waves

This piece is a collective effort by an international group of scholars and practitioners in the International Work Group on Death, Dying and Bereavement. Our Public Health sub-group, Lauren Breen of Australia, Daisuke Kawashima of Japan, David Roth of Germany, Amy Chow of Hong Kong, Mary Ellen Macdonald, Karima Joy and Susan Cadell, all of Canada, recently published a paper on grief literacy. With the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been thinking a grSusan Cadelleat deal about grief in this context. With the advent of COVID-19, we have co-written this piece about grief in the pandemic.

Read more

National Resource: Grief, Dying and Death during a Pandemic

Social Work in the age of COVID-19

How Renison BSW alumna Rachael Fowler supports patients in a long term care home.

“If I wasn’t here, I would be wishing I could be”

Rachael Fowler graduated from Renison’s Bachelor of Social Work program just 11 months ago, but she is already a veteran of working through a pandemic. Fowler is a social worker in a long-term care home in London; one of the highest risk fields to be in during the current COVID-19 outbreak.

Read more

Congratulations Colleen McMillan!

Colleen McMillan,  a faculty member in Renison's School of Social Work, is this year's winner of Waterloo's Online Instructor Award. She is the instructor for Social Work Practice In Mental Health  - SWK 609R S2019. Colleen aims to teach every student as if they are the only student in the class by "fostering a respectful relationship with each student; what they hope to achieve during the term, their unique interests and relationship to the content, and how they envision using the content in their career".

Statement of Solidarity and Support for the Wet'suwet'en Peoples of the Wet'suwet'en Nation

Déclaration de solidarité et d'appui aux Peuples Wet'suwet'en de la Nation Wet'suwet'en

le 24 février 2020 - CASWE-ACFTS offre sa solidarité et son appui aux Peuples Wet'suwet'en de la Nation Wet'suwet'en. Dans l’esprit de l’Engagement envers le changement, le conseil d’administration réitère la Déclaration des Nations Unies sur les Droits des Peuples Autochtones qui souligne le droit à l’autodétermination et le droit inhérent des Nations Autochtones à déterminer et contrôler le développement de leurs terres selon leurs besoins et leurs intérêts.

Nous demandons au Gouvernement du Canada de travailler et discuter pacifiquement avec la Nation Wet'suwet'en et de ne pas utiliser la force contre les Peuples Wet'suwet'en et leurs sympathisants. Nous reconnaissons les différentes positions des Peuples Wet'suwet'en au sein de leur Nation et respectons leur droit à s’organiser entre eux pour déterminer leurs choix. En conformité avec notre engagement envers la justice sociale, nous encourageons tous les Canadiens et Canadiennes à s’éduquer sur les conflits historiques et contemporains entre le Canada et les Nations Autochtones, afin de participer à la responsabilité partagée qu’est la transformation de notre réalité coloniale.

Statement of Solidarity and Support for the Wet'suwet'en Peoples of the Wet'suwet'en Nation

February 24, 2020 - CASWE-ACFTS offers solidarity and support for the Wet'suwet'en Peoples of the Wet'suwet'en Nation. In the spirit of the Commitment to Change the Board of Directors affirms the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples that emphasizes the right to self determination and the inherent right of Indigenous nations to determine and control the development of their lands in accordance with their own needs and interests.

We call upon the Government of Canada to work peacefully in dialogue with the Wet'suwet'en Nation and that no force be used against the Wet'suwet'en Peoples and their supporters. We acknowledge that there are different positions amongst Wet'suwet'en Peoples within their Nation and respect their right to organize themselves to determine their choices. As part of our commitment to social justice, we encourage all Canadians to become familiar with the historical and contemporary conflicts between Canada and Indigenous nations to work to transform our colonial reality, as a shared responsibility.


MSW Students in the News

Alana Rabby Dowling is a busy mom of 4 as well as a social worker in Saskatoon, working in intimate partner violence outreach. Alana is a survivor of intimate partner violence and is passionate about using her experiences to help others. When Alana is not parenting or working (or studying her MSW courses) she enjoys all things involving art and cats.

Opinion: Education a proactive answer to Saskatchewan's rates of gendered violence

Natalie Compagna is a graduate student in the Masters of Social Work program at Renison University College. She completed a Bachelor of Social Work degree from Dalhousie University. Natalie has previous experience working in Child Protection with the Ministry of Children and Family Development, facilitating community information sessions, and co-facilitates a Gender Sexuality Alliance at the local High School. She is from the Maritimes, but currently lives in Northern British Columbia with her husband and ten year old twins.

GUEST VIEW: Pride Society incorporation equals growth for Smithers

Amanda Lougheed lives in Victoria, BC and is currently working with families in outreach and running a parenting program. She has an interest in mental health and addictions and a passion for compassionate care. She hopes one day to be working in mental health outreach services.

Comment: Addiction is a health crisis, not an eyesore

Cathy Bracken has a BSW from the University of Windsor and has been working in the field of Social work now for almost 27 years. The first ten years of her career was spent as a hospital social worker and the remaining time has been in child welfare. She considers herself to have a special knowledge base and interest in mental heath social work. She is excited to see where the MSW will take her in the future.  

Guest column: The fact is: supervised consumption sites save lives

Elissa Gazel is in her first year of the part time MSW program. She completed her BSW at Memorial University in 2017. She currently reside in Ottawa, and works as an addictions counsellor in a local high school. She chose to write an op-ed titled, Bring back the advocate, due to years of working in group homes, and seeing first had the great work the child advocate has done for children, but also the harm that occurs when untrained, unprepared staff are left to work with vulnerable children. 

Through writing this op-ed, she had the opportunity to meet with her local NDP MPP Joel Harden and talk to him about child welfare policy. They are having ongoing discussions around creating a town hall with local stakeholders and parents to discuss their concerns. 

Cynthia Benoit is a the proud mom of two children.  She is currently enrolled as a Master of Social Work student at Rension University College and completed her BSW through the University of Manitoba.  Cynthia works as Case Management Social Worker for Miawpukek First Nation.  In her spare time she enjoys being a hockey mom and leads and plays the piano for a choral group. Cynthia has been invited to speak with Honourable Elvis Loveless, Member of the House Assembly for Fortune Bay Cape La Hune, Newfoundland, in response to her letter that outlined the following key recommendations:

  • Income inequality must be a priority for the Newfoundland Labrador government as it has key implications for all health policy considerations given the demographics of our population.
  • Increasing the minimum wage rates to a fair wage comparable to a living wage, as in other provinces, would see immediate benefits for the health and wellbeing of low-income earners.
  • Increasing the minimum wage will give greater spending power to low-income earners injecting money directly back into our local economy.
  • Invest funding for diversification in rural areas as our province and people are creative in the development of enterprises.
  • Always consider the social determinants of health as you make policy decisions.

Grief in the Skin

Susan Cadell, Professor, School of Social Work, received a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Insight Development Grant in 2017 for a project entitled Memorial Tattoos: Inking the Bond. She has done numerous presentations about the research, including in Montreal during Projection Week ( This article from La Presse follows up on that presentation. It is entitled Tattoos: Grief in the Skin.

World Social Work Day!

For the first time ever, CASW hosted a reception on Parliament Hill to celebrate this amazing profession alongside Senator Wanda Thomas Bernard, Senator Hartling and Senator Judith G. Seidman… and Renison was there! Susan Cadell, President of CASWE and Kathy Hogarth, Vice President of CASWE.

senator wanda thomas bernard, senator hartling, senator judith seidman, and susan cadell president of C.A.S.W.E. and Kathy Hogarth, vice-president of C.A.S.W.E.

#RealPeopleRealImpact #NationalSocialWorkMonth

Renison’s MSW Student in the News!

Michelle Kakar, one of our MSW students, has written her second opinion editorial this academic year in the Kitchener/Waterloo Record:

Michelle Kakar is expected to earn her MSW degree this Fall 2019. She completed her undergraduate degree at Wilfrid Laurier University graduating with an Honours BA in sociology and psychology. She then pursued her Bachelor of Social Work at Renison, graduating in 2017. Michelle is passionate about working with children and adolescents, particularly in the field of health. Her interest in health-focused social work led her to pursuing her MSW in hopes of expanding on holistic approaches in health, with particular interest in mental health intersecting with race, ethnicity, and culture.

Renison Assistant Professor Meg Gibson comments on the autism debate in Ontario: Op-Ed in the Waterloo Record

Debates about Ontario's autism strategy have been centre stage since Social Services Minister Lisa MacLeod's Feb. 6 announcement of a new funding allocation. The new allocation introduces direct funding for families to purchase therapies, along with income testing and annual and lifetime maximums. Tempers have flared and lines have been drawn, between parents and autism service organizations who argue that new funding maximums fall short of treatment costs, and Conservative MPPs who state the new allocation will address lengthy wait lists...

Read the full article here

Renison Associate Professor Trish Van Katwyk empowers young people to explore resilience through collaborative art making

In a project that is described by a group leader as “empowering,” Renison Associate Professor Trish Van Katwyk recently published a study that explores the way that youth see themselves in the term ‘resilience.’

Resilience Beyond Risk: Youth Re-defining Resilience Through Collective Art-Making,” used art-making and conversation to explore the ways in which labels that are often applied to young people are understood by young people themselves. The research shows that youth want to define these terms for themselves, to be part of the conversation, and for their perspectives to be seen and heard.   

Read the full article here

 Assistant Professor, Edwin Ng - in the news:

Assistant Professor Edwin Ng, School of Social Work, Renison University College, and his colleague, Carles Munater, Professor Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto, have published an article in promoting women in government.  Congratulations, Edwin and Carles.

Op-Ed in the Kitchener/Waterloo Record

Our MSW Field Education Coordinator, Dori Ferr has written a very thought-provoking Op-Ed in the Kitchener/Waterloo Record. Thank you Dori, for your brave words!

AN OPEN LETTER TO DOUG FORD from Ontario Schools of Social Work

To read the complete letter, please click the link:

Please 'pause, consult and reconsider' the closure of the Child Advocacy Office 


Educational institutions often struggle to identify what is the best pedagogical approach to engaging students with academic integrity (AI) content. Developed as part of university-wide research study on academic integrity, Integrity Matters app aims to enhance student academic integrity knowledge and understanding using an innovative pedagogical approach.

Dr. Alice Schmidt Hanbidge, IELA award winner imageproject principal researcher and faculty in the School of Social Work and Tony Tin, project technical lead and Renison’s Librarian, accepted an international academic e-learning award from the International E-Learning Association (IELA). The AI research team developed Integrity Matters, the Foundations for Academic Success App, to introduce the tenets of academic integrity to students for any time, anywhere learning in a meaningful way.

Integrity Matters tri-lingual (English, French, Chinese) mobile app can be readily used and adapted worldwide across post-secondary colleges and universities. Best strategies, from over 1,000 undergraduate student users, for learning this information with mobile technology (m-learning) were explored. Six lessons include diverse student life scenarios, animated videos, interactive exercises and games. Upon successful completion of the lessons and quiz, students are awarded an e-certificate and a digital badge.

Tony and Alice - award winners

To download the free Integrity Matters, Creative Commons 4.0 Licensed app, follow one of the links below.

Apple iTunes

Google Play Store download

Dr. Alice Schmidt Hanbidge, MSW, RSW, PhD is an Associate Professor in the School of Social Work, Renison University College.  Email:

Tony Tin, MA, MLS is Director, Library and Information Services at Renison University College.          Email:

Renison’s MSW Students in the News!

Renison's MSW students make the news with the publication of their Opinion pieces in national and international media. The Opinion pieces were developed as a component of their completion of the MSW degree, and more specifically as a course assignment for SWK 600R –Diversity and Health. Congratulations everyone - impressive advocacy work!

Kristen Veinott has been working in the community as a social worker in Halifax, Nova Scotia for three years, and several years in human services previously. She recently left her position to pursue her Master of Social Work at Renison University College, and soon after was offered a new opportunity. While balancing full time work and part time online studies, Kristen creates space for self-care through yoga and spin classes and time with her dog (a Boxer) in nature.

Battling Bedbugs an issue for Government

Pearl Bocol is a registered social worker with the British Columbia College of Social Workers. She is currently working for the Ministry of Children and Family Development as a Child Protection worker in BC. In her spare time, she enjoys dancing and trains in all forms of dance. While navigating distance MSW education at Renison University College, she tries to balance her serious online presence by flooding her social media account with her sister’s cat. 

Dark Side of the OFW Fairy Tale

Jacquie Marshall is a Master of Social Work student at Rension University College. She earned a Bachelor of Social Work degree from Renison University College and a Bachelor of Criminology from the University of Toronto and the University of Liverpool. She has worked in the private sector and not for profit sector and is a committed community volunteer. Her interests include social justice in mental health and addictions, trauma and intimate partner violence. She believes in the power of human connection as the basis for social change and hopes that tolerance, freedom, kindness and compassion will lead the way.

The Fruit Machine is Yet Another Atrocity in our Country's Closet

Michelle Kakar is a Master of Social Work student at Renison University College. She completed her undergraduate degree at Wilfrid Laurier University graduating with an Honours BA in sociology and psychology. She then pursued her Bachelor of Social Work at Renison, graduating in 2017. Michelle is passionate about working with children and adolescents, particularly in the field of health. Her interest in health focussed social work led her to pursuing her MSW in hopes of expanding on holistic approaches in health, with particular interest in mental health intersecting with race, ethnicity, and culture. She hopes to utilize her knowledge and experience to break the stigma, and support those experiencing mental health issues within her own Afghan community. 

The Interim Sex Ed Curriculum is a Diversity in Health Issue

Jessica Collins, RSW, works as an addictions counsellor while also studying part-time at Renison University College (UW) in the Masters of Social Work program. In her job, Jessica works at in-patient rehabilitation programs supporting individuals in their recovery journey. In the past, Jessica also gained experience providing street outreach and harm reduction. Prior to attending Renison, Jessica obtained a Diploma in Mental Health and Addictions at Canadore College and a Bachelor of Social Work at King’s University College (UWO).

Time to put a face to whom addiction impacts

Sarah Carroll is a Master of Social Work student at Renison University College.  She obtained a Bachelor of Social Work degree from King's University College and a Business diploma from Fanshawe College.  Sarah is passionate about supporting survivors of trauma and their families in navigating the complexities of the health care system.  She has special interest in working alongside individuals within the rehabilitation phase of recovery and enjoys the multidisciplinary approach to care.  She was recently married and now that she's no longer wedding planning she's has been enjoying cooking with her husband and taking trail walks with their dog, Bella.  

Ontario Migrant Workers Face Health Disparities

Kimberly Gariepy is a Master of Social Work student at Renison University College.  She earned her Bachelor of Arts-Advanced Major from Mount St. Vincent University in 2008. She earned her Bachelor of Social Work degree from Dalhousie University in 2010. In November 2018 she will be graduating with her Addiction Studies Certificate from McMaster University.  For the past almost 8 years she has worked as a Social Worker for Mi'kmaw Family and Children Services of Nova Scotia which supports Indigenous families living in Nova Scotia.  Kim is passionate about substance abuse, program development, Indigenous communities in Canada, and working with children. 

Substance Abuse Treatment Needs Flexibility

Rebecca Withers works as a social worker on the in-patient psychiatry unit at the Powell River General Hospital. After receiving her BSW from the University of Calgary in 2002, Rebecca has spent the majority of her 16-year career working in Alberta. However, she and her husband recently moved back to the West Coast of BC to be closer to family. She is the mother of two children and a fierce advocate regarding homelessness and housing issues. In her spare time (of which there is very little now that she has started the part-time MSW program!), Rebecca enjoys hiking, mountain biking, and gardening. 

Use Privilege to Create Change in Powell River

Karis Mitchell is a counselor with Emergency Medical Care in Mental Health and Addictions. She holds a Bachelor of Arts with a double major in sociology and gerontology and a Bachelor of Social Work from Dalhousie University. She is currently pursuing a Master of Social Work with the University of Waterloo. In a previous role at a Long-Term Care Facility, Karis identified gaps in services related to psychosocial needs of residents with Dementia. Karis was instrumental in developing and executing training sessions to educate front line staff on best practice approaches to their daily interactions with residents. The training aimed to increase competence and consciousness of psychosocial needs for residents with Dementia and deliver high-quality care. Karis’ passion working with seniors has driven her to focus on policies and education in Dementia Care and interaction with families and caregivers of loved ones affected by a Dementia Diagnosis.

Nova Scotia Needs to Fund More Dementia Training in Long-Term Care Facilities