Happy Social Work Week! Happy Social Work Month!!

Once a year, we are invited to pause and to reflect upon our practices, the ethics of those practices, and the growth that we envision for ourselves and the Social Work profession as a whole. This is the time to be curious about our own identities within this profession. It is also a time to consider what impact we, as a collective, can have in the world. We stand in this moment, with a history to acknowledge with actionable accountability, with change making efforts aimed at the institutions we inhabit that have been built to serve colonial and discriminatory agendas, and alongside multiple and diverse communities into which we can immerse ourselves in the here and the now. Please take this moment to consider the ground you are standing upon, the vast world of lives and energies, intertwined like roots, forging narratives and shaping relationships like starry constellations.

Remember also the power of action, as each and every gesture has impact. I recall standing at the mouth of the Grand River in Ontario, where the river flowed into Lake Erie. And elder took some tobacco to the edge of the river, and released it into the water. He reminded us that the water flowed into the lake, which flowed into an ocean, which then flowed in and out of many, many waterways. That small pinch of tobacco had become part of the water systems of the world, whose reach, therefore, had become wide and profound. Our actions, as well, even the smallest of the small, can reach far. Let’s make sure that our every gesture is energized by respect, love, commitment, and, above all, a humility that can allow us to interrogate those very gestures in the name of always doing better.

On behalf of the School of Social Work, and With deep appreciation,

Trish Van Katwyk, Associate Professor and Director, School of Social Work

Advanced Field Instructor Training event

The annual Advanced Field Instructors Training, organized by the field education teams of the School of Social Work, Renison University College and Faculty of Social Work, Wilfrid Laurier University was held on March 6,2024, on the theme “Neurodiversity in Field Education”.

multi-coloured hands holding hearts

Presentation video link  Passcode: #qdU&4GC

The panel of speakers included Meg Gibson, Brianna Urquhart and Hannah Monroe.  

Meg Gibson is an associate professor at Renison University College, University of Waterloo and a field instructor. Her current research explores several areas: the perspectives of Autistic people on "eloping" or departing suddenly from places; the ways in which different people understand and use "neurodiversity"; and the experiences of diverse parents in meeting the care and work responsibilities in their households -- and how policy can best support them.

Brianna Urquhart is a neurodivergent Registered Social Worker and researcher who recently graduated from her MSW. She currently works in private practice and currently involved in research projects examining care work, academic accommodations for women with ADHD, and neurodiversity.

Hannah Monroe is passionate about neurodiversity and supporting autistic people. She has an MSW and an MA in Critical Sociology. Hannah is currently a co-facilitator for Good Company, a group for autistic women and non-binary people, and Wildflowers, a new group she co-developed and co-facilitates for autistic girls and non-binary teens.

Online MSW Information Session

Online MSW Information Session - was held on Tuesday October 24, 2023, 12.00-1.00pm EST.

A zoom link will be sent to registered participants only: Register here

Congratulations to School of Social Work alumni Veen Wong and Rebekah Churchyard

The School of Social Work extends congratulations to Veen Wong and Rebekah Churchyard, recipients of Renison's Young Alumni Awards. The Young Alumni Award recognizes recent graduates of Renison University College who, having graduated from academic programs and/or Community and Professional Education (CAPE) programs or courses administered by the College within the past 10 years, or having lived in residence at the College for at least two terms within the past ten years, have made significant contributions to their field, either through academic achievement or service to the community.

Rebekah Churchyard completed her BSW in 2014, including a BSW practicum at the Working Centre (Field Instructor, Dori Ferr) in downtown Kitchener. She went on to complete a MSW, specializing in gerontology at the University of Toronto. Recently, Rebekah realized her longtime dream of establishing a day program for seniors rooted in agriculture. In April 2021, she founded Green Care Farms which is a social enterprise providing an agricultural program that addresses social care needs for people with dementia by hosting a day program on a farm. Their mission is to provide outdoor programs on farms for people with dementia to have responsibilities, purpose and belonging. Their vision is a green care farm for people with dementia in every community. In 2014, she founded an international organization focused on the growing global concern of dementia called World Young Leaders in Dementia. Rebekah has generously offered to support social work education at Renison by offering practicum opportunities for BSW and MSW students. Thank you and congratulations, Rebekah!

Veen Wong graduated from the MSW program at Renison University College in 2020 and is currently pursuing her PhD with the School of Public Health Sciences at the University of Waterloo. Veen has distinguished herself in both areas of service to her community and through her academic achievements. Veen demonstrated a keen interest in pursuing a field practicum with the Knowledge Development and Exchange Hub (KDE Hub), to expand her learning in the areas of mental health promotion and knowledge mobilization. In this role she worked with both KDE Hub’s team and community partners to advance project goals and strategic mission, while carving the way forward for the KDE Hub’s student field internship program too. Veen’s contributions as a Graduate Student Representative on Academic Council, as a MSW Representative on SSW Search Committees, and the MSW Representative on the Practicum Advisory Committee are only a few examples of the ways she went above and beyond in supporting and her fellow graduate students and the SSW. Well-deserved, Veen! Congratuations!

MSW Students, Sunita Lad and Ashley Doyle Co-write article with Dr. Susan Cadell and Dr. Kathy Kortes-Miller

Professor Susan Cadell, faculty, School of Social Work, Renison University College, and her co-investigator, Kathy Kortes-Miller, have been published in The Conversation, Canada. It is co-written with Sunita Lad and Ashley Doyle, current MSW Students at Renison.

People should be allowed to visit, say goodbye to those who are dying during COVID-19

Celebrating our MSW's 10th Anniversary

pink magnolia blossom

A magnolia tree was planted to honour the MSW program, when the first class graduated.  Magnolia trees have been in existence for millions of years, symbolising resilience, peace, health, and compassion.

The Master of Social Work program at the School of Social Work at Renison University College is celebrating its 10th anniversary!

We will mark this year by inspiring ongoing critical reflection about the next 10 years for Social Work, education, and wellbeing. We have invited a series of speakers and workshop facilitators to support virtual community conversations that will consider these questions: 

  1. What will be happening to/in social work and health/wellness practice?  
  2. How will our social work education be transforming?
  3. What will be happening in our society that we want to be able to respond well to?
  4. What will be happening to our definitions of health and wellbeing?

We are inviting leading voices to facilitate these reflections through presentations, workshops, and guided dialogue.