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Wilfrid Laurier University Leaf
December 8, 2016
Canadian Excellence

Valuing Diversity

In order to ensure that the profession of social work serves more effectively the expanding range of specific needs, problems and aspirations that arise from growing social diversity in Canadian society, the Faculty of Social Work's (FSW) staff, faculty and students have been working together to understand and address forms of oppression and equity.   Although challenging in all its complexity, the FSW has demonstrated their commitment to promote and prioritize equity and diversity issues on many levels.  Some of the activities to date have included:

The International Practicum Placement - The international practicum was developed by the Faculty of Social Work in the early 90's as an innovative approach to providing students and Faculty with an opportunity to advance their knowledge and theory of social work in an international context, while encouraging the sharing of ideas among social work students, schools and practitioners around the world.

The Multi-Cultural Project - Beginning in 1990, this project has offered students the opportunity for a culturally diversified field practice experience.  A series of bi-monthly workshops on selected issues accompany the requirement for an equivalent of one day a week of multicultural practice experience with individuals, groups and organizations.

The Equity Committee - This committee had its beginnings in the early 1990's and was later established in 1999 as a standing committee of Divisional Council.   The Equity Committee is a forum in which all faculty and students can raise issues of concern, identify on an ongoing basis areas where issues of equity have been inadequately addressed, report on specific equity issues and make recommendations to the Dean, Divisional Council or any of its Standing Committees.  The equity committee provides educational workshops, facilitates discussion forums, supports student social justice concerns and is involved in social action.

The  Equity Forum  - Since 2000, an annual equity conference has been organized to launch the academic year each September.  Students, staff, faculty and community members come together to critically examine equity and social justice issues with the goal of raising awareness and examining practice implications.

Enhanced faculty diversity and research related to issues of oppression and social justice. For more information about the research interests of the FSW faculty visit the faculty/staff listing on our website.

Diversity in the Practica - The FSW Practicum Office, in partnership with a large network of mainstream and specialized social service organizations throughout central and southwestern Ontario are continuously developing practice learning opportunities that respond to issues of diversity, marginalisation and oppression. The MSW Practicum Planning and Evaluation document (completed by every student and her/his instructor) details the expectation that all placements present opportunities to work with these issues and with diverse populations.

SK507 Diversity, Marginalisation and Oppression - the Faculty of Social Work introduced this course in the MSW curriculum beginning September 2003.  As a core course, SK507 is taken by all students in the first term, it provides an overall introduction to the concepts of diversity, marginalisation and oppression which will be incorporated throughout the program.

It is a priority of the Faculty of Social Work  to encourage applicants who are committed to equity and social justice issues and who may also reflect the diversity of our community.  We believe that this will enrich the educational climate of the entire program of graduate studies.   To this end, we are asking you to provide information pertaining to personal identity and professional experience with diverse populations.  There are two reasons for gathering this information:

1. Commitment to Equity and Social Justice Issues

Applicants are encouraged to include in the submission of their personal statement, aspects of their personal and/or professional experiences, which facilitate their understanding of issues facing diverse populations.  Experience working with diverse populations is considered in the admission process.

2. Self-Identification

We are collecting information on diversity through a process of self-identification. This information is reported to the Canadian Association of Schools of Social Work for accreditation purposes.  The information collected is a means to understand the make up of our student body, to better assist with planning, recruiting and the identification of equity issues.  This information is not used for admission decisions and will be removed from the file during the reading and decision making process.