Welcome message from Nick Coady
Greetings to all! On the occasion of the first Connections newsletter of the 2011/2012 academic year, I would like to express our appreciation to our alumni for your support of our educational mission in the Faculty of Social Work (FSW).
Although I have been with the FSW for 17 years, this is my first year of a five-year term as Dean. I would like to take this opportunity to express my commitment, which I know is shared by others within the FSW, to making the learning environment in the FSW as friendly, respectful, inclusive and lively as possible. Our FSW has a longstanding reputation as one of the outstanding social work programs in the country and we are committed to maintaining and strengthening this reputation.
I am a graduate of our MSW program (1982) and I recall that what drew me to this FSW over others was its reputation as being practice-focused (in teaching and research, and with regard to both micro and macro practice), having a strong practicum program and having a strong sense of community and cohesion. Although our FSW has grown and changed in many ways over the years, I believe these are still important strengths to build upon and of which to be proud.
We have had many important developments in the FSW since I started working here. Some that stand out for me are:
- an increased emphasis on research and scholarship
- the development of our part-time programs to respond to issues of student financial need
- the increased and intentional commitment to issues of diversity and equity pertaining to student recruitment, student experience in the program and the curriculum
- the initiation and gradual expansion of the Aboriginal Field of Study, with its focus on traditional healing
- the development of the integrated option for our post-BA programs, enabling students to better span micro and macro practice
- our move from the Waterloo campus to our current Kitchener campus
- the development of new fields of study and a part-time option for our doctoral program
Of course, change is ongoing, and there are also many exciting developments and possibilities we can look forward to. The proposed development of a BSW program on the Laurier Brantford campus in the near future represents a major change and an exciting opportunity. Another comprehensive review of the MSW curriculum over the coming year may well yield significant changes. The ongoing review of our international placement program should lead to an expansion and improvement of this important part of the MSW curriculum. Finally, a renewed and invigorated commitment to our entire field practicum program is something that I would like to place priority upon. This will involve such things as strengthening existing relationships with field agencies, building relationships with new field agencies, and strengthening the multicultural/intercultural training component of our practicum program.
Clearly, there is much to be proud of in our past and much to look forward to in our future. I would like to convey my best wishes for a productive, enjoyable, and successful year to everyone.