About the School
The mission of the School of Social Work is founded on the values of social justice and human rights that are essential to social work practice. In this perspective, the programmes of the school aim to provide future graduates with the conceptual tools and practices that will allow them to develop a critical outlook and intervene in multidisciplinary settings and in increasingly diversified and complex contexts. The School of Social Work gives central consideration to the socio-cultural, political and economic contexts in which individual, family and collective problems are rooted. This perspective is present throughout the courses and research projects of professors, as well as in the coursework and research of students, and is considered a precondition in the construction of approaches to intervention, social policy and institutional programs and community actions that are close to the everyday lives of individuals and communities. The pedagogical approach privileged by the school, centered on intervention research and analysis, is a means of articulating these diverse issues and of bringing them to the fore in teaching, research and practicum.
The school also has a mandate to prepare social workers that are capable of intervening primarily in the minority context of French language Ontario communities. In particular, the Masters and PhD programs aim to train social workers who can intervene and conduct research in the fields of health and family-childhood. Because these fields are by definition multidisciplinary and involve numerous social actors, the School trains future practitioners and researchers who are able to work with people coming from other scientific disciplines or intervention settings. In all programs, the theoretical coursework, practical training and/or research focuses on the realities that are specific to the Franco-ontarian minority context. Also, because the University of Ottawa boards with Québec and has a long tradition of welcoming students from other Canadian provinces and countries, the School offers education and training that resonates well beyond local and regional boarders and that can be applied in very diverse settings. In the context of globalization and of national and international policies that favour the mobility of workers, the School wishes to ensure that its graduates possess the knowledge and skills that will enable them to work elsewhere in Canada and in the world.
The School also considers that it is essential to offer programs that are open to the increasingly diversified socio-cultural realities tied to belief systems, values, living conditions, languages or customs. This diversity constitutes a direct call to the transformation of social intervention practices. Socio-cultural diversity requires openness to “otherness”, to different cultures, to diverse ethnic backgrounds, to gender, to sexual orientation and to various forms of disability, in order to counter the multiple manifestations of intolerance, rejection or marginalization. It also requires openness to the diversity of knowledge and social practices that are inherent to pluralism and that must be integrated in intervention, research and social policy. In this sense, diversity is a transversal theme in our programs, whether diversity relates to approaches to intervention and settings, or to changing social realities such as aging, cultural diversity, modified family models, increasing poverty and inequality, and various forms of marginalization and exclusion. Also, given the strongly feminized character of many issues facing social work, the inequality in gender relations constitutes an important framework within our programs.