In conformance with the University of Ottawa’s policy regarding inclusion and diversity, this statement of principles outlines the position of the School of Social Work on these two important issues. Indeed, the School’s mission is grounded in the values of social justice, equality and the recognition of human rights.
As defined by the University’s Human Rights Office, an inclusive campus embraces the following three key elements: “(1) it is free of barriers, harassment and discrimination; (2) it provides the opportunity for everyone to strive towards their full potential; and (3) it actively seeks out differing perspectives, experiences and knowledge and uses these unique qualities to create safe, innovative and vibrant environments.” (www.uottawa.ca/respect/en/diversity-inclusion) In keeping with this explanation, the School of Social Work seeks to create a learning environment based on respect for differences among students, teaching staff, administrative employees and the community at large. We work together to promote and implement the Code of Ethics of the Canadian Association of Social Workers, the codes of ethics entrenched in the University’s collective agreements, and the accreditation standards of the Canadian Association for Social Work Education.
The School of Social Work upholds the principles of equality with respect to people who have been historically disadvantaged in the face of social attitudes and the misguided ideologies that sustain them. Such discrimination has led to inequities in access to education and to economic, political, social and cultural empowerment. Certain groups are recognized for having experienced an especially high degree of exclusion, among them visible minority communities; those who self-identify as being gay, lesbian, bisexual, “queer,” transgender or transsexual; people with disabilities; ones who are marginalized in remote areas of the country; people of Aboriginal origin; or those who are disadvantaged due to poverty, language or age.
The School of Social Work advocates for the principles of social justice throughout the entire student trajectory – from admission to graduation – as well as for its employees and members of the local community. Moreover, the School adheres to the University of Ottawa’s policy on employment equity. All these goals call for a process based upon collaborative reflection and a shared commitment to speaking up for inclusion and diversity.
Procedure to follow if a student experiences discrimination or
witnesses an incident involving discriminatory words, behaviour or attitude
- The student will inform the professor responsible within his/her program of study, whether at the undergraduate or graduate level. The student and designated person will review the situation and explore ways to resolve it.
- The student may also request the support and/or participation of a representative from the Student Association of the School of Social Work or the Graduate Student Association of Social Work; the latter will be a member of the School’s Committee on Inclusion.
- If the incident occurs during a field placement, procedures will come into force that apply to problems occurring in practical training settings; these procedures are outlined in manuals pertaining to placements at the bachelor’s and master’s levels.
- The professor coordinator from the student’s program of study will request a meeting with the individual who allegedly displayed the discriminatory behaviour, words or attitude; he/she will outline the situation to the latter and consider various solutions.
- Should the need arise, the professor coordinator will organize a meeting between the person concerned and the student who felt subjected to discrimination or was a witness thereto. Such an encounter may involve the participation of the director of the department, if necessary.
- If such a discussion were to bring about no resolution, either the applicable collective agreement would be applied or the Policy on professional suitability (Accreditation Standards 2.4.5, 2014:9).
- It is always possible to contact the Human Rights Office of the University of Ottawa for assistance.
(Adopted at the Departmental Assembly on May 19, 2015)
Statement of Proactive Policy on Admission to the Master’s Program
The School of Social Work is guided by principles of equity with respect to people who have historically been disadvantaged by social structures and the ideologies that sustained them. Such discrimination compromised equal access to education and various avenues towards economic, political, social and cultural empowerment.
With regard to people from minority groups or those experiencing challenging life situations, the School adopts proactive processes during both the admission phase and program of study and ensures the sustained application thereof. These processes relate directly to the accreditation standards 2.4.1, 2.4.2 and 2.4.7 of the Canadian Association for Social Work Education (CASWE).
SB/M 2.4.1: The academic unit clearly states the academic and professional requirements and admission policies for its programs, including any equity provisions consistent with the mission of the school and to the mission of CASWE-ACFTS.
SB/M 2.4.2: Student recruitment efforts seek to reflect a diverse population with a particular consideration for students of various ethnic, cultural and racial and other diverse populations that may be under-represented and under-served.
SB/M 2.4.7: The academic unit provides academic advisement and support for all students regarding their program and progress and particularly where students have been recruited as a result of equity-based initiatives.
The following describes how the policy is applied:
Through its Master’s Program application review process, the School of Social Work takes into consideration people who self-identify as members of minority groups or as living through certain specified life situations, and for whom the required minimum average would normally represent a hurdle given the cohort being assessed. The School might thereby be in a position to admit one or two additional students each year beyond the admission targets established through the completion of prerequisites.
Support mechanisms are in place to ensure that the progress of these students is monitored without incidence of discrimination or stigmatization. Such supervision will be provided by the professor responsible for graduate studies who may, for example, work with students to set up a tailored program of courses and refer them to appropriate services. Assistance from peers might well form another component of available support as envisaged by the School.
(Adopted at the Departmental Assembly on February 23, 2016)