School of Social Work Mission Statement

Introduction to the Mission Statement

The Mission of the School of Social Work is to provide leadership for excellence in:

  • Developing, testing, and disseminating new knowledge that will have an impact on social policy and social work practice at all levels.
  • Delivering graduate and undergraduate social Work education that will prepare graduates for ethical, competent, innovative and effective social work practice.
  • Promoting and maintaining an academic environment conducive to scholarly research, peer-reviewed publication, social justice, and excellence at all levels and in all fields of social work practice.
  • Supporting a strong and vital human services community and providing generalist social work education, which is sensitive to the needs of:
    • Northwestern Ontario including the traditional lands of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation, the Robinson Superior Treaty and Treaty 3 (Thunder Bay Campus).
    • South Central Ontario including the traditional territory of the Anishinaabeg (Orillia Campus.
  • Maintaining a highly qualified faculty committed to providing the required leadership for excellence.

Statement of Principles

The School of Social Work is distinguished by:

  • A practicum education focused on training in the field.
  • A promotion of interdisciplinary as well as discipline-specific scholarly research and peer-reviewed dissemination of such research, which will further promote social work practice and social policy development at all levels and in all fields of practice.
  • A commitment to maintaining accreditation standards established by the Canadian Association for Social Work Education at the BSW and MSW levels, and by the Ontario Council of Graduate Studies at the MSW level.
  • A commitment to social equality for all groups in society, whether based on Indigenous status, age, ethnicity, gender, generational cohorts, geography, race, range of ability, religion, sexuality, language or socioeconomic class.
  • A governance structure and professional culture that bring together teaching faculty, field instructors, students, alumni, the profession in the field, the profession in the academy, and the university, as partners in the realization of the school's mission.
  • A commitment to an integrated generalist approach to social work practice, as elucidated in this document, that prepares students with a repertoire of knowledge, skills, and competence to assume a variety of roles in promoting beneficial change, growth, and justice, across six client systems - individuals, families, groups, organizations, communities, and societies.

Curriculum Statement

In accordance with this Mission, the School advocates the following, in curriculum development, to prepare students for practice:

  • The importance of understanding generalist practice and the processes of integrating knowledge, skills, research, theory, and field experiences.
  • The importance of research to all facets of social work knowledge and practice.
  • The importance of accessibility, advocacy, creativity, flexibility, life-long learning, and judicious risk-taking, as essential curriculum qualities.
  • An appreciation of diversity, and imbalances of societal power, as related to Indigenous peoples, age, ethnicity, gender, generational cohorts, geography, race, range of ability, religion, sexuality, language or socioeconomic class.
  • An ability to integrate multiple perspectives, based on these above-mentioned facets of diversity, and thereby to respond to individual, family, group, community, organizational, and societal needs.
  • An emphasis on social work practice in rural, remote, and northern environments.
  • Collaborative relationships with community service organizations and professionals.

Teaching and Learning Statement

Entry into the social work program is voluntary.  Acceptance into the program is contingent upon fulfilling the necessary entry requirements as outlined in the School's admission procedures.  Upon admission, the following principles are endorsed by the School:

  • Students assume responsibility for their learning. This responsibility is associated with the fulfillment of school, professional, and university requirements, and with the encouragement of independent study. Learning takes place free from coercion and intimidation.
  • The learning process promotes respect for all participants. Attention to the self-worth of participants underlies teaching efforts. Feedback and assessment are critical features of learning and are promoted by maintaining this respect.
  • Learning is promoted through collaboration. Participants are encouraged to cooperate and to share learning experiences. Group activities are encouraged whereby participants may assume a variety of leadership roles: advocate, enabler, facilitator, and/or mediator. Collaborative principles apply in negotiating activities, learning contracts, objectives, and priorities.
  • Critical thinking is promoted. Participants are encouraged to understand attitudes, beliefs, cultural diversities, and values. Understanding oneself and the professional use of self in conjunction with communication and relationship theories (among others), are very important to this process.
  • Self-directed learning is encouraged. Opportunities are provided for participants to assume direction over their learning. This includes empowerment to be proactive, to initiate and engage in problem-solving and research, and to appreciate how learning and a search for knowledge are life-long processes.

In accordance with these principles, the School of Social Work deems students responsible for and committed to learning; creative and critical in thinking; and capable of understanding and applying concepts and processes that are applicable to research, theories, and problem-solving.


Adopted September 26, 1997; Renewed Fall 2012; Revised May 2016, May 2019