The School of Social Work is a distinct unit within the Faculty of Human and Social Development at the University of Victoria. The School was established in 1974 and the first students were admitted to the BSW program in 1976. Initially, the School had a rural, generalist focus, responding to the need for access to social work education in areas outside of urban centres.
In keeping with its rural focus, the School was the first in Canada to develop a distance delivery model that allowed students residing outside of urban centres in Canada to complete a BSW degree. Our distance education program has evolved from a print-based delivery through to the current online course management systems. These online course management systems involve both synchronous and asynchronous learning activities that promote interaction among and between students and between students and instructors. The synchronous and asynchronous learning activities are integrated into both the BSW and MSW programs creating access to students across Canada .
The School has a long history of integrating Canadian Indigenous concepts and theories into the social work curriculum. Within this theoretical and practice framework, the School continues its commitment to incorporating Indigenous-centred content at both the undergraduate and graduate levels and to promoting socially just social work practice.
Milestones in the School’s history include:
1986 - first delivery of a decentralized BSW program to Canadian Indigenous students living in Indigenous communities on Vancouver Island
1991 – first cohort of BSW graduates admitted to multidisciplinary graduate program with a social work concentration (developed with partner Schools in the Faculty of Human and Social Development)
1999 - introduction of BSW Child Welfare Specialization
2000 -2001 launch of First Nations Specialization BSW (now named Indigenous Specialization) and First Nations Child Welfare Specialization (Indigenous Child Welfare Specialization)
2001 – School takes sole responsibility for the MSW program after changes to the Multidisciplinary graduate program
2008 - introduction of the MSW Indigenous Specialization
2010 – First cohort of students with a degree other than social work admitted to a 2 year MSW Foundation program
2013 – appointment of Kundoqk (Dr. Jacquie Green) from the Haisla First Nation as Director of the School of Social Work. A national milestone as the first Indigenous person serving as the director of a post-secondary social work program in Canada.
Source: information supplied by Patricia MacKenzie. Also see website.