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News from the CASWE-ACFTS Board of Directors

Please find as follows key updates from the Board of Directors

1.  Student Motion A from the 2015 AGM and the Educational Policy Committee The Board wishes to clarify  that the first student committee motion passed at the 2015 AGM recommends  a mandatory Indigenous social work course as  a component of BSW and MSW social work educational programs. The motion that was passed is as follows: As part of a review of accreditation standards, the Student Committee moves that the Educational Policy Committee advocates for the inclusion of a mandatory Indigenous Social Work course for students within the undergraduate and graduate foundational levels. Until this review is complete, and in light of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report, we strongly urge individual schools to encourage Social Work students to take an Indigenous Social Work course within their program, as it is vital to ethical education and practice. The Educational Policy Committee (EPC) is following up on this motion and will report back to members with recommendations. The ‘review’ that is referred to in the motion is the Education Policy and Accreditation 2019 review process which was approved by the Board of Directors in February of 2015 and presented to member at the AGM in May of 2015.  This review process includes an extensive consultation process with members and key stakeholders; it is available online at: https://caswe-acfts.ca/educational-policy-committee/. If you are interested in the work of the EPC, please contact the Co-Chairs, Carolyn Campbell and Hélène Albert directly (Carolyn.Campbell@Dal.Ca and helene.albert@UMoncton.ca).

2.  Student Motion B from the 2015 AGM and establishment of a working group   The Board has established a working group further to the second student committee motion passed at the 2015 AGM: It is moved that faculty and student members critically examine the use of potentially oppressive language such as “patient’’, “client’’,  “case manager” and possessive language such as “my client’’. We further encourage the use of terminology that is reflective and reflexive of the existing power imbalance between service providers and the individuals they work with, thus adhering to social work values of inherent dignity and worth of persons. We further move that the Board of Directors form a working group. This group will be tasked with the purpose of exploring the impact of oppressive language and to develop and provide recommendations and requirements that promote anti-oppressive and inclusive language in accredited CASWE-ACFTS schools. Should members be interested in the work of this group, please contact John Flynn or Shelly Johnson, Board members of the working group (shelly.johnson@ubc.ca, jflyn033@uottawa.ca).

3. Intersectoral Meetings Ongoing meetings between representatives from the Canadian Association of Social Workers, the Canadian Council of Social Work Regulation and the CASWE-ACFTS have been taking place. An Intersectoral Committee is being re-established for the purpose of promoting communication, connection and collaboration among the three sectors (education, professional association and regulation) and to strengthen the social work profession in Canada. Discussions  have focused on revising the Committee’s terms of reference as well as identifying potential areas for joint initiatives and activities.

4. Board Governance  The Board has been working on  strengthening  the Association’s  Governance policies and procedures. Activities include  board development sessions with a governance expert. In addition, a new  governance manual is being drafted.   At its November meeting, the Board approved new Board policies in the areas of Code of Conduct, Conflict of Interest, and Confidentiality.

5.  Statement on Truth and Reconciliation Thunderbird Circle – Indigenous Social Work Educators’ Network is in the process of reviewing and revising a draft joint statement following the recommendations of the TRC. This statement will be circulated to the Deans and Directors as well as the Prairie Child Welfare Consortium for their endorsement. In addition, the Social Policy and Advocacy Committee of the Association has been tasked with examining the issue of federal government caps on higher education funding for Indigenous students.

6.  Database Survey on Social Work Education Programs  The Board has approved the reinstatement of this Database Survey. The database project began in 1991 and was re-established in 2001.  Its main purpose is to maintain a national profile of social work education in Canada.   The  various CASWE-ACFTS constituencies will be consulted  to ensure that the information collected reflects the needs of the Association.

7. Nominations for Members to the Board of Directors and to the Commission on Accreditation  CASWE-ACFTS depends on its volunteer members to keep the Association vibrant and efficient. In the coming year, we anticipate having several vacancies on the Board of Directors. The call for nominations will be circulated in January, 2016 with updated information provided on the Nomination committee’s webpage (https://caswe-acfts.ca/nominating-committee/). There will also be several vacancies on the Commission of Accreditation and a call for Nomination to the COA has been circulated.  For further information, please  follow this link: http://caswe- acfts.ca/commission-on-accreditation/coa-members/. We are asking Deans, Directors and delegates to promote these positions, identify possible nominees and encourage members to submit nominations.

8.   Annual CASWE-ACFTS Conference 2016 The next annual conference will be held by the University of Calgary from May 30th – June 2nd. The conference theme is:  Energizing Social Work Communities: Bridging Passion, Theory, Research and Practice. We have received a large number of exciting proposals for the conference and expect members to both enjoy and contribute to this dynamic gathering. A block of rooms has been booked at the Best Western Village Park Inn (www.villageparkinn.com). Be sure to identify yourself as a member of CASWE-ACFTS when booking your room.

9.   Annual General Meeting 2016 (AGM) The next Annual General Meeting will be held on June 1st from 3:30-6:30pm. In addition to updating members on the activities of the Association, the agenda will also include further By- law revisions. Please refer to the website early January for the forthcoming AGM agenda (https://caswe-acfts.ca/events/agm-2016/). We also encourage you to get involved with the various caucuses and committees of the Association; these groups provide members with opportunities to shape the direction of the Association. We encourage you to attend and participate actively. Click here for additional information: www.caswe-acfts.ca

We thank you for sharing this information with your colleagues and serving as delegates. It is through the engagement of members that the Association draws its energy and realizes its mission. We look forward to seeing you at the 2016 conference and AGM!
Sincerely

Dr. Dixon Sookraj
President, CASWE-ACFTS