RATIONALE (see outline of programme document for more detailed
In October of 2003, Dr. John Coates of St. Thomas University undertook
a cross-sectional research initiative to study the Present and
Future Need for First Nation Social Workers in the Maritime Provinces.
The study documented “the need for professionally trained First
Nations social workers for First Nations communities, and serious
concerns about the ability to find and hire qualified social workers
exists in all three Maritime provinces. However, the current need
varies from province to province with New Brunswick expressing the
most urgent need.”
The proposed 3 year mixed instructional program is designed to accommodate
individuals who are currently working in the social field, often with
family and other responsibilities, to continue in their position while
obtaining their BSW degree. Although the bulk of students will come
from those employed by or heading towards work with native child welfare
agencies, there may be interest from other areas such as alcohol and
drug staff, welfare officers or employment and training staff.
A proposed schedule will require the following:
The unique nature of this programme is captured through its mode
of delivery, its regional focus rather than with the course content
or sequencing. Careful attention has been paid to maintaining the
integrity of both St. Thomas and Dalhousie Universities’ BSW
programmes when designing the programme.
HISTORY OF CONSULTATION AT ST. THOMAS
Steps have been taken to inform and consult with administration regarding
the developments surrounding the MMBSW. The steps include:
initial discussion between Dr. Coates and Dr. Myers, Academic Vice-President
meeting with Dr. Coates, Prof. deVink (Chair) to update with Dr.
with Dr. O’Brien and Prof. deVink (August, 2004) to provide
letter, proposal sent to Dr. O’Brien and Dr. Malcolmson in
two meetings between the Depts. of Native Studies and Social Work
in November and December, 2004
meeting with Larry Batt, Kathryn Monti, Brian Ouellette and Sandra
deVink on February 2, 2005
meeting with Sandra Germain, Kathryn Monti, Brian Ouellette and
Sandra deVink on February 8, 2005
The MMBSW should be self-funding through tuition and funds to cover
administrative costs. It is anticipated that the university should
not incur any costs associated with implementation of this programme.
Additional faculty resources will not be required. St. Thomas is responsible
for teaching 7 courses for a total of 24ch over a three year period.
In addition, we will be responsible to provide faculty liaison for
700 hour field placement with the cohort of students registered at
St. Thomas. University faculty will be given a stipend to teach in
the programme and/or qualified sessional instructors will be hired
A programme coordinator, Sandra Germain, has been hired to coordinate
the work associated with the MMBSW. This includes support services
to students, assistance with the admissions process, establishing
off-site teaching venues, assisting with the coordination of field
placements, planning steering committee meetings, disseminating information
on the programme and numerous other administrative duties. We anticipate
that the coordinator’s role will decrease some of the administrative
work carried by department of social work and the university administration
with implementation of the programme.
The first intake will begin as soon as funding and academic approval
has been obtained. It is hoped that students from the first intake
can begin studies in the Fall 2005 for a three year period. This will
be followed by a second intake in 2008 for a total duration of six
RECRUITMENT AND NUMBER OF STUDENT
The first intake will include a maximum of 35 students. In order to
be self-sufficient, the programme requires 25 full-time students.
Consultation meetings have been held with Kathryn Monti to identify
and explore relevant implementation questions in relation to all aspects
of admissions. The admissions requirements for the first intake of
the MMBSW will be based on existing criteria for the four year BSW
programme, however, the forms will be revised to reflect the unique
character of this programme.
BENEFITS OF THE MODEL
Although the focus of this programme is the education of social workers
to meet the gaps for trained professionals in First Nations communities,
it has been noted that the regional model being developed could become
a prototype for meeting training needs in other disciplines. If successful,
the model might be adapted in addressing similar resource gaps for
teachers and nurses.