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Instructor: Sandra Preston

School of Social Work Office: KTH 313 X23781 Email:

Class Time: Mondays, 7:00-10:00 p.m. Office Hours: Mondays, 5:30 – 6:30p.m.

Teaching Assistants: (information to be completed by student when assigned) Name: ________________________________________________________ Office: _____________Office Hours: _______________________________ E-mail: _______________________________________________________

Taking Care of Your Learning Needs

I want everyone to be able to learn in the best possible way for them. If you have particular learning needs due to health, mental health or disability issues please

contact me and the Student Accessibility Services. Student Accessibility Services can help you identify your accommodation needs so that you can negotiate them with me and other professors. Student Accessibility Services also offers other academic support services for all students such as courses on improving your writing skills, time management and study habits.

Course Description

Social Work lA06 is a general introduction to the issues, systems, services and

practices of social work. We will be examining the world, our society, our communities and ourselves in the light of social issues such as poverty, violence, sexism, racism, health and illness, aging, heterosexism and child welfare.

Fundamental Principles

We are all part of a social world. We live in relationships with each other, institutions and our society. Social workers use their skills and knowledge to facilitate change in these relationships particularly with and for those who are experiencing difficulties and who struggle with the impact of oppression on their lives. This emphasis on social justice is evident in the philosophical statement of the School of Social Work:


As social workers, we operate in a society characterized by power imbalances that affect us all. These power imbalances are based on age, class, ethnicity, gender identity, geographic location, health, ability, race, sexual identity and income. We see personal troubles as inextricably linked to oppressive structures. We believe that social workers must be actively involved in the understanding and transformation of injustices in social institutions and in the struggles of people to maximize control over their own lives.

Purpose of the Course

This course will introduce students to new perspectives on social issues, emphasizing the social context of what many of us see as personal problems. It will also introduce students to the role that social work plays in addressing these personal/social

problems through service provision, advocacy, organizing and social policy development.

Course Objectives

1. Develop students’ awareness of social context.

2. Challenge students’ understanding of personal problems.

3. Improve students’ ability to identify and analyze social problems. 4. Introduce students to social work practices at the individual, family and community levels.

5. Introduce students to Hamilton and area community based social work interventions and community services.

6. Expose students to the role social policy plays in their lives.

7. Give students a basic understanding of the Canadian social welfare system. 7. Assist students in deciding if social work is a profession they would like to pursue.

Structure of the Course

The course is divided into several major topic areas that cover issues and social work practice. We will spend 1-11/2 hours each week in a large lecture format that will include videos, guest speakers, discussion and activities. In the last 1 – 11/2 hours of class we will break up into smaller workshops. Students will attend their workshops every third week. On the alternate weeks they will be expected to engage in self-directed learning experiences. Workshops will be structured around experiential learning activities and discussion. .

Course Reading Material

Coursepak available at the bookstore. Articles on-line.




WEEK 1 Sept. 10

Introduction to the course and Social Work as a subject. WEEK 2 Sept. 17

Understanding Social Problems

Coursepak - Noam Chomsky, “Noam Chomsky, Linguist” in Global Values 101. Online - Colin R. Bonnycastle, “Social Justice along a Continuum: A Relational Illustrative Model”, Social Service Review , Vol. 85, No. 2 (June 2011), pp. 267-295

WEEK 3 Sept. 24 The Canadian Context

Coursepak – John R. Graham, Karen Swift and Roger Delaney, “Historical Influences”, in Canadian Social Policy: An Introduction.


WEEK 4 October 1

What is Poverty? How does it happen?

Coursepak - Dennis Raphael, “Chapter 5: Pathways to Poverty” in Poverty and Policy in Canada.

Oct. 8

Thanksgiving – no class WEEK 5 Oct. 15

Addressing Poverty in the Canadian Context

Online –David I. Hay, “Poverty Reduction Policy and Programs” commissioned by the Centre for Social Development.


WEEK 6 Oct. 22

Intervention at the Individual Level

Coursepak – Louisa Harms and Joanna Pierce, “Working Towards Change” in Working with People: Communication Skills for Reflective Practice.


WEEK 7 Oct. 29

Intervention at the Community Level

Online - Wilson, M. G., Calhoun, A., & Whitmore, E. (2011). Contesting the Neoliberal Agenda: Lessons from Canadian Activists. Canadian Social Work Review, 28(1), 25-48. ountid=12347

WEEK 8 Nov. 5

Intervention at the Policy Level

Coursepak - Brian Wharf and Brad McKenzie, “Policy: What is it and Who Make it?” in Connecting Policy to Practice in the Human Services.


WEEK 9 Nov. 12

The Canadian Health System

Coursepak - Steven Hicks, “Social Work and the Health of Canadians” in Social Work in Canada: An Introduction.

WEEK 10 Nov. 19 What is Ableism?

Coursepak - Ryan Geake, Colleen Huston and the Members of the Action Hall, “The Disability Action Hall” in Activism that Works.

WEEK 11 Nov. 26

Mental Health: Ableism and Our Health System

Online - Robert Wilton, “Putting policy into practice? Poverty and People with Serious Mental Illness”, Social Science and Medicine (January 2004), 58 (1), pg. 25-39

WEEK 12 Dec. 3

Wrap up and Exam Review





WEEK 13 Jan. 7

Racism in the Canadian Context

Coursepak – Rosalie Chappell, “Social Welfare in a Multicultural Society” in Social Welfare in Canadian Society.

WEEK 14 Jan. 14 Immigration

Online - Bharati Sethi, “Building Bridges :Exploring Newcomer Settlement and Integration Supports in Brantford and the Counties of Brant, Haldimand and Norfolk using Community-based Participatory Research (CBPR) in Settlement of Newcomers to Canada”, p. 184 -

WEEK 15 Jan. 21

The French Canadian Experience

Coursepak – Linda Turner, “Our Bilingual Heritage: The Context of the Official Languages Policy” in Canadian Social Welfare.

WEEK 16 Jan. 28

Indigenous Peoples in Canada

Coursepak – Charles Menzies, “First Nation, Inequality and the Legacy of Colonialism” in Social Inequality in Canada: Patterns, Problems and Policies.


WEEK 17 Feb. 4 Ageism Online - Online - WEEK 18 Feb 11

Serving the Older Population

Online - Lilian M. Wells; Laura E. Taylor, “Gerontological Social Work Practice” Journal of Gerontological Social Work (August 2002), 36 (3-4), pg. 33-50.


Reading Week – February 18-22 – no class

WEEK 19 Feb. 25

Serving Children and Youth

Online - Bodil Rasmusson; Ulf Hyvönen; Lennart Nygren; Evelyn Khoo,

“Child-centered social work practice — three unique meanings in the context of looking after children and the assessment framework in Australia, Canada and Sweden”, Children and Youth Services Review (March 2010), 32 (3), pg. 452-459 25

WEEK 20 Mar. 4

Our Education System

Online -


7 WEEK 21 Mar. 11 Gender and Sexism

Coursepak – Heather Fraser and Ken McMaster, “Gender, Sexuality and Power” in Social Work: Contexts and Practice.

7 WEEK 22 Mar. 18

Heterosexism and Homophobia

Online - Taylor, C. A., & Peter, T. (2011). 'We Are Not Aliens, We're People, and We Have Rights.' Canadian Human Rights Discourse and High School Climate for LGBTQ Students. Canadian Review Of Sociology, 48(3), 275-312.

7 WEEK 23 March 25

Violence and Social Control

Online -

Online – Egale project – Courage in the Face of Hate

WEEK 24 April 1 Creating Change Online –


WEEK 25 April 8

Wrap-up and Exam Review


Course Requirements and Evaluation

Students are expected to complete the readings on a weekly basis. Students will be involved in workshops and other activities and are expected to keep the results of their work, notes and any additional thoughts they may have about the class as these will contribute to their ability to complete the take-home and registrar set exams.

Tutorials and Exams

Students will be assigned to tutorials and every third week they will attend workshops on various topics. There are assignments that are attached to the workshops which may be completed before or during. Your attendance and completion of these will make up your participation mark for tutorials. Students will be expected to do some self-directed learning on the weeks they are not attending tutorials. This may include watching movies, exploring websites or doing some research. Students will be expected to complete on-line quizzes for each module regarding this material. There will be two take-home exams which will occur at approximately the middle of the fall and winter sessions. There will also be final exams at mid-term in December and at the end of term in April.

First Takehome 15% Handed out - Monday , October 22 Due – Monday November 5

Second Submission 15% Handed out - Monday, February 11

Due – Monday, February 25

Submission will be made on Avenue to learn. All submissions are due at midnight. 5% penalty per day if you are late.

Quizzes – 20% - taken on Avenue to Learn – TBA Participation in Tutorials – 20%



Midterm Exam 15% Date to be determined

This exam will cover all course content from first term, including readings, lecture material, self-directed learning, class activities and discussions, guest speakers, audio-visual material and handouts.

Final Exam 15% Date to be determined

This exam will cover all course content from second term, including readings, lecture material, self-directed learning, class activities and discussions, guest speakers, audio-visual material and handouts.

Course Policies

Take-homes will be submitted to McMaster Avenue to Learn. Written assignments should be typed and double-spaced. Please include your name and student number either in the header or on a title page included in the file. All work should be

submitted as word documents in a single file (Do not submit your work in Microsoft Works – use rich text format or open document instead). All work is due at or before the date and time noted on Avenue to Learn, unless otherwise arranged in advance. Difficulties with uploading will not be accepted as an excuse. If you have tried to upload several times please email the file to me before the due date and time.

Essay extensions, and rescheduling of tests and exams are granted only on medical and compassionate grounds, as deemed appropriate by the student’s home faculty administrative department. In the Faculty of Social Sciences, student must provide documentation to support a re-scheduled test or exam, or a journal extension, to the Associate Dean’s office prior to a due date and within one week of a test or exam. Failure to do so will result in a late penalty for journal submissions and a grade of zero (0) for exams.

Late Work:

The penalty for late submission is 5% per day. Please note that this penalty includes Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays.


Academic Integrity

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: “Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty”), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

1. plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained;

2. improper collaboration in group work;

3. copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Classroom Conduct

Learning in a large class can sometimes be difficult. It is expected that students will work to make the classroom as conducive to learning as possible. Therefore students are expected to:

Be prepared for class. Arrive on time.

Get to their workshops on time.

Keep noise to a minimum - turn off cell phones, refrain from talking during lectures. Treat other students with respect.

Use your laptops for note-taking only.

If possible wait until the break or the end of class to leave the room.

Students with computers will be asked to sit in a particular section of the classroom to reduce distractions for other students. If computers are too distracting in class

students may be asked to leave them at home unless students have documented learning issues which require computer use.

If you are disrupting the learning of your classmates you may be asked to leave the lecture hall.


Audio or video recording of/in the classroom is strictly prohibited unless permission has been obtained from the instructor.

Privacy Protection

In accordance with regulations set out by the Freedom of Information and Privacy Protection Act, the University will not allow return of graded materials by placing them in boxes in departmental offices or classrooms so that students may retrieve their papers themselves; tests and assignments must be returned directly to the student. Similarly, grades for assignments for courses may only be posted using the last 5 digits of the student number as the identifying data. The following possibilities exist for return of graded materials:

1. direct return of materials to students in class;

2. return of materials to students during office hours;

3. students attach a stamped, self-addressed envelope with assignments for return by mail;

4. submit/grade/return papers electronically.

Arrangements for the return of assignments from the options above will be finalized during the first class.

Support Services

Student Accessibility Services offers group and individual consultation about effective learning strategies, essay writing, and study habits; accommodations, assistive

technology, advocacy and support for students with disabilities; and personal counseling. If you believe these services may be helpful to you, contact (905) 525 9140 x 28652;

Avenue to learn

In this course we will be using Avenue to learn. Students should be aware that, when they access the electronic components of this course, private information such as first and last names, user names for the McMaster e-mail accounts, and program affiliation may become apparent to all other students in the same course. The available

information is dependent on the technology used. Continuation in this course will be deemed consent to this disclosure. If you have any questions or concerns about such disclosure please discuss this with the course instructor.

Email Policy

Effective September 1, 2010, it is the policy of the Faculty of Social Sciences that all e-mail communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from the student’s own McMaster University e-mail account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student. It


is the student’s responsibility to ensure that communication is sent to the university from a McMaster account. If an instructor becomes aware that a communication has come from an alternate address, the instructor may not reply at his or her discretion.

The instructor and university reserve the right to modify elements of the course during the term. The university may change the dates and deadlines for any or all courses in extreme

circumstances. If either type of modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. It is the responsibility of the student to check his/her McMaster email and course websites weekly during the term and to note any changes.