Fortunately, we are uniquely positioned to address those real-world challenges thanks to the diverse range of schools that form our faculty: DISABILITY STUDIES, EARLY CHILDHOOD STUDIES, NUTRITION, URBAN AND REGIONAL PLANNING, CHILD AND YOUTH CARE, MIDWIFERY EDUCATION, NURSING, SOCIAL WORK, OCCUPATIONAL AND PUBLIC HEALTH.

Together, our approach is multidisciplinary, our work collaborative, and our goal clear: to effect social change that builds healthy cities, inclusive cities and livable cities.

That focus has served us well during these unprecedented times. We continue to teach, research and serve our communities. Led by Jennifer Martin, Associate Dean, Graduate Studies & Scholarly, Research and Creative (SRC) Activity, Faculty of Community Services and Associate Professor, School of Child and Youth Care, our research teams have continued our many important research projects throughout the pandemic. We’ve also engaged in several projects focused on the pandemic and how it has impacted our communities.

We have been responding in real-time to the pandemic since it started, from donating PPE to communities near and far to helping administer vaccines to working to address the full impact the pandemic has had on marginalized populations.

This past year we focused on addressing anti-Black racism (ABR) within FCS. We made a public commitment when we unveiled our ABR action plan in the summer of 2020. This year, we welcomed Dr. Idil Abdillahi to the FCS leadership team as special advisor to the Dean on ABR. Together with Dr. Abdillahi, the FCS leadership team launched a series of actions, some of which included: a curriculum re-development fund for FCS Schools, a student sponsorship fund for activities led by Black students, focusing the work of the FCS Learning and Teaching Committee on initiatives related to anti-Black racism, and focusing this year’s Equity and Inclusion Project Fund on proposals that address anti-Black racism, among other things.

I also announced four-year funding for Black undergraduate and graduate students’ scholarships, funding that I hope we can make permanent soon. Please read more about this initiative and so many more in Anti-Black Racism

And we’ve done more work to support our community of students. Professor Lynn Lavallee, Strategic Lead of Indigenous Resurgence, is actively supporting Indigenous students on their path through our programs. This initiative impacts our faculty, from what we teach and how we teach it to the physical spaces where we work. 

We’ve also invested in student experience, the service area led by Dani Gomez-Ortega and her team, in ways that centralizes and invigorates our outreach to students, the mentoring we provide, and how we work to connect students. The team also works to make our services, programs and financial aid more accessible and improve student educational experience and outcomes. 

FCS schools have  worked tirelessly to continue delivering experiential learning, a key component of many of our programs. Despite the challenges of the past year, our schools of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work have found innovative ways to deliver practical education for the benefit of our students, and to support our community teaching and research partners on the front lines of the pandemic through donations of PPE, hospital equipment and more. 

I invite you to explore the pages of this Retrospective and read about how our innovative research, real-world expertise and experiential learning are contributing to building healthy, inclusive and livable cities. Although the stories that follow highlight just some sections of our work, I hope you'll share our pride in what we've accomplished together and our efforts in effecting what's to come. Whether you are a prospective or current student, alumni, community member, research or teaching partner, or someone with a question, we are here to engage you for a better tomorrow.

Lisa Barnoff
Lisa Barnoff
Dean, Faculty of Community Services