a Black student with a backpack
We are deeply committed to taking action against anti-Black racism.

We cannot look back at this past year without having an honest and frank conversation about anti-Black racism. Through the leadership of Dean Barnoff, FCS has committed to take action to address anti-Black racism. This commitment includes scholarship funding for Black students, hiring Black faculty, and advancing a more diverse curriculum that is more inclusive of a broader range of experiences and realities — especially those of Black people.

We have funded several initiatives focused on equity, diversity and inclusion. This year we focused our funding on projects that help to address anti-Black racism.

Dean Barnoff’s commitment to actionThe colour of birthBuilding Black spaces for virtual dialogue and connectionFrom ABR 101 to Black Canadian StudiesAnti-Black Racism Curriculum Development Fund recipients
two Black men in conversation
Dean Barnoff has spearheaded several initiatives to fight anti-Black racism, including securing nearly $100,000 in scholarships for Black students.

Dean Barnoff’s commitment to action

“At FCS, we come together around a common bond in our desire to make this world a better place,” said Barnoff. “We know that meaningful change requires both a comprehensive approach and it needs to happen step by step.” Dean Barnoff welcomed Idil Abdillahi, School of Disability Studies, as a special advisor to the Dean on anti-Black racism. She also secured funding for over 75 undergraduate and seven graduate scholarships for Black students. This year, there was an enthusiastic response, indicative of the high levels of student need, particularly during the pandemic. We provided $92,500 in funding to over 75 undergraduate and seven graduate students with this new initiative.

$92,500 in funding has been granted to over 75 Black undergraduate and 7 Black graduate students.

Dean Barnoff has ensured that funding for these awards is in place for at least the next five years and made it a priority to find ways to extend this funding. “We know that anti-Black racism creates barriers for Black students’ access to university, lengthens their paths to degrees and increases student debt. Initiatives like these scholarships, and our direct entry programs for college students, are intended to help reduce those barriers.”

“We recognize that this is the beginning of building lasting change and we understand that we have much more work to do. It is incumbent upon us to ensure we continue to take direct action to confront anti-Black racism,” said Barnoff.

dark skinned hands
Black midwives were once prevented from helping their clients in hospital.

The colour of birth

Professor Karline Wilson-Mitchell, Director of the School of Midwifery, is leading a research project to document the work of racialized immigrant midwives living in Canada between 1800-1960s. A pilot study led by the team examined Black midwives in Alberta and Nova Scotia. The study found that Black midwives delivered traditional midwifery care in the homes of their communities. However, when emergencies arose and their clients were transferred to the hospital, Black midwives were not permitted inside.

“In emergencies, we hear stories of midwives assessing someone, bringing them on the back of a cart ... and they would somehow transport these mothers for lifesaving interventions at the hospital, but the midwife wasn’t allowed to go inside ... and yet, these midwives were a lifeline to their community,” explains Wilson-Mitchell.

a Black woman participating in a Zoom call with other Black participants
New funding will enable Black students and alumni to come together in virtual conversation about the intersection of disability and Blackness.

Building Black spaces for virtual dialogue and connection

The School of Disability Studies' Anti-Black Racism Committee and the Building Black Spaces for Virtual Dialogue and Connection received funding to support Black students in FCS by connecting them with Black alumni and creating spaces for virtual conversations about their work at the intersection of disability and Blackness. Themes and topics for discussion include police brutality, anti-Black sanism, carceral and abolition care, environmental anti-Black racism and debility, Blackened madness, anti-Black excessive burden immigration policies, ICUgenics and state neglect in response to COVID-19, and anti-Black career immobility in disability and long-term care. Black alumni from the School of Disability Studies will share their experiences, insights, and advice with current students by answering questions, offering guidance and facilitating discussion. By creating these spaces for connection, the project aims to facilitate a meaningful dialogue between and across Black students and alumni. Students will share their experiences, frustrations, and successes and discuss barriers that need to be dismantled.

a bright classroom with Black women around the table and one woman in front of a whiteboard
An important new project sets out to design a pedagogic map that integrates anti-Black racism in the development of undergraduate students.

From ABR 101 to Black Canadian Studies

A pedagogical framework for learning and integrating ABR in the personal and academic development of FCS students in undergraduate programs

Treisha Hylton, a professor in the School of Child and Youth Care, received funding for this project to develop a pedagogic map for layering anti-Black racism across the developmental stages, both personal and academic, of four-year students across all FCS Schools. While most, or even all, schools at FCS already have or are currently developing curriculum related to anti-Black racism, this project aims to develop learning outcomes accompanied by relevant learning materials that provide for an iterative engagement of anti-Black racism.

The project will take into account the curriculum components embedded in such work and the developmental and social context of students as they transition from adolescence into early adulthood. The project will assemble a team of 18 students, with two representatives from each school in FCS. The project’s initial phase will consist of a weekly team dialogue geared toward sharing the pathways experienced by team members in their engagements with anti-Black racism. During the second phase of the project, the team will connect with external resources to collect further experiences on pedagogic approaches to layering learning across four-year programs. The third phase of the project will involve a series of dialogues with Ryerson colleagues across all FCS schools. These discussions will ask for input and feedback on the team’s emerging vision of the pedagogic framework that forms the outcome product of this project. The fourth phase of the project focuses on the development of the product itself. The team will work to articulate the learning outcomes on a year-by-year basis and connect each learning outcome explicitly to the personal and academic development of students. The final product will be a booklet that brings to life a sequence of learning and teaching context in tune with the aims of the project.

two Black students looking at a computer screen together
Funding was granted to 11 projects that tackle anti-Black racism.

Anti-Black Racism Curriculum Development Fund recipients

A pedagogical framework for learning and integrating ABR in the personal and academic development of FCS students in undergraduate programs

The inaugural Faculty of Community Services Anti-Black Racism Curriculum Development Fund has supported eleven projects this year with a total of $45,000 in funding.

The curriculum development fund was established in January 2021 to support schools to redesign the curriculum to be more inclusive of critical Black scholarship and Black studies, drawing particularly on current Black Canadian scholarship. This year 11 projects received funding. Here are some examples:

Anti-Black Racism and Early Years Creative Arts Curriculum

Charlene Ryan, Professor, School of Early Childhood Studies
Jason Nolan, Professor, School of Early Childhood Studies

Music education is notoriously white and classical, and while many recognize the problem, they are faced with the challenge that this issue is systemic. In light of this, School of Early Childhood Studies professors Charlene Ryan and Jason Nolan received funding to broaden the dialogue and commitment to action on anti-Black racism in the Creative Arts II course. This is a required fourth-year course that focuses on developing knowledge and skills to effectively engage in the creative arts with young children. Ryan and Nolan are developing a textbook for early years creative arts education that is diverse and inclusive in all ways, not least of which involves the music explored and employed. Working with a BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour) research assistant, Ryan and Nolan hope to identify Black creative arts scholarship, music, literature, creative work, and pedagogical practices that will further nuance the ideas in the course.

New Social Work Anti-Black Racism Course

Olufunke Oba, Professor, School of Social Work
Valerie Borum
, Director, School of Social Work

Anti-Black racism is deeply entrenched in the fabric of Canadian life, has varied manifestations and has adverse effects on Black people and society as a whole. A new course, developed by Olufunke Oba, professor and Valerie Borum, director, aims to address a gap in the School of Social Work curriculum and provide students in FCS with the foundational knowledge needed to combat anti-Black racism in their everyday lives. Launching as an elective course in fall 2021, the course will prepare students —  future community service professionals — to centre the wellbeing of Black people in their professional practice.

Speaking the Unspoken: Revising Curriculum with an Anti-Black Racism Lens

Fatih Sekercioglu, Professor, School of Occupational and Public Health

Fatih Sekercioglu, professor, School of Occupational and Public Health, received funding to review and revise the content of four courses offered by the school using an anti-Black racism lens. The courses under review, Pollution and Waste Management, Infection Control, Housing and Built Environments, and Environment and Emergencies, include significant components of health equity and social justice principles. Working with student research assistants from the Black community, Sekercioglu aims to revise the course materials to serve Black students and the entire Ryerson community inclusively and holistically. This work will also lay the foundation for Sekercioglu’s future course development for the school's new graduate program.

Funding dedicated to anti-Black racism

In line with Dean Barnoff’s commitment to take action on anti-Black-racism, the following projects have been funded.

  • Black Births Matter Project.
  • Black Nursing Student Association, to build a mentorship and networking program for Black nursing students.
  • Black Youth Engagement in Food Sovereignty: A program involving the development, implementation, and evaluation of an intensive workshop on Black youth engagement in food sovereignty, focusing on anti-Black-racist and African-centered perspectives.
  • Black Spaces for Virtual Dialogue and Connection: Support for Black students in FCS by connecting them with Black alumni and creating spaces for virtual conversations about their work at the intersection of disability and Blackness.
  • From ABR 101 to Black Canadian Studies, A Pedagogical Framework for Learning and Integrating ABR in the Personal and Academic Development of FCS Students in Undergraduate Programs: This project was funded to develop learning outcomes accompanied by relevant learning materials that provide for an iterative engagement of anti-Black racism.
  • Leadership Development for Black Students: A series of “Leading While Black” workshops to galvanize black students to become change agents on campus and in the community.
  • The Bridge Program: Focused on supporting and mentoring Black students in post-secondary environments and encouraging graduate-level education.
  • BIPOC Student mentorship program in Midwifery: Mentoring and networking students and mentors.