New grad programs focus on building community, social justice leaders
In an increasingly challenging environment, where shifts in funding and governance have strained and constrained social and community services, social justice leadership is a daunting commitment.
In response to real world challenges and urging from community partners, the McMaster School of Social Work has developed two new programs in Critical Leadership Social Services and Communities.
The first is a Master of Social Work in Critical Leadership Social Services and Communities. The MSW is geared towards those with BSW, and at least three years of work experience in social or community services. The program gives students the opportunity to develop capacity for leading in justice-focused ways.
Those that already hold an MSW or MA have the opportunity to strengthen their capacity for justice-focused leadership, and to connect with people with similar goals, thorough a Graduate Diploma in Critical Leadership Social Services and Communities.
Many social workers and community workers want to exercise leadership in their settings, or extend their influence – and to do this in ways that reflect their social justice commitments” says Christina Sinding, Director of the School of Social Work.
“We’re pleased to be able to offer opportunities for management and leadership education that prioritize questions of ethics, equity and social responsibility.” In more pragmatic terms, Sinding notes, a generation of experienced community and social work leaders is approaching retirement, and these programs will contribute to ensuring strong replacements in those roles.
Both programs take up expansive and critical definitions of leadership. The program welcomes people who are already in or aspiring to formally recognized leadership roles in social and community services; those in direct/ front-line services positions and sustaining justice-oriented approaches in their agencies; as well as people active in community organizing, and leaders in social movements. Students are supported as they reflect on changing conditions in contemporary social services and communities work, and consider their own approaches to progressive leadership in these contexts.
McMaster’s School of Social Work is renowned for its strong commitment to enhancing social justice and defining ways to understand and challenge oppression. The School’s instructors have years of practice, research and advocacy experience, and are deeply connected with their communities.