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Diversity & Equity

Diversity and Equity at the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work

Diversity and equity strategies at the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work encompass all aspects of the Faculty’s operation. These include:

  • Student admissions, recruitment and retention: Engaging in recruitment strategies that target under-represented student populations; Creating scholarships for students of under-represented ethnic groups and Aboriginal communities; Retaining relevant academic support such as the Faculty Advisor program and the Writing Laboratory; Establishing an Equity Advisor in the Faculty and collaborating with the Equity Offices at the University of Toronto to provide student support and promote inclusion.
  • Recruitment of faculty: Developing a more diverse faculty complement by encouraging and engaging with applicants from under-represented communities.
  • Curriculum and teaching: Integrating diversity and equity theory and practice into the existing course curriculum; Seeking student evaluation of diversity and equity integration in course content; Organizing regular events/programs to address diversity and equity in social work practice; Collaborating with community organizations to enrich diversity and equity content in the curriculum.
  • Community collaborations: Networking and collaborating with diverse communities locally, nationally and internationally;
  • Research: Initiating collaborative education and participatory action research projects with community partners. For information about the range of community-based collaborative projects at the Faculty, please see our research section at


FIFSW Diversity and Equity Committee

The Diversity and Equity Committee at the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work is part of the Faculty’s strategy to build equity structures and processes that are sustainable, ensure engagement with key stakeholders, communication and accountability, and provide a breadth of equity related knowledge and expertise to inform FIFSW’s ongoing equity and inclusion initiatives. This Committee is not intended to subsume all equity, social justice and human rights work occurring within the Faculty, but it serves to ensure that there are initiatives and strategies for equity which are Faculty wide with formal accountability in the Office of the Dean. The Committee is not responsible for implementation of the equity plan, but rather, for overseeing its overall development. The Committee acts in an advisory capacity and facilitates the exchange of information, ideas and issues between the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work and its constituencies in matters of promoting diversity and equity in the Faculty, and is aligned with the University of Toronto’s commitment to Diversity, Equity and Excellence, which can be found at


Equity Advising at FIFSW

To provide a safe space to raise confidential concerns and questions
To assist in building equity structure capacity and sustainability within the Faculty

Equity Services:

  • Confidential equity advising for students, faculty and staff
  • Year 1 MSW student workshop
  • Implementation support of FIFSW Equity strategy
  • Equity workshops and special events

Equity Advisor

Terry Gardiner, MSW, RSW, Manager, Diversity, Equity and Student Experience is a graduate of the FIFSW MSW program. He has been an Instructor and Faculty Advisor at the Ryerson University School of Early Childhood Studies and developed and implemented physical activity and sport equity initiatives at the University of Toronto Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education. Terry is available by appointment to meet with students, faculty and staff on sensitive and challenging diversity and equity issues. These confidential consultations are intended to provide a supportive environment for discussion and problem solving and to generate strategies to address concerns. This is distinct from a formal complaint process.

To make an appointment email or call 416-946-0720.

Or drop by Terry’s office, room 106A

Other members of the FIFSW Equity Team

Janet Mawhinney, MA Is the Manager, Diversity & Equity at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) working on issues of human rights, health equity, inclusion and respect in the workplace and in service provision.

Rani Srivastava, RN, MScN, PhD Is the Chief of Nursing and Professional Practice at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and has developed modules for cultural competence for nurse practitioners, emergency room workers, and police services.

Janet and Rani will facilitate student workshops and support implementation of the FIFSW equity strategy.

FIFSW Accessibility Working Group

The Accessibility Working Group is open to students, faculty and staff with an interest in accessibility issues and is a venue for conversation, information and experience sharing regarding accessibility at the Faculty. The goal of the group is to identify barriers to participation in the FIFSW community and, through constructive problem solving and advocacy, promote increased access to programs, physical structures and activities/events within the FIFSW for students, faculty and staff.

The group meets each semester with notice of meeting dates distributed via email.

For more information please contact Manager, Diversity, Equity and Student Engagement Terry Gardiner at

Examples of Faculty Community Collaborations

CITY (Creative Institute for Toronto’s Young) Leaders Program

Beginning in 2008, the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work began a collaboration with the United Way of Greater Toronto to co-certify a program for youth in the city of Toronto who were seeking the opportunity to develop leadership skills that would enable them to give back to their various communities.  The City Leaders Institute was advertised through the FIFSW Continuing Education Program and implemented by members of the social work faculty who served as Advisory Committee members, instructors, evaluators and mentors in the program. City Leaders brought together young people working and volunteering in the social services sector and/or in the priority neighbourhoods of the GTA to learn and support each other in their leadership development. Graduates of the program have built on these learning experiences, often using initiatives developed during their time in City Leaders, to make exciting new contributions in the community.

The City Leaders program of leadership training has been completed and alumni support activities are under way.  Further initiatives are being considered as part of strategic planning at the United Way of Greater Toronto. In the meantime, the Faculty will continue to collaborate with youth program development at the United Way.

Faculty of Medicine Summer Mentorship Program

The Summer Mentorship Program (SMP) gives high school students of Indigenous and African ancestry a chance to explore health sciences at the University of Toronto over four-weeks in July. Students are able to do the following activities:

  • Discover university education and professional careers in the health sciences;
  • Gain hands-on experience through experiments, lectures, and special projects;
  • Earn a credit towards a high school diploma; and
  • Enjoy valuable mentoring experiences from a variety of professionals

Each summer, students in U of T’s Summer Mentorship Program have the opportunity to learn about a possible future career in social work by spending a day immersed in social work. Students visit the Faculty and spend an afternoon with social workers at their jobs getting a true sense of what social work is actually like. Activities at the FIFSW are coordinated by alumnus Terry Gardiner, Manager, Diversity, Equity and Student Experience.

Canadian Roots Exchange

As part of a collaboration, the Canadian Roots Exchange (CRE) is located at the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work. The Canadian Roots Exchange is a national nonprofit educational organization bringing together Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth. CRE provides Indigenous-based leadership, learning and reconciliation experiences.

CRE organizes youth-led workshops and experiential exchange programs designed to deepen understanding and knowledge of the history, struggles and triumphs of Indigenous Canadians. The Canadian Roots Exchange is dedicated to breaking down stereotypes and opening a dialogue that will enable all Canadians to learn from our country’s First Peoples.


Equity Resources at the University of Toronto

The University of Toronto has several equity offices that engage in outreach and education across all campuses and provide guidance on specific issues as they arise. For a full listing and description of these offices, please consult the Human Resources and Equity site at