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MSW 2YR Orientation 2023

Agenda Hart House Floor Maps Student Services Fair FIFSW Connect and Buddy Program
Hart House Directions Food Menus Photo & Video Notice Social Work Conference


Time Details Room
8:15am Registration and breakfast Lower Gallery
Swag bags pick up and selfie station Great Hall
9:00am Groups 1-3: Orientation Great Hall
Group 4: EDI Workshop Donald Burwash Room, 2005
Groups 5 & 6: EDI Workshop Debates Room, 2034
10:20am Morning Break Lower Gallery & Quad
12:00pm-1:30pm Lunch Great Hall & Quad
Student Services Fair Quad
1:30pm Groups 4-6: Orientation Great Hall
Group 1: EDI Workshop Burwash Room, 2005
Groups 2 & 3: EDI Workshop Debates Room, 2034
2:50pm Afternoon Break Lower Gallery & Quad
4:30pm Orientation Done!
Optional: Hart House guided tours, more info to come!

Hart House


Hart House is located south of Hoskin Avenue, between Queen’s Park Crescent and Tower Road, easily accessible by local Toronto transit and a variety of highways and major routes, steps away from three major subway stops. Visit the Hart House page for directions by TTC, car and more.There will be no access to parking on Tower Road or Hart House Circle. For more information about parking on U of T campus, please visit the Parking Services website.

There are two accessible entrances and exits at Hart House, one located at Tower Road and one on Hart House Circle, the southeast double doors at the Founder’s Prayer. In addition to the two accessible entrances/exits, the south doors east of the Arbor Room entrance on Hart House Circle are also available for use.

Important: Road Closures

Due to the annual UTSU Orientation Street Fest & Club Carnival scheduled for Wednesday, September 6th, 2023 the following road closures are scheduled from 5:00 AM to 8:00 PM

  • St. George Street, from College St to Hoskin Ave/Harbord St
  • Ursula Franklin Street, from Huron St to St. George St
  • Galbraith Road, closed at St. George St

The following parking lots/spaces will be inaccessible all-day due to the road closure on September 6th , 2023:

  • 200 College Street: Wallberg Building
  • 100 St. George Street: Sidney Smith Building
  • 65 St. George Street: School of Grad Studies
  • 60 St. George Street: Physics Garage
  • 59 St. George Street: Knox College

Please note Galbraith Road will closed from St. George St. and only accessible from King’s College Rd.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us by telephone at 416-978-7275 or by email at

Floor Maps



  • Assorted juices, water
  • Sliced fresh fruit
  • Assortment of freshly baked pastries (including GF)
  • Overnight oats- cranberries, pepitas and maple syrup
  • Freshly brewed coffee and selection of teas

  • Miso Tofu Bowl *vegan*
  • Oregano Lemon Chicken Bowl *halal chicken*
  • A Selection of Mini Dessert Tarts and Squares, Sliced Fresh Fruit
  • Assorted Juices, Iced Water
  • Freshly Brewed Coffee and Selection of Teas

  • Freshly Brewed Coffee and Selection of Teas
  • Cliff Bars



Student Services Fair

Photo & Video Notice

Photos and video taken at this event may be included in online or print media for educational and/or promotional purposes by the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work and the University of Toronto. If you would prefer not to have your photo shared, please contact Dale Duncan, FIFSW’s Senior Communications Strategist.

FIFSW Connect

FIFSW Connect and Buddy Program

Reminder to join  FIFSW Connect, our new student engagement platform. It takes less than two minutes to register:

  1. Visit FIFSW Connect site
  2. Click the “JOIN NOW” button on the top right corner of the page
  3. Choose the “Register with email” button at the bottom
  4. Choose “Student” for the Affiliation, and use the email address from which you received this newsletter.
  5. Complete as much as the profile as possible in order to get specific engagement invitations.
  6. In your profile settings, please select the “Buddy Program” under the “Seek Mentoring” heading. The more you share in your profile helps with matching.

Please visit the Buddy Program page for more information.

Introduction to Social Work Conference

Thursday, September 7th and Friday, September 8th
8:30am-3:00pm at the
Great Hall, Hart House (7 Hart House Circle), University of Toronto

MC: Micheal Shier
Usher: Nicole Stockdale

8:30–9:00am Breakfast Breakfast
9:00–9:10am Welcome and land acknowledgment Welcome and land acknowledgment
9:10-9:55am Keynote: Charmaine Williams Keynote: Ashley Quinn
9:55-10:10am Wellness break Wellness break
10:10-10:55am Presentation: Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux Presentation: Micheal Shier
10:55-11:10am Wellness break Wellness break
11:10-11:55am Presentation: Eunjung Lee Presentation: Clara Ho
11:55am-12:10pm Mindfulness Break led by Ellen Katz Mindfulness Break led by Ellen Katz
12:10-1:10pm Lunch Lunch – Meet your faculty
1:10-1:55pm Presentation: Shawnette Thompson and Lin Fang Presentation: Susan Blacker
1:55 – 2:10 Wellness break Wellness break
2:10-2:55pm Presentation: Marcie Romenco Open Forum (Q & A)
2:55 -3:00pm Closing Closing

Speaker Biographies

Professor Charmaine C. Williams joined the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work in 2002 and is currently serving as Dean of the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work. Her research bridges practice and access and equity issues that affect various populations including racial minority women, LGBTQ individuals in   a local and international context, and individuals and families affected by serious and persistent mental illnesses. The majority of her practice experience has been as a clinician in the mental health care system.

She has also been involved in organizational change initiatives in the health care sector and has extensive experience developing and delivering professional education in the areas of anti-racism, cultural competence, mental health and addictions. Recent activities include serving on the expert panel for the Mental Health of Black Canadians Initiative at the Public Health Agency of Canada and serving on the Anti-Racism Advisory Panel that developed the Toronto Police Service’s race-based data collection policy.

Dr. Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux was appointed as the 1st Indigenous Chair for Truth and Reconciliation for Lakehead University in 2016.

Cynthia was inducted as a “Honourary Witness” by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada in 2014 and is Chair of the Governing Circle for the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at the University of Manitoba. She is a member and resident of the Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation and has dedicated her life to building bridges of understanding. She sees endless merit in bringing people from diverse cultures, ages, and backgrounds together to engage in practical dialogue and applied research initiatives.

Professor Eunjung Lee is the Associate Dean (Academic) at the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work at the University of Toronto, which she joined in 2007. She is Factor-Inwentash Chair in Social Work in Mental Health & Health. She has over 20 years clinical social work practice in various mental health fields serving marginalized populations with trauma and violence experiences. She has worked as a clinical supervisor, currently keeping a small clinical consultation.

Dr. Lee is a psychotherapy-process researcher focusing on cross-cultural clinical practice in community mental health. Using critical theories in language, discourse and power, her research focuses on everyday interactions in clinical practice and simulation-based learning in social work education. Analyzing social policy and media studies, her research also explores how policy and its underlying politics construct dominant discourses that impact immigrants and refugees in a global neoliberal era, and theorize Canadian multiculturalism and welfare state.

Associate Professor Emeritus Ellen Katz joined the Factor- Inwentash Faculty of Social Work in 2014 as a Lecturer and Director of Continuing Education. Prior to 2014, Ellen held roles as a Faculty-Field Liaison in the Practicum Office, and an Educational Coordinator, an Adjunct Lecturer and an Assistant Professor, Status-Only in the community.

Her research and clinical interests focus on mindfulness and contemplative practices as informed by Buddhist thought, family therapy, simulation, and the development of competence in both students and clinicians. The latter interest has led to her work with Professor Marion Bogo in developing novel approaches to assessment of student and practitioner competence.

Ellen was a Senior Investigator with the Mind and Life Summer Research Institute, the Dalai Lama’s initiative to bring science and contemplative practice together in developing interventions to ease human suffering and increase knowledge of how mindfulness can be used in that process. She was awarded the Larry Enkin Innovation in Teaching and Simulation Award from the Faculty in 2019.

Shawnette Thompson is the Supervisor of Clinical Affairs at FIFSW’s Talk it Out Counselling Clinic. She has many years of clinical practice experience. She is a dedicated Individual and Family Therapist, utilizing a harm reduction based approach, that is trauma and attachment informed and approaches therapy from an integrative clinical model of practice.
Associate Professor Lin Fang is currently an Associate Professor and the Factor-Inwentash Chair in Children’s Mental Health. She is also the Founding Director of FIFSW’s Talk It Out Online Counseling Clinic. With over 10 years of postgraduate clinical experience, Lin’s program of research has focused on advancing the theoretical and empirical knowledge of positive child and youth development through etiology and intervention research as well as community-based research and services. Versed with a range of research methodologies and advanced statistics, Lin has published and presented widely in the areas of adolescent substance use, information and communication technologies (ICTs), and mental health and cross-cultural experiences among immigrant communities.

Coming from a community organizing background, Lin takes pride in advancing social work while doing social work in the community. During the pandemic, Lin conceived and launched the Talk It Out Online Counseling Clinic, where supervised MSW students at FIFSW provide free short-term counseling services and wellbeing workshops to lower-income and Black communities in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). In its first year, the Clinic provided services to over 150 residents living in the GTA.

Marcie is Omushkego Cree from the James Bay area of Northern Ontario. She currently resides in Sudbury, Ontario and operates a management consulting business with her partner, providing project and program management, business consulting and human services management solutions to organizations of all types.

Marcie received her Honours Bachelor of Indigenous Social Work from Laurentian University and her Master of Social Work degree in Indigenous Trauma & Resiliency from University of Toronto. Marcie is a Sessional Lecturer at both University of Toronto (MSW-Indigenous Trauma & Resiliency) and Laurentian University (HBSW- Indigenous Social Work).

Marcie has an extensive background in both social work and business. She has a passion for research and collaboration. Marcie is motivated by challenges, creating change and developing new projects & initiatives. She enjoys designing and facilitating workshops that empower organizations, communities and schools to challenge the status quo, find creative and innovative ways to improve or build new systems, and improve outcomes for all stakeholders.

Assistant Professor Ashley Quinn completed a Ph.D. at the University of Toronto, Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work. Dr. Quinn received a Joseph Armand Bombardier SSHRC scholarship for doctoral research on the factors contributing to cultural identity and the development of community-based outcome measures for Indigenous families involved in the child welfare system. The aim of this research was to establish and improve funding towards Indigenous governance and policy, to promote the development of cultural strengths-based services and to help build capacity with regard to program and policy development, implementation and evaluation within a culturally relevant research framework.

Dr. Quinn’s current research interests focus on Indigenous research methods and ethics protocols including further exploration of culturally engaged caregiving in the child welfare system, Indigenous Alternative Dispute Resolution programs for Indigenous families who have had their children apprehended by the child welfare system, the application of Indigenous historical, contextual and contemporary factors in criminal, family and child welfare law matters, and wholistic approaches and Indigenous perspectives in social work education.

Ashley provides students with wholistic approaches to social work practice utilizing a cultural interface and teaches from a relational perspective, which values authentic and genuine engagement with social work students.

Associate Professor Micheal Shier is MSW Program Director and the Field of Study Coordinator for the Human Services Management and Leadership field of study. He is also the coordinator for the Certificate program in Human Services Management and Leadership with the School of Continuing Studies, University of Toronto, and the faculty lead for the FIFSW Student Leadership and Mentorship co-curricular program. Dr. Shier joined the faculty in 2014 following completion of a PhD (Social Welfare) at the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice. He has been the recipient of several research awards, including the Government of Ontario’s Ministry of Research and Innovation Early Researcher Award (2017-2022), and is appointed as a Canada Research Chair holder in Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship in the Human Services.

Dr. Shier’s program of research helps to optimize social service delivery and improve social outcomes for vulnerable social groups, enhances the capacity of nonprofit leadership within our community, and supports local social welfare and community economic development.

Specifically, his research focuses on organizational development in human service organizations, with an aim to support outcomes and strategies that lead to 1) social innovation and social entrepreneurship (including development of leadership capacity, organizational, culture, positive partnerships dynamics, and for-profit market-based activities), 2) equity and inclusion, 3) workplace health and safety, and 4) trauma informed organizational environments. His current funded research is aimed at 1) developing socially innovative organizational strategies within the nonprofit and voluntary sector to promote equitable and inclusive human service organizational environments, and 2) understanding the mechanisms that promote social-purpose driven for-profit activities within and among non-profit and for-profit organizations across Canada. Dr. Shier also works extensively with nonprofit human service organizations to develop and implement models of evaluation that support the identification and implementation of social innovation efforts.

Clara Ho (she/her) is a social worker and health care leader with hospital-based experience in patient and family engagement, co- design, and partnerships, inclusive program design, family- centred service delivery, and health care education. She is passionate about advancing health equity through partnering with service users at all levels of decision-making within a health care organization.

Currently, Clara is the Manager of Client and Family-Centred Care and Partnerships at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, leading their award-winning Family Leadership Program and corporate family engagement initiatives. Previously, Clara advanced the Patient and Family-Centred Care strategy and education program at North York General Hospital.

Clara is a registered Social Worker and a Lecturer at the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work at the University of Toronto, teaching in the Human Services Leadership and Management stream. She is committed to creating an inclusive and generative learning environment where critical thinking and appreciative inquiry can flourish among students.

While completing her Master of Social Work at the University of Toronto, Clara was a recipient of the Gordon Cressy Leadership Award for her contributions to improving the social work student experience at the University of Toronto as co-president of her Graduate Students’ Association, and was also the recipient of the Hilary M. Weston Medal for academic excellence at the Faculty of Social Work.

Clara lives in Toronto with her family and Ripley, her English Springer Spaniel puppy. She is an avid vegetable gardener and dedicated reader of cookbooks.

Susan Blacker, MSW, RSW is the Senior Director, Cancer and Palliative Program Planning and Performance at Sinai Health System. She brings to this role more than 25 years of experience as a social worker, educator and program leader in the field of cancer and palliative care. Susan is also a Provincial Clinical Co-Lead for the Ontario Palliative Care Network.

Susan holds an academic appointment at the University of Toronto: Adjunct Professor in the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work. She teaches a course on social work practice in palliative care each fall.

She is also appointed as a Lecturer (status only) is a Quality Co-Lead for the Division of Palliative Care, Department of Family and Community Medicine in the Faculty of Medicine.