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Congratulations to FIFSW’s 2021 Arbor Award Recipients


The Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work would like to congratulate those who were recognized this year with an Arbor Award — the University of Toronto’s highest honour in recognition of exceptional and longstanding volunteer service. Included among the 2021 recipients are Joulaika Buchan, Elizabeth J. Holmes, John O’Mara and Illana Perlman, each of whom have dedicated countless hours and deep expertise to help elevate and enrich field education for FIFSW students.

“Practicum is one of the most important elements in social work education, and our Field Instructors play a vital role in the experiential learning opportunities we are able to offer our students,” says Eileen McKee, FIFSW’s Assistant Dean, Field Education. “This year’s Arbor Award winners have gone above and beyond to ensure high quality opportunities in the midst of a pandemic and to advance the standard of support we are able to provide our students. We are profoundly grateful for their service.”

Meet FIFSW’s 2021 Award Recipients

Joulaika Buchan
Joulaika is a dedicated field educator and education co-ordinator for the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, where she facilitated a new community partnership on behalf of the Faculty. She also shared her invaluable expertise with the Practicum Advisory Committee, where she was actively engaged in helping the Faculty address anti-Black racism.

Elizabeth J. Holmes (MSW 1988)
As a social worker and the Educational Coordinator for Master of Social Work students at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), Elizabeth leverages her exceptional skills to offer high quality practical learning experiences for students of the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work. She is also a long-standing contributor to the Association of Teaching Centres as well as the Faculty’s Practicum Advisory Committee.

John O’Mara
Deeply committed to facilitating experiential learning opportunities, John provides field education for Master of Social Work students at the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, co-ordinating practicums with the Salvation Army.

Illana Perlman (MSW 1990)
A preceptor and education practice leader at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Illana supports multiple practicums each year for students of the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work. She also developed and implemented a Standard for Student Education at her agency, which she has shared both nationally and internationally. This model enables agencies to increase capacity for offering practicum. Illana has chaired the Faculty Council and the Association of Teaching Centres, and regularly participates in research and publications on field education.


Watch U of T President Meric Gertler’s thank you message to this year’s award recepients.