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FIFSW Student Leadership and Mentorship Program

This FIFSW Student Leadership and Mentorship Program provides Master of Social Work students with an opportunity to learn and develop leadership and management skills during their second year or their advanced standing program.

Participating students build experience learning and engaging in leadership efforts both within the classroom and social work practice.  Each student is paired with a mentor who they meet with throughout the course of the year. This mentorship relationship is complimented by in-class learning and practical training. As part of the program, students take two electives that target the development of leadership and management competencies. They also develop and implement a leadership initiative within their practicum setting.

Program benefits

Leadership and management skills are invaluable to social workers working within nonprofit, for-profit, and public sector settings. However, all too often social workers arrive to leadership positions without any training or background in these areas. This can impact their ability to develop clear strategies for change and effectively engage with key stakeholders internal and external to their organizations. FIFSW’s Student Leadership and Mentorship Program provides participating students with the opportunity to develop skills that will allow them to lead change across a variety of settings.

Following completion of all the program, students will receive a Certificate in Social Work Leadership with their MSW degree. In addition, students will be provided with a $1200.00 stipend.

Program Requirements

Students enrolled in the program will be required to:

  • regularly meet with their mentor for a total of approximately 15 hours. The format and frequency of the meetings will be determined with the mentor.
  • Undertake a leadership initiative during their practicum in consultation and in partnership with the practicum supervisor, totaling approximately 50 hours of the required practical training hours.
  • Complete two elective courses in Social Work Leadership (totaling approximately 72 hours of in-class education and training)
  • Present at a symposium near the end of the academic year (March/April)

Elective courses can include any two of the following:

  • SWK 4210 – Promoting Empowerment: Working at the Margins
  • SWK 4306 – Theoretical Approaches in Defining Social Injustice & Engaging in Social Change
  • SWK 4425 – Human Services Management and Leadership
  • SWK 4426 – Financial Management and Leadership in Human Service Organizations
  • SWK 4427 – Human Resource Management in Human Service Organizations
  • SWK 4515 – Research and Quality Improvement in Human Service Organizations
  • SWK 4606 – Diversity, Access & Equity in Social Work Practice
  • SWK 4648 – Special Topics in Human Services Management and Leadership II: Clinical Leadership, Supervision and Staff Development
  • SWK 4649 – Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship in the Human Services
  • SWK 4658 – Social Work with Immigrants and Refugees
  • SWK 4803 – Special Studies 3: Social Policy Analysis
  • SWK 4804 – Special Studies 4: Critical Social Work Analysis with Indigenous People

Note: The 72 hours in two elective courses and 50 hours in practicum counts towards the MSW program requirements. Enrolment in the above-mentioned elective courses are subject to availability.


MSW students in their second year or students in the advanced standing program are eligible to apply. Students must be enrolled in one of the following fields of study:

  • Children and their Families
  • Health and Mental Health
  • Human Services Management and Leadership*
  • Indigenous Trauma and Resiliency
  • Social Justice and Diversity*
  • Social Work in Gerontology

Students in the Social Justice and Diversity and Human Services Management and Leadership fields of study need to take one required elective (listed under Program Requirements, above) that is not in their field of study.

Part-time students are also eligible to apply, but need to be doing their senior practicum simultaneously with the Leadership and Mentorship Program.

How to apply

Students interested in participating in the FIFSW Leadership and Mentorship Program are invited to send a resume or CV and up to a two-page (double spaced) statement of interest to Associate Professor Micheal Shier ( Your statement of interest should include past experience with leadership, how the program would support your learning and professional development goals, and your future career aspirations. Applications are due by June 30, 2022.

Applications will be reviewed and then notifications will be sent out to selected program participants by July 10, 2022.


For more information, please contact:

Mikayla Kendrick
Student Engagement Ambassador