FASS furthers equity, diversity, and inclusion commitment with new one credit courses

February 17, 2023

As part of its FASS Forward initiative, the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) is launching two new courses this summer,  FASS 212 – Introduction to Social Work Practice: Change Agency and FASS 214 – Exploring EDI: This is My Story.

Offered every summer semester since its launch in 2020, FASS Forward consists of one credit courses worth one credit towards a bachelor’s degree. Open to all undergraduate students, this suite of courses focus on practical skills-based training and self-reflection.

The two new courses are important contributions towards Simon Fraser University’s (SFU) commitment to centering equity, diversity, and inclusion in its practices and curriculum. The addition of these courses align with SFU’s values and the priorities listed by SFU’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) executive subcommittee as they provide meaningful opportunities for EDI education.

In FASS 212 – Introduction to Social Work Practice: Change Agency, students will learn about the nature of anti-oppressive social work practice, understand codes of ethics, and navigate complex global issues of oppression and marginalization. Taught by Associate Vice-President, External Relations and Adjunct Professor (School of Public Policy), Sobhana Jaya-Madhavan, this course will draw on Jaya-Madhavan’s on-the-ground experience in public service spanning over two decades. Students will benefit from the opportunity to learn first-hand from a practitioner who has worked with federal and provincial governments in addressing complex social issues such as poverty, child abuse, and domestic violence.

With FASS 214 – Exploring EDI: This is My Story, students will reflect on their own life experiences and learn about the systems and structures that limit opportunities for those of marginalized identities in Canada. With a focus on the memoirs of authors who are Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC), students will learn what it means to negotiate life as a member of a minority group, marginalized community, and as an immigrant. The course is centered around empathy and will encourage students to think about how they can be agents for change in mobilizing EDI as a matter of substance rather than performance.

“These courses were initially imagined by former Associate Dean Catherine Murray and implemented by Jennifer Chutter (former coordinator), who developed a thriving community of practice amongst instructors,” explains Lara Campbell, Associate Dean, Undergraduate.

The FASS Forward courses offer students unique opportunities to make connections with their peers in smaller classes as well as develop skills that will benefit them in the workplace and in life.

“The courses have helped students develop core competencies in writing, verbal communication, data literacy, and team building,” says Campbell.

"All instructors are committed to experiential learning, skill development, and focused self-reflection, which are part of SFU’s teaching and learning priorities.”

Campbell adds, “Students have been enthusiastic about the program and are asking for more topics, especially at the upper division level.” Since its launch in 2020, FASS Forward courses have been in high demand as registration fills up quickly.

The two new EDI-centred courses are excellent additions to this summer’s FASS Forward course catalogue, which include:

FASS Forward in the News

FASS Forward has been highlighted by the British Columbia Council on Admission and Transfer (BCCAT), BC Business, and the Confederation of University Faculty Associations.

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