Student governance

Student participation in decision making in Social Work 

There are a number of opportunities for students to participate in decisions that affect the School, the University and the community. We strive to involve students and faculty in important policy decisions affecting the School through particpation in working groups and in our annual School Forum.  Students also particpate through our MSW and BSW student representaive program.

Getting involved

Why would you want to get involved in school government? Well, it is an opportunity to build some very useful skills (i.e., negotiating, advocating, effective listening, etc.) It will look very good on your resume and it is an important way to help make changes within the school. By being involved students can constantly monitor the functioning of the School. When action is needed the people involved will be able to act immediately. If there is no one involved then the needs of the students may not be met.

Keeping informed

To ensure that council members represent your concerns, it is necessary that you know what the issues are and what is going on in the meetings. Minutes from each council meeting will be posted to the student listserv and all council members will receive copies of the minutes.

Student representatives within the School of Social Work

BSW student representatives (This program is currently under review)

MSW student representatives

Within the University

1. The Senate

This is the body that guides the academic affairs of the University. The Senate has the ability to create new courses, change systems of grading and make the final decisions on student appeals, amongst other things. There are 16 positions allocated for student senators: one for each faculty plus additional seats which are not designated. The term of office is one year. Students wishing to run for election must be nominated by three other students at election time.

2. The Board of Governors

The BOG is responsible for the management and administration of the University and has the ultimate control over the University's purse strings! There are two student positions out of a total of 15 seats and the term of office is one year. Students wishing to run for election must be nominated by three other students at election time. For information on BOG, visit the UVic Board of Governors website. You may also want to visit the UVSS Board of Directors website.


Professional associations

1. The British Columbia Association of Social Workers

The BCASW is a voluntary professional membership association which exists to support social workers and the community of British Columbia through professional development opportunities and contributions to social advocacy. Student members of BCASW are eligible to apply for the BCASW scholarship awarded each year to a student in each BC school of social work. After graduation, there are mentorship opportunities for members.
There are student representatives throughout the province, including one from the University of Victoria. If you are interested in becoming the UVic rep for the local branch - South Vancouver Island Branch of the BCASW - there are a couple of things you should know:

  • you must be elected by your peers in early October
  • you may hold the "student liaison" position for up to two years (except in unusual circumstances). However, students in the past have held this position for a one-year term.

The responsibilities of this position include making students aware of the concerns and activities of the South Vancouver Island Branch of the BCASW and in turn sharing the concerns of the social work students with the local BCASW branch. Meetings are held once a month. For information on becoming a student rep or information on student membership call the BC Association of Social Workers at 1-800-665-4747.

2. Canadian Association for Social Work Education

CASWE is a voluntary, non-profit, national organization of undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate university faculties, schools or departments. The purpose of CASWE is to promote the advancement of post-secondary social work education and to further society's understanding of the nature and role of social work practice and social welfare.

The activities of the CASWE include work on educational policies, research, accreditation, social policy position papers and various forums for discussion and debate. The membership of the Student Caucus includes social work students across Canada who have been elected to represent their peers. The roles of the caucus members include generating student input into social work education, voicing student concerns in a national forum, and sharing information generated nationally with the student bodies.

In the winter session of each university year, student is selected to represent the School at the CASWE annual general meeting held in the spring.