UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A history of the School of Social Work of the University of British Columbia, 1929-1954 Bliss, John Donald Macqueen


Instruction in social work has been offered at the University of British Columbia for twenty-five years. From the beginning in 1929, until 1942 the training has been vocational and the emphasis has been on method. In 1943 the first full time Director was appointed and under her guidance the Course became a Department and finally a School of Social Work in 1950. The emphasis has been changed from method to the development of the professional person. This is the first time that a history of this evolution has been recorded. The history of the School of Social Work is important because in the struggle to raise standards for education for social work, an equally strenuous struggle went on to encourage and help social agencies raise their standards of practice. The important common link between the two periods in the development of the Course to a School, was in the general training or "generic" idea. In using the historical method of research, it was discovered that the minutes of Faculty meetings from 1929 to 1942 no longer existed. A few letters, a few excerpts from the minutes of the Faculty, the minutes or the Faculty of Arts and Science, and the Minutes of the Senate, together with the recollection of two or three pioneers in the early development of the School, were the chief sources of information. Minutes of the Alumni Association of the Social Service Graduates also provided valuable information from 1935 onward. This study indicates that the School of Social Work has been largely responsible for the relatively high standards in social welfare in British Columbia. It is a Canadian School with Canadian emphasis, and its standards are progressive. As significant trends in the field of social work are observed, changes may be made in the curriculum to anticipate their realization, providing the change is consistant with high standards of practice.

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