The School of Social and Community Services at George Brown College brings together industry leaders to shape program and course content. Many of the faculty at the college are still active in their industries today, so they combine day-to-day working realities with academic theories and approaches. We take pride in hiring teachers that are well-respected and offer students excellent instruction, industry mentorship and provide valuable additions to their professional networks.
Pramila Aggarwal (view bio)
416-415-5000, ext. 2652
Maureen Boettcher (view bio)
Social Service Worker Fast Track
416-415-5000, ext. 6070
Lynne Brennan (view bio)
416-415-5000, ext. 2190
Chandra Budhu (view bio)
Social Service Worker
416-415-5000, ext. 3026
Resh Budhu (view bio)
416-415-5000, ext. 6276
Andrew Buntin (view bio)
Child and Youth Worker (Fast Track)
416-415-5000, ext. 2316
Robin Buyers (view bio)
416-415-5000, ext. 3869
Bill Fallis (view bio)
416-415-5000, ext. 2188
William R. Gapen (view bio)
Social Service Worker
416-415-5000, ext. 2631
John-Paul Hatala (view bio)
Career and Work Counsellor Program
416-415-5000, ext. 2193
Rick Kelly (view bio)
Child and Youth Worker
416-415-5000, ext. 3703
Felice Markowicz (view bio)
Social Service Worker
416-415-5000, ext. 2696
Billie-Jean McBride (view bio)
Social Service Worker
416-415-5000, ext. 3240
Diane Moore (view bio)
Career and Work Counsellor
416-415-5000, ext. 2496
Keith Nickson (view bio)
Social Service Worker
416-415-5000, ext. 2209
Rick Owens (view bio)
Social Service Worker
416-415-5000, ext. 6111
Donna Reid (view bio)
Child and Youth Worker
416-415-5000, ext. 3000
Zuby Saloojee (view bio)
Child and Youth Worker
416-415-5000, ext. 3557
Amber R. Stiebel (view bio)
Social Service Worker
416-415-5000, ext. 3389
Natalie Wood (view bio)
416-415-5000, ext. 6275
Pramila Aggarwal, Ph.D ( candidate), M.A, M.Ed.
Pramila has been a professor in the Community Worker program since 1995. She has worked for over twenty years as a community organizer and labour activist, including playing an instrumental role in the founding of the Worker’s Action Centre. A doctoral candidate in the Department of Sociology and Equity Studies at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto, her research is on Punjabi grandmothers and their role in Canadian society. Additional research includes work with both a Community University Research Alliance/SHRCC project on precarious employment in Canada and with the Bancroft Research Institute on issues of workers’ compensation in Ontario. Pramila is a recipient of George Brown College’s Board of Governors’ Award for Excellence in Service to the Community as well as the recipient of the City of Toronto’s William P. Hubbard Award for Race Relations.
Professor Maureen Boettcher, MSW
Maureen has been practicing and teaching in the social work field for 28 years. She began her career as social worker in child protection services in 1983. Maureen earned her MSW in clinical practice from the University of Calgary in 1988 and then joined a team of professionals providing treatment services to sexually abused children across Alberta and the Northwest Territories. She moved to teaching social work full time in 2004 when she became Manager of the Field Education Program at York University School of Social Work where she continues to teach part time. In 2009 Maureen joined the faculty of the Social Service Worker program at George Brown, where she now teaches full time.
Lynne Brennan, M.Sc.
Lynne teaches courses in community work theory, interpersonal communication, group dynamics, and field practice. She has more than a dozen years of international experience in Nepal, Zambia, Thailand, Samoa, and Bosnia working with communities and organizations as an adult educator and gender specialist. She has conducted social audits and evaluations, facilitated strategic planning exercises for non-profit groups, and organized fundraisers for Nagarik Aawaz (a community-level, peace building non-governmental organization in Nepal). She is a qualified Life Skills Coach, and serves as a Board Member at Trinity-St. Paul’s United Church and Centre for Faith, Justice and the Arts. Her research interests include peace-building and feminist theology.
Chandra Budhu, M.Ed, Boston University Executive Leadership Program Diploma, Human Rights (CHRF) Certificate
Chandra has over 25 years of teaching experience, 13 of these in the Social Service Worker Program and the Community Worker Program at George Brown College. Chandra brings critical pedagogy, social justice and global perspectives to classroom engagement.
Chandra has over 20 years experience in international development, working with UN and Canadian-based international programs at macro and local community levels in India, China, Zambia, Sri Lanka, the USA, Guyana, the Caribbean Region and elsewhere on issues such as local government capacity, social cohesion, gender equity and renewable energy. As program director of the Beijing 1995 World Forum, she helped to bring global women’s input into the Beijing Platform for Action at the UN Fourth World Conference on Women. Equity initiatives in Canada include the Voluntary Sector Initiative on Visible Minorities in Canada, the Ministry of Attorney General’s Hate Crime Project in Ontario and the YWCA of Canada’s national campaign on Violence against Women. Voluntary contributions include: Chair: Lecture Series on Caribbean Development, York University; President: Canadian Women’s Foundation; Member: International Electoral Observer Mission with the Organization of American States; Chair: Women’s Funding Network, USA; President: Caribbean/African Self-Reliance International.
Awards include: George Brown College Award for “Living the Academic Strategy”, Diversity and Internationalization ; Scholarship to Boston University executive Leadership Program; Women Making a Difference, Heritage Toronto; Changing the Face of Philanthropy, Women’s Funding Network, U.S.A ; Recognition for Leadership, Canadian Women’s Foundation; 1993 New Pioneer Award, Skills for Change; Recognition for Community Services, The Body Shop, Canada.
Resh Budhu, M.A.
Based in the Community Worker program since 2004, Resh comes from a background in popular education, activism and theatre. Her work in the area of social justice, for over two decades (at home in Canada and abroad), has been mainly focused on issues relating to gender equality, anti-racism and community development. She has worked with the Government of Canada Millennium Initiative, the YWCA Week Without Violence, and the Beijing Forum on Women ‘95. Where issues of social justice, anti-oppression, diversity and equity are core to her teaching practice, the classroom continues to be an extension of her prior community worker life. She enjoys critical (outside-the-box) thinking, medium-double-doubles, genre-bending literature, political vision, the ‘80s, and being a mystery.
Prior to joining George Brown College’s Child and Youth Worker Program in 1999, Andrew had been working with children, youth and families for almost 25 years. He started his career as a child care worker in 1975, after receiving a diploma from George Brown College and a bachelor’s degree in Child and Youth Care from Ryerson University. For seven years he worked in a variety of care settings, such as schools, foster care centres and child welfare agencies, before going on to manage a private treatment facility from 1982 to 1999. He has since maintained ties with the professional community by serving on the board of directors of the Ontario Association of Residences Treating Youth, as an advisory member for Ryerson University’s School of Child and Youth Care Advisory Board, and as a certified professional member of the Ontario Association of Child and Youth Counsellors. Andrew recently took over as Coordinator of George Brown College’s Child and Youth Worker Fast Track Program.
Robin Buyers, M.A.
Robin has combined her work as a teacher with front-line and behind-the-scenes roles in social justice organizations and movements for over 30 years. A committed, and always learning, ally to struggles for Indigenous rights, Robin facilitated the Coalition for a Public Inquiry into Ipperwash from 1997 to 2004; collaborated in Professor Lynne Davis’ Coalitions and Alliances Project for the Department of Indigenous Studies at Trent University; and co-authored Learning About Walking in Beauty: Placing Aboriginal Perspectives in Canadian Classrooms (2002). At George Brown College, she co-founded the School of Social and Community Services Destination Cuba program, and is a recipient of the Centre for Community Services Award for Excellence in Service to the Community and the Crystal Apple Award for Teaching Excellence. For the past 10 years, she has served in a variety of capacities with the international human rights organization, Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT).
Johanne Clare, Ph.D.
Johanne has been teaching adults for over 25 years. Her work has centred on issues of social inclusion and marginality in literature, education, and social policy and has been supported by a SHRCC grant and a Canadian Federation of the Humanities grant. She is the author of John Clare and the Bounds of Circumstance (McGill-Queen’s) which explores the impact of poverty and class upon cultural aspiration. As a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Toronto, she examined patterns of alienation, advocacy, and dissent in selected texts. She has also taught at the University of Toronto in the departments of English and Women’s Studies and at Centennial College, where she developed a program in generic skills for at-risk students. She served for many years as a consultant to the CBC and Telefilm Canada and was lead writer on the TV series, No Place Like Home, a portrait of life on the streets of Parkdale. Johanne also has interests in personality theory, is a certified Enneagram trainer, and has conducted research on educating and testing for emotional intelligence.
Bill Fallis, Ed.D.
Bill currently the Coordinator of the Community Worker program, has been involved in adult education for many years as a practitioner, learner, and researcher. He has taught courses in adult education and community development at George Brown College, University of New Brunswick, Ontario Institute for the Study of Education, and Mount Saint Vincent University. He has a certificate in Distance Education from the Teletraining Institute, Stillwater, Oklahoma. As a program reviewer at George Brown College, Bill developed qualitative strategies to ensure faculty and student participation. Overseas, he has assessed the value of NGO literacy projects in India, developed a model for a high school equivalency program in Jamaica, strengthened a newly-revised adult education program in St. Lucia, and managed the George Brown - Samoan Second Chance Education project through the Commonwealth Secretariat. Bill has recently completed a secondment to the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities as a Project Officer, where he reviewed or developed vocational standards for various community college programs.
William R. Gapen (Bill), B.A., B.S.W., M.S.W.
Bill currently is a Professor with the Social Service Worker Program at George Brown College in Toronto, Ontario. He is also a part-time faculty member with the School of Social Work at York University and the Centre of Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto. He teaches in the areas of mental health, addictions, developmental disabilities, social policy, social administration, and community development. He is well published in the area of dual-diagnosis (persons with a developmental disability and mental health needs) and in building community capacity through collaboration and partnerships. He has presented his work at conferences nationally and internationally and has consulted in Canada and the United States with developing community partnerships and support networks in social services. Currently he is the Director of Community Development and Education at Griffin Mental Health Centre in Toronto, Ontario. Recently he has been instrumental in helping to develop in Ontario the Griffin Community Support Network, Peel Crisis Capacity Support Network, York Region Support Services Network and Dufferin Crisis Community Support Network. All of these Networks are evolving crisis and transitional support systems for persons with serious mental health issues including various complex needs (e.g. dual-diagnosis, concurrent disorders, physical disabilities).
John-Paul Hatala, Ph.D., is presently a Professor in the Career and Work Counsellor Program. Prior to joining George Brown College, John-Paul was an associate professor in RIT's Department of Service Sciences within the Human Resource Development program and assistant professor at Louisiana State University. John-Paul is a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Ottawa whose research focuses on job search, social networking behaviours, social capital, human resource development, career development and the transition to the labour market. He has a Ph.D. from the University of Toronto, OISE.
Hatala has provided consulting services to a number of organizations throughout North America and is the founder of the social capital development firm Flowork International. He is a reviewer and has been published in several industry publications . Between 2007-2009, he coordinated the social capital development component of a USAID funding project dealing with avian influenza awareness in Togo and Zambia Africa, and is currently the principal investigator working on a grant proposal for the National Science Foundation (NSF) that will explore the relationship between social capital development and the advance of women faculty in STEM disciplines.
He is an active member of the Academy of Human Resource Development, the American Society of Training and Development, and National Association of Workforce Development Practitioners. In 2006, Hatala received the Elwood F. Holton, III Research Excellence Award, Academy of Human Resource Development.
To date, he has developed several innovative systems and assessment tools including: Social Networking Management System, Strategic Job Search Management System, and a series of assessments including the BEST for adults and BEST for youth (Barriers to entrepreneurship success tools), as well as the SELF (Social Exploration Learning Form). He has published two books "The Strategic Networker: A Learner's Guide to Effective Networking" and “The Job Search Cookbook: A Recipe for Strategic Job Search Management.”
Rick Kelly is a Professor in the Child and Youth Worker program and has his own practice in Restorative and Peacemaking work. He has been explicitly using a Restorative/Peacemaking philosophy for the past dozen years as a restorative conference facilitator, trainer, researcher and seeker of new initiatives. In his work his mission has been to demonstrate how “best practice” work with children, youth, families and communities is by nature restorative and to integrate these beliefs and practices into teaching, the curriculum and for student engagement at the College level. His most recent work has involved using art and drama to engage large groups of youth, partnering with the “My Regent Park “gang focused initiative and working with the School of Deaf Blind Studies. In a number of projects the Restorative principles have served as a basis for program renewal and development. Check him out at: Just Us: A Centre of Restorative Practices
Much of his work is done in partnership with students in the CYW program who have presented with him in PEI, Winnipeg, Florida, Canmore and St. John’s.
He has published in the Journal of Health and in the Journal of Relational Care on grassroots community development, school as hubs models and Restorative Practices. His most recent article is “Making Circles, Making Peace” ,which came out in 2014, based on a presentation at the World CYC conference in St. John’s , Nfld., 2013.
He has a degree in Philosophy, Diploma in Child and Youth Care, studied at the Canadian School of Peacebuilding Studies at CMU and is currently enrolled in a Masters of Science at the International Institute of Restorative Practices.
He also has 5 children, 2 grandchildren, 17 bunnies and 3 dogs.
Felice Markowicz, B.A. M.Ed
Felice has worked, taught and studied in the social service, counselling and education field for over 30 years. She has been a counsellor, academic advisor and professor at George Brown College for over 20 years. She has taught in both the Child & Youth and Social Service Worker programs. She graduated from the Special Care Counselling program at Vanier College in Montreal, Québec in 1979. She completed a Bachelor of Arts from York University majoring in Sociology in 1997 and a Master’s of Education from OISE/UT also, in Sociology in 2006. Her special areas of interest are in anti-oppression work and teaching from this perspective. She has developed many courses at George Brown including Intro to Sociology, Values, Ethics and Professionalism, Interviewing & Counselling and the Dynamics of Oppression. She was the academic advisor for the Schools of Social & Community Service and Deaf & Deafblind Studies for 3 years and as a result, was nominated for the College’s Student Service /Experience Award.
She is the National Coalition Building Institute – Canada’s Toronto chapter director and has been involved with anti-oppression, inclusion and building community work for over 20 years. She has designed, developed and facilitated hundreds of workshops specifically in the area of anti-oppression, internalized oppression, conflict, team building and staff development to meet the specific needs of many diverse groups resulting in development and growth for a wide variety of organizations. She is currently the coordinator of the program.
Billie-Jean McBride, BASc, BSW, MSW, RSW
Billie-Jean McBride is a full-time Professor teaching in the Social Service Worker Program at George Brown College. Billie-Jean self-identifies as a First Nations woman who has worked extensively within the First Nations community including a specialization in permanency planning within Child Welfare. She had ongoing contact with both First Nations Bands and extended family members to ensure the rights of Aboriginal children in permanency planning. This work led her to extensive travel as she strove to place children in the care of the most appropriate families. Billie-Jean is one of a few social workers in Ontario who did customary care, kinship care, kinship service, legal custody, and adoption. Within the field of adoption, she completed a diploma from the University of Toronto post-graduate program, the Toronto Advancement Professional Education. Within the field of Child Welfare, Billie-Jean was actively involved in the designing of curriculum for OACAS specific to permanency planning. She has also managed within child welfare specific to Resources including both adoption and foster care departments. Another career focus was to work in the field of addiction, specifically with women who have histories of childhood trauma. Billie-Jean currently works within the Social Work field within a diversion program for individuals who have their first impaired charge or their first drug possession charge.
Diane Moore is a professor and coordinator at George Brown College in the Career & Work Counsellor Program. She joined the college in 1998 as a member of the Counselling and Career Coaching team, and joined the Career & Work Counsellor Program faculty in 2005. Diane has also taught in the Social Service Worker program. Diane has worked in the field of career counselling, adult education, consulting and outplacement for the past twenty-five years. She was voted in 2009 as one of the top 20 professors at George Brown College by the student body.
An experienced keynote speaker and published author, Diane has written nearly 2,000 articles and conducted workshops for thousands of people on topics such as job interview skills, career management, dealing with change, conflict management, assertive communication and working with different personality styles. She has completed Life Skills I and II certification and also holds certifications in Career & Employment Information Specialist, Personality Dimensions, Survivability and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. She has also completed the Constructivist Counselling certificate at George Brown College. She is editor of The Office Professional newsletter and author of CareerAbility: Skills Office Professionals Need to Succeed in the 21st Century.
Diane has a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from York University, and a Master of Education in counselling psychology, from the University of Toronto. She received her Career Management Fellow (CMF) certification from the Institute of Career Certification in 2009 and joined the ICCI Board of Governors in 2010. She was elected to the Provincial Stewardship Group for certification in Ontario in 2011 and is currently Vice-Chair of the Group. She is a past member of the board of the Toronto Chapter of the Association of Career Professionals International.
Keith Nickson, M.A M.S.W. R.S.W.
Keith’s career covers journalism, counselling and teaching. He has edited medical magazines and published many freelance pieces in The Toronto Star and The Globe and Mail. In the community Keith worked as a counsellor in several agencies, with youth at risk and adults with mental health challenges. In the mid-1990s, Keith began an eight year stint with Redirection Through Education (RTE) a George Brown program for adults with mental health and addiction issues. Keith and the RTE faculty launched the annual World Mental Health Day Conference that has run at George Brown annually since 1999. Increasingly fascinated with teaching, Keith has been a faculty lead on the SSW Student Success initiative, participated in two George Brown ESL projects in China and recently presented at a national conference of SSW professors in Thunder Bay, On.
Professor Rick Owens, B.A.(York), B.S.W.(York), M.S.W. (Toronto), M.Ed. (O.I.S.E.)
Rick joined the Social Service Worker Program as a full-time faculty member in time for the 2011-2012 school year. He has 25 years of experience in the field, having worked in youth justice, children’s mental health, developmental services, health and education settings, in positions ranging from the front line to senior management. He is also an experienced teacher and trainer, and has been a part-time faculty member at the School of Social Work at York University for more than a decade. Rick’s practice and research interests include critical social work, social work education and critical pedagogy, restorative practices, youth justice, treatment responses to sexual violence, and direct practice in mental health.
Prior to joining the faculty in the Child and Youth Worker Program at George Brown, Donna Reid developed and delivered innovative, responsive programming for violent and at-risk youth and their families in the GTA for 23 years.
As Group Work Coordinator for Central Toronto Youth Services, a community-based Children’s Mental Health Center, Ms. Reid provided specific training and consultation to agencies providing direct service to both aggressive males and females.
Incorporating the four pillars that anchor the Child and Youth Worker curriculum; risk/resilience, anti-oppression and human rights, an ecological framework and restorative practice, Donna uses the classroom as a “stage” to engage students in applied and reflective learning. Theoretical concepts and experiences come alive as students learn best practice skills to be ‘agents of change” in the lives of the challenging youth of the future.
Donna has been teaching full-time in the Child and Youth Worker program for 9 years.
Zuby Saloojee, MEd, BA CYC, CYW; Professor Child & Youth Worker (CYW) Program at George Brown College since 1999. As a CYW, educator and activist, Zuby is dedicated to social justice and right based service to children, youth, families and communities. For close to 40 years her work in Canada has evolved from front-line child & youth work to program development, management, community development, & consultation/training. On behalf of the CYW Program she has initiated an annual Youth Social Justice Institute with community partners serving marginalized youth to provide an exchange of ideas on key issues and to promote partnerships, advocacy and resources for youth, families, and communities in changing times. Zuby has worked as a consultant locally and with the United Nations (UN) in South Africa (SA) & the SA Government- projects include reporting protocols on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). Her International work also includes a Canadian International Development Agency-South Africa (CIDA-SA) capacity building project for the Public Service in Central Africa. This broad based integrated experience lends itself to anchor best practices in inclusive paradigms in the college and in the education and training of Child & Youth Workers at George Brown College.
Amber R. Stiebel, BSW, M.A.Ed.
Amber has been a full-time Counsellor and Professor at George Brown College for 20 years. She currently is an Advisory Board member of The Homestead (treatment centre for women), Florence Booth Shelter and Evangeline Shelter. She taught for several years in the Community Worker program and for the past seven years has been teaching a wide variety of courses in the Social Service Worker program, including Communicating and Interviewing Skills, Mental Health Policy and Practice, Substance Abuse Counselling Skills (Special Topics), and Values, Ethics and Professional Practice. Amber’s work experience includes counselling youth who were homeless, and teaching life skills and employment skills to a wide diversity of youth, including youth with developmental challenges. In addition, Amber has counselled single homeless women with mental health issues and substance abuse issues, as well as homeless single mothers and children, many that had come from domestic abuse situations and others that were new to Canada. Also, Amber worked as a group facilitator for men living with AIDS, and a counsellor and group facilitator for men recovering from heroin addiction.
Natalie Wood, MA
Natalie is a full time Professor teaching in the SSW Program at George Brown College. Her areas of interest are Community Development, Community Economic Development/ Social Purpose Enterprise, Research and Proposal Writing, Communication and Interviewing, Values and Ethics, and the use of the Arts as a tool for research and empowerment of marginalized communities. For over 20 years she has worked in a variety of positions both managerial and front line in the social services field with marginalized communities such as, adults with dual diagnoses, women with concurrent disorders, trauma and abuse survivors, and women with mental health issues who are living in long-term poverty. She is also a community researcher, working as an art consultant on projects related to homeless women and trans-women and new immigrants and their experience of work, with the Arts and Social Work Research Institute at the Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto. She has co-written a number of articles and presented nationally at conferences related to community-based and arts-based research in the social work field. Selected awards include a Community Based Research Award of Merit, from the Centre for Urban Health Initiatives & the Wellesley Institute 2007, the New Pioneers Award for contribution to Arts and Culture, 2006 and the City of York Civic Recognition Award for using the Arts to work with marginalized communities, 1997.