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
Child and Youth Worker & Fast Track
416-415-5000, ext. 3000
Child and Youth Worker (Fast Track)
416-415-5000, ext. 2316
Intervenor For Deaf-Blind Persons
416-415-5000, ext. 2357
Career and Work Counsellor
416-415-5000, ext. 2496
American Sign Language - English Interpreter
ASL and Deaf Studies
Jen Porter (view bio)
Behavioural Science Technology
416-415-5000, ext. 2763
Felice Markowicz (view bio)
Social Service Worker
416-415-5000, ext. 2696
Maureen Boettcher (view bio)
Social Service Worker Fast Track
416-415-5000, ext. 6070
Behavioural Science Technology and Autism & Behavioural Science
416-415-5000, ext. 6064
Resh Budhu (view bio)
Lynne Brennan (view bio)
Chandra Budhu (view bio)
Robin Buyers (view bio)
William R. Gapen (view bio)
Ken Hamilton (view bio)
Billie-Jean McBride (view bio)
Keith Nickson (view bio)
Amber R. Stiebel (view bio)
Robert Stromer (view bio)
Natalie Wood (view bio)
Benj Wu (view bio)
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.
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.
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.
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.
Jennifer Donnelly, MADS, BCBA, Masters of Applied Disability Studies, Board Certified Behaviour Analyst.
She has worked with individuals with autism for over twelve years utilizing the principles of Applied Behaviour Analysis with a special emphasis on Verbal Behaviour. She has experience working with a wide range of learners providing consultation and instruction. Jennifer has been with George Brown College since 2009 where she began part time before moving to a full-time position as Professor in the Behavioural Science and Technology program. In addition, she is an associate of Establishing Operations Inc. and also has a private practice where she provides workshops and consultative services to families, private ABA centres and schools in Canada, USA, and abroad.
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).
Ken Hamilton, BST, St. Lawrence College, BA Ryerson University, M.Ed.
Ken is an experienced practitioner and teacher. He has 15 years of experience doing applied behaviour analysis, behaviour therapy, and behavioural consultation with a variety of special populations. Currently, he is a Professor (Autism and Behavioural Science, and Behavioural Science Technology) in the School for Social and Community Services at George Brown College. His clinical and research interests include developmental disability and adolescences, behavioural systems for residential living and working with people with particularly challenging behaviours as well as training others in the methods of doing so.
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.
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.
Jen Porter, MADS, BCBA
Jen has been working in the field of Behaviour Analysis for the past 10 years. Jen began her work in ABA in the Dual Diagnosis field before moving to Toronto to take the Behavioural Science Technology diploma at George Brown College. Upon completion of the program, Jen moved into the field of Autism (early intervention), and parent/staff training. Jen began teaching in the BST program in 2006 and continued private consultation in the areas of parent/staff training and Autism intervention. Jen completed her Master’s degree at Brock University in Disability Studies with a specialization in Applied Behaviour Analysis, where she focused on parent/staff training and behavioural education strategies. Jen became a Board Certified Behaviour Analyst in January of 2011, and continues her work as Coordinator and full time Professor in the BST program 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.
Robert Stromer, Ph.D., BCBA®-D
Robert is a Behaviour analyst with experience as a school psychologist (Nevada), mental health clinician (Kansas), university professor and discipline coordinator (Northern Michigan University), and researcher (University of Massachusetts Medical School – Shriver Center). His research at the Shriver Center was funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the Organization for Autism Research. He has published extensively and has served on the editorial boards of The Behaviour Analyst and the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of behaviour; he served both as a board member and associate editor for the Journal of Applied Behaviour Analysis. Currently, he is a professor in the School of Social and Community Services, George Brown College, Toronto, Ontario. His current work focuses on translating research findings into training materials and manuals for everyday practice, and on computer-based technologies for teaching children with autism and related disorders. He also serves on the advisory board of a company developing educational software for individuals with special needs.
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.
Professor Benj Wu, M.A.
Benji is currently a professor in the School of Social and Community Services, George Brown College, Toronto, Ontario. He teaches full time in the Behavioural Science Technology Programme. He has worked extensively as a Behaviour analyst in various consulting and programme management roles within Ontario ministries of children and youth services, community and social services, safety and correctional services, education and health. As a private consultant in applied Behaviour analysis, he continued his work with various special needs client populations. He specializes in