March is Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning (CEWIL) Month, with the National Day of Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) falling on March 24, 2021.  King’s increasingly has provided many curricular and co-curricular initiatives for that support student learning and development inside and outside the classroom. Even under the restrictions put in place due to COVID-19, King’s has continued to look for ways to incorporate work-integrated learning for the benefit of both the university and the community as a whole.

The School of Social Work Field Education office has been able to continue their community partnerships and secure placements for all of their students.   A remote learning plan model was created to virtually place students at agencies such as the Salvation Army London Centre of Hope Recovery Community Centre, the Parkinson Society Southwestern Ontario and at the London Middlesex Community Housing to name a few. Students have been engaged in remote counselling and assessment, policy creation, wellness checks, as well as program and community development.

Mary Kay Arundel, Coordinator of Field Education at King’s School of Social Work, says she knew students would rise to the occasion, despite some difficult conversations, hard choices and change of plans. “I want to commend everyone in the program for pivoting, rolling up their sleeves and wanting to get it done,” says Arundel.

King’s is in the second year of partnership with CityStudio London, that connects post-secondary institutions with City of London staff to co-create applied projects and work towards a better city for all.

King’s University College joined the initiative in its 2019/20 academic year with five CityStudio courses in a variety of disciplines, including Social Justice and Peace Studies/Political Science, Sociology, Psychology, and Disability Studies. Students who take these courses are matched with city staff, learn about current issues in the city, and apply their knowledge and skills to research and implement creative solutions for civic issues.

"As a result of applying my own innovation to create real change in the community, I believe that from my policy analysis, I have created a direct and positive impact on people living with disabilities in London,” says Michaeline Falla, a Foundation Year student in Master of Social Work. As a fourth-year fourth-year student in Thanatology and Disability Studies, Falla was in a course called Changing Context and Practices, which contributed a Disability Studies’ project, “The City of London’s Workplace Diversity and Inclusion Plan,” presented at last April’s Virtual HUBBUB, aimed to use a disabilities lens to work towards an inclusive and supportive workplace culture in the City of London.

King’s has continued to partner with CityStudio, taking part in their Virtual Hubbub event last April and December (and will be doing again on April 29, 2021.)

Internships and practicums have continued at King’ s undertaken remotely and virtually. While they may have looked much different than in year’s past, students, such as the Communications interns from Western University and Fanshawe College, were able to overcome challenges to gain valuable experience.

The communications interns took the internship as seriously as they would with a real job, regardless of the circumstances. During this unexpected time, they created various types of communications tactics: videos, graphics for social media, social media posts, and web stories. They also witnessed how to handle crisis communications under strong leadership.

Additionally, the Student Affairs Department has hosted practicum/placement opportunities in partnership with the School of Social Work. These students have helped to further compliment the work of the professional staff and enhance the well-being students through offering supervised counselling support of students. 

Annually, King’s normally provides over a hundred on-campus employment opportunities.  During COVID-19, King’s has also continued to offer on-campus employment and work-study opportunities to support our students, faculty, and staff, including as library assistants, international student staff and residence staff. These on-campus jobs, conducted virtually, serve as a convenient way for student to gain valuable work experience and earn money while working at Kings while completing their degree.

For more information on the range of experiential learning including work-integrated learning available at King's, please visit: https://www.kings.uwo.ca/current-students/student-affairs/career-connect/experience/