Safe, Healthy, Connected Communities

September 21, 2023

7:00 PM - 8:00 PM


Thank you to all who attended our 2023 Homecoming webinar. For those who were unable to make it, a recap of the event is available below, along with a recording of the webinar.

Some of Western Education’s best and brightest took centre stage for this year’s virtual Homecoming panel, “Safe, Healthy, Connected Communities: How is the Faculty of Education Poised to Help Canada and Beyond?"

Held on Sept. 21, the panel included Education professors Katreena Scott, Colin King and Augusto Riveros, who discussed the Faculty’s innovative and community-focused initiatives, while exploring how others can support the vital work.

Following opening remarks from Education Dean Donna Kotsopoulos, Scott launched the webinar with a brief overview of the life-saving work happening at the Centre for Research & Education on Violence Against Women & Children (CREVAWC), where Scott serves as the Academic Director.

Scott, who is also a psychologist and a Canada Research Chair in Ending Child Abuse and Domestic Violence, explained that CREVAWC’s goal is to “ensure every Canadian experiences safety in their interpersonal relationships, families, workplaces and communities.”

During the question-and-answer period, Scott was asked about what investments are needed to eradicate violence against women and children.

“We really should expect that we have a right to be safe… it’s a matter of deciding that safety is going to be a priority that we invest in,” Scott responded.

“That investment is in planning, it’s an investment in making sure that services are available for people.”

When it comes to domestic violence, Scott says it’s important to recognize that violence thrives in silence, secrecy and isolation.

“Being able to have conversations about safety, about violence, about abuse that’s happening is critical. Investing in programs that help people to have those conversations… those are the kind of things that we need to do and to continue to do,” Scott added.

During King’s remarks, audiences heard about the vital support offered at the Mary J. Wright Child and Youth Development Clinic (MJW-CYDC), where King serves as Director.

Funded by Western Education, the MJW-CYDC provides one-of-a-kind training to graduate students in the School and Applied Child Psychology program, while offering high-quality and affordable psychological consultation, assessment and mental health treatment services to children from three to 18 years of age.

These services are offered on a sliding scale payment plan, allowing families to access the MJW-CYDC at a significantly reduced price or at no cost, thanks to charitable donations from generous funders.

“We really do see ourselves as an extension of the London community and want to be able to work together to build a mental health system that works for everyone,” King said, adding that more than 1000 families have been supported through individual or group services offered by the clinic.

Riveros, the event’s third panelist, shined light on his interesting and highly relevant new research, which explores portable usage in Ontario schools and its impact on students.

The research found a growing trend of portables being used as seemingly permanent instructional facilities throughout the province. It also found a troubling association between portable counts within a school and EQAO test scores.

“As school starts having (10 or more) portables, their performance in math, reading, writing and literacy starts declining,” Riveros said.

In her closing remarks, Kotsopoulos reiterated the importance of supporting the initiatives presented during the webinar.

“What we know from the Conference Board of Canada is that every time we invest a dollar into any of this kind of work, there’s generally a $10 return to society,” Kotsopoulos said.

For those interested in making such an investment, more information can be found on the Giving to Western website.

A recording of this year’s Homecoming webinar is available below:

children with their arms around each other