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Funke Oba

Associate Professor
EducationMSc, MSW, PhD
OfficeEPH-220, Eric Palin Hall
Phone416-979-5000, ext. 544581
Areas of ExpertiseAnti-Black Racism, Afrocentric Theory, Decolonizing Praxis; Asset based Youth Engagement; Immigration, Immigrants and Refugees; Child Welfare; Domestic Violence; Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Helping Professions; North-South Collaborations/Social Work in Africa

Funke Oba, associate professor, and celebrated teacher has received teaching awards from TMU, Wilfrid Laurier University and a President’s Teaching and Learning scholar award at the University of Regina. Dr. Oba brings to her work a background in clinical practice and community organizing, Afrocentric pedagogy and experiential learning to create or redesign courses such as TMU’s first anti-Black racism social work course, courses on Canadian diversity, social change, and social movements as well as an intercultural practice course and an interdisciplinary leadership seminar created for Faculty of Community Services Black students.

Reflective self-study and an interest in the scholarship of teaching and learning connects her teaching with her research which integrates Black elders, art, drumming, dance and Afrocentric sharing circles with a common thread of cultural appreciation and transnational reciprocity. Dr. Oba seeks to forge North-South collaborations with African partners under the aegis of the Carnegie Foundation as a fellow and African Diaspora visiting scholar. Dr. Oba has mentored over 50 graduate/undergraduate student researchers, post doctoral candidates and global interns. She is a proud alumnus of Lagos Business School’s Advanced Management Program and has clinical experience in Child Welfare, Domestic violence, and Field Education sectors.

Dr. Oba is a past president of the African Canadian Association of Waterloo Region, the founder of Community Academic Reciprocal Engagement (CARE) for Black youth, and Leading While Black projects. She sits on the boards of the Working Center, Kitchener, The Compass Center for Refugees, Kitchener and The Roots of a Black Girl project, Toronto.

Teaching responsibilities

  • SK 8105 Field Integration Seminar
  • SK 8101 Critical Issues in Marginalization
  • SK 8104 Major Research Practice 
  • SK 8214 Anti-Black Racism Social Work Practice
  • SWP 341 Transformative Social Work Practice

Teaching interests

  • Group work practice
  • Child welfare/domestic violence prevention and treatment
  • Understanding Canadian diversity/intercultural social work practice /immigration and settlement
  • Community practice, social change, and social movements
  • Field integration seminars (local/international) experiential learning, arts-based participatory research
  • Reciprocal faculty/student exchanges and summer research institute

Professional affiliations

  • Member, Association of Social Work Educators Nigeria (ASWEN)
  • Member, Nigerian Association of Social Workers
  • Fellow Carnegie Foundation and African Diaspora visiting scholar
  • Member, Pediatric Death Review Committee, office of the Solicitor General
  • Member, Academic Hub of York University’s Youth Research and Evaluation Exchange (YouthRex)
  • Member, Continental African Scholars Network - Canada (CASN)
  • Associate, Tshepo Institute for the study of contemporary Africa
  • Founder, Community Academic Reciprocal Engagement, 2015 and Leading While Black seminars, 2021
  • Board member, The Working Center, Compass Refugee Center, Advisor, Roots of a Black Girl Project
  • First Female President, African Canadian Association, Waterloo Region, and Area 2010-2012
  • Mentor, Nigerians in Region of Waterloo (NIROW) 

Research Interests

  • Scholarship of teaching and learning in helping professional disciplines (social work, nursing, education)
  • Afrocentric, transformative, arts-based experiential research, teaching and practice approaches
  • Immigration and settlement, Black youth, immigrant labour market integration, food security, older Black adults, child welfare, Domestic violence, Community practice/social change and social action
  • North-South collaboration, professionalizing social work field education, reciprocal internationalization. 

 Research Projects

  • Project: Beyond Anti-Black Racism Training to Transformational Action
    Year: 2023-2027
    Role: Co-Applicant
    Funding received: $400,000
    Funded by: Public Health Agency of Canada
  • Project: Revealing Black Undergraduate Nursing Students’ Experiences in Saskatchewan
    Year: 2022-2025
    Role: Co-Applicant
    Funding received: $114,376
    Funded by: SSHRC IG
  • Project: The COVID-19 Pandemic and Food Insecurity in African Caribbean Black-Identifying Households in Waterloo Region
    Year: 2022-2023
    Role: Principal Applicant
    Funding received: $24,999
    Funded by: SSHRC PEG
  • Project: Strengthening the Social Capital of Older Black Adults in Canada in the Era of COVID-19
    Year: 2021-2022
    Role: Co-Investigator
    Funding Received: $25,000
    Funded by: SSHRC PEG
  • Project: From Vulnerability to Resilience: Highly Skilled African Immigrants' Experiences in the Quebec Labour Market
    Year: 2021-2023
    Role: Co-Investigator
    Funding Received: $67,969
    Funded by: SSHRC IDG
  • Project: Leading While Black, Debriefing George Floyd, Black Lives Matter and Leading
    Year: 2021
    Role: Principal Applicant
    Funding received: $5,000
    Funded by: Faculty of Community Services, Equity and Inclusion Grant
  • Project: Schooling Experiences of Black Youth in Saskatoon
    Year: 2019
    Role: Principal Investigator
    Funding received: $70,535
    Funded by: SSHRC Insight Development Grant
  • Project: Indigenizing and Professionalizing Social Work at the University of Lagos
    Year: 2019
    Role: Fellow/African Diaspora Scholar and Visiting Scholar
    Funding received: All expenses paid - $50,000 equivalent
    Funded by: Carnegie Foundation
  • Project: Promoting African Refugee Youth Transition to Post-Secondary Education
    Year: 2018-2024
    Role: Co-Investigator/Provincial Lead for Saskatchewan
    Funding Received: $240,000
    Funded by: SSHRC Insight Development Grant - Sub- grant
  • Project: Exploring Racial Justice in High School Climates through Music Performance
    Year: 2018
    Role: Collaborator
    Funding received: $25,000
    Funded by: SSHRC Partner Engagement Grant
  • Project: Experiences of Identity Formation among Non-Dominant Students in Helping Professions
    Year: 2018-2020
    Role: Co-Investigator
    Funding received: $65,000
    Funded by: SSHRC, Insight Development Grant
  • Project: Engaging Saskatchewan Black Community in Participatory Research
    Year: 2018-2019
    Role: Principal Investigator
    Funding Received: $2,497
    Funded by: Saskatchewan Center for Patient-Oriented Research (SCPOR)
  • Project: Equipping Students to Engage Diversity
    Year: 2017-2018
    Role: Principal Investigator
    Funding Received: $4,900
    Funded by: University of Regina Presidents Teaching and Learning Scholar Fund
  • Project: Knowledge Mobilization
    Year: 2020-2023
    Role: Principal Applicant
    Funding Received: $13,500
    Funded by: Internal publication, travel and EDI fund for creating Afrocentric course.
  • Project: MITACS Global Students Summer Internship
    Year: 2019
    Role: Principal Applicant
    Funding Received: $30,000 (All expenses paid and stipends for two interns)
    Funded by: MITACS Global grant
  • Project: Community Academic Reciprocal Engagement (CARE) for Black Youth
    Year: 2016-2017
    Role: Principal Applicant
    Funding Received: $33,8000
    Funded by: Women’s College Hospital


  • Oba, O. Nwanna, C. (2020), Field Education Manual, Department of Social Work, University of Lagos, Compass publishers, Lagos, Nigeria.


Journal articles

Submitted - Under Review

  • Gyan, C.; Lafreiniere, G.; Diallo, L.; Masakure, O.; Oba, F.; Baffoe, M.; Duhaney, P. Making Sense of Barriers to Integrating into the Quebec Labor Market: The Experiences of Anglophone Highly Skilled African Immigrants". International Migration Review. Manuscript ID IMRE-2023-11-4380.

Selected publications and presentations 

  • Gahu Project Music Performance and Social Justice Circle, 2019
  • Artwork created and exhibited at closing ceremony by CARE participants, 2016
  • Mural created by CARE participants 2017
  • CARE video, 2017, 2018
  • Dean's Teaching Award, Toronto Metropolitan University, 2022
  • Emerging Scholar Award, Diversities in Organizations Conference, 2019
  • Presidents Teaching and Learning Scholar Award, University of Regina, 2017
  • Wilfrid Laurier University Teaching Excellence Award, 2017
  • Interdisciplinary Social Sciences Conference, Prague, Emerging Scholar Award, 2013