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Sylvia Woodsworth Campbell was a guidance counsellor and educator at Atkinson College, York University, who advocated for continuing education for women re-entering the workforce or beginning second careers.
She was born on 22 May 1917 in Kobe Japan. Her parents worked as missionaries in Japan since 1913. Her father, Dr. Henry Woodsworth, brother of the politician J.S. Woodsworth, was Dean of the Literary College of Kwansei Gakuin until his death in 1939. She was educated at the Canadian Academy in Kobe, where she received her high school diploma in 1935. In 1940, she graduated from Queen's University with a Bachelor's degree in Liberal Arts and received a Master's degree in Social Work from the University of Toronto in 1942. Sylvia's husband, Harry Cummings Campbell, was the Chief Librarian of the Toronto Public Library from 1956 to 1978. Harry and Sylvia had three children, Sheila (b. 1944), Bonnie (b. 1946), and Robin (b. 1949). The Campbell family lived in Ottawa, New York, and France, before settling in Toronto in 1956.
Between 1942 and 1944, Campbell worked at the Ottawa Children's Aid Society. In 1964, Campbell was hired as a consultant at Atkinson College at York University and made recommendations on continuing education programs for women returning to the labour force. In 1965, when the Centre for Continuing Education was established at Atkinson College, she was hired by Counselling Services. With the title, "Student Advisor," she organized a series of "Second Career" seminars for women who were interested in returning to the labour force. In 1970, she became Director of the Counselling Services at Atkinson College. She published guides for students such as "Suggestions for Effective Study," and "Guide to the Presentation of an Essay" and developed workshops on study skills, writing and research, and English as a Second Language. She was also chairman of the Audio-Visual committee of the John Ross Robertson Home and School Association, which organized screenings of films related to women and employment.
In 1973, Campbell was given the position of Senior Counselor in Counselling Services at Atkinson College. She held this position until her retirement in 1982. She also played an active role establishing the Social Work education programs of York University. In 1976 she completed a Master's degree in Adult Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE). Her thesis was on the role of counselling in the policies of the federal government and was titled, "An Exploratory Study of Selected Canada Manpower Centres in Ontario." She was made an Honorary Life Member of the Canadian University and College Counselling Association (CUCCSA). She was a member of the Ontario College of Certified Social Workers and the Canadian Association of Professional Social Workers.
In 1984, Sylvia and Harry were appointed by the Chinese Ministry of Education and the Canadian Executive Service Overseas (CESO) to teach English and counsel graduate students at the Heifei Teacher Training Institute and the University of Science and Technology of China, located in Hefei, the capital of Anhui province, China. When in Hefei, Sylvia visited the Anhui Women Federation. When she returned to Canada, she worked with the Canada China Friendship Association to organize a group tour for students and faculty from Anhui to visit Toronto, Niagara Falls, Vancouver, Regina, and Ottawa.
After her death, a bursary was created in her memory at the University of Victoria, the University of Toronto. The bursary is offered to international female students at the bachelor level at the University of Toronto.