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Message from the Director

Message from the Director

Welcome to the School of Social Work at Memorial University of Newfoundland.

As the only university in Newfoundland and Labrador, we have a special obligation to the people of this province.

Within the School we carry out that responsibility by providing degree (BSW, MSW, PhD) and continuing education programs, conducting and disseminating research, and applying our knowledge and skills to efforts which address local needs and problems.

As global citizens, we also have much to contribute to and gain from others, so we welcome students “from away”; we maintain strong connections to national and international organizations dealing with social work education and scholarship; and, our faculty are involved in research that combine relevance to Newfoundland and Labrador and other parts of the country and the world.

As a result of globalization and economic, social and cultural diversity, today’s social workers face challenges that demand knowledge and skills and span both practice and policy. Our School takes these challenges very seriously. Our strong combination of solid theory, tireless outreach and unwavering principles of social justice – as well as our devotion to strengthening human relationships -- is what defines us. These core values are at the heart of what we do, what we say and how we practise our profession.

So what makes the School of Social Work at Memorial University different than the rest? The uniqueness of the geography and population of Newfoundland and Labrador lends itself to a rich teaching experience and varied community engagement opportunities. The diversity among our faculty, both personally and professionally, leads to valuable discourse. Our model of teaching with indigenous people allows students to achieve enhanced cultural and racial awareness and understanding, and offers direction for dealing with diversity. Our professors are hands-on experts who connect throughout the province and beyond - by volunteering, creating policy and leading the way. Our graduates become educators, practitioners and visionaries who help build and shape unity in communities both locally and globally.

As its new director, I am very pleased to lead this nationally and internationally recognized School of Social Work. The timing is ideal: the School’s trajectory has been and continues to be on the rise. Our academic reputation continues to grow. And we are distinguishing ourselves by specializing in emerging areas of social work research, education and practice. The ambassadors of the School – our students and graduates – are poised and eager to make a difference not only in Newfoundland and Labrador, but nationally and internationally in the social work profession.

An exciting example of the work we have accomplished in recent months is a program currently underway in Labrador. Our School has established a bachelor of social work program conducted entirely in the community of Happy Valley-Goose Bay for its Inuit citizens, the first of its kind in the country. The program was introduced to develop and implement a social work program that will reflect indigenous and aboriginal culture and values, which in turn will prepare its graduates to function in a multicultural society.

Overall, we have 200 undergraduate students enrolled in our bachelor of social work program: 181 in St. John’s and 19 in Happy Valley-Goose Bay. We also have a combined total of 86 graduate students enrolled in the master’s and PhD programs.

As expressed in our vision statement, our School’s central purpose is to strengthen human relationships and promote social justice through academic excellence. To this end, our School is passionate about, and dedicated to, student learning. The rigorous application of this basic principle will continue to result in active and thriving communities worldwide.

From the bachelor program through to the doctoral level, we endeavour daily to provide high quality education which nurtures critical and creative thinking. In this way, we prepare graduates for professional social work practice in rural and urban settings, encourage interprofessional collaboration and develop social work leadership. Our programs also employ distance education technologies, as appropriate, in order to increase accessibility for students and practitioners in remote locations.

We’ve organized this website to provide you easy access to information regarding our various programs and activities. We would like to link you to useful social work resources and introduce you to the team of people who make up the School’s community. You may like to learn more about the people you might soon be learning from.

And remember: should you wish to contact us for any reason, we are just an e-mail or phone call away.

Alean Al-Krenawi, PhD
Director and Professor

If you have any questions about the School or our programs, please call the general office at (709) 737-8165.

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