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New acting associate dean, graduate programs and scholarship
School of Social Work
Dr. Ken Barter

Prior to coming to Memorial in 1998 Dr. Barter was at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario. He moved to Thunder Bay in 1995 after a 30-year career in the public service, primarily in child welfare/ child protection, working within Health and Community Services Departments in NL, PEI and NWT. He has worked in many capacities, including front line, middle management, executive, and senior policy. He came to Memorial to assume the research chair in child protection role with the School of Social Work and remained in this position for five years. When funding ceased for this role he moved into a regular faculty position, continuing his research interest in child protection and community capacity building. He has been principal investigator in two major research initiatives regarding child abuse, child protection and community capacity building. He is also a co-investigator with a major CIDA project designed to introduce social work to Vietnam.

Dr. Barter has served on the board of directors of the Canadian Association of Social Work Educators (CASWE) for six years, serving as treasurer. He also chaired the CASWE governance task force committee for two years to review and revise the constitution and organizational structure of CASWE, both of which have since been approved by the membership and implemented. He also served two terms on the national board of the Child Welfare League of Canada.

As acting associate dean of graduate programs, Dr. Barter will be working with faculty and staff to ensure the School of Social Work continues to provide the quality education that is being delivered in the MSW and PhD programs. Both of these programs are in high demand provincially and nationally and also recruit international students. Social work is a profession with many challenges in our highly technical global society said Dr. Barter.

“It is key for the academy to be responsive to these challenges and assume a leadership role in advocating for social and economic change to facilitate equal opportunities for marginalized and disadvantaged individuals. It is important that the school takes a leadership role in its ethical obligations to promote social justice and graduate students who are committed to the same obligations.”

Dr. Barter explained that the school has experienced many changes and continues to institute new initiatives in responding to greater demands for programs and to needs in the community. The BSW as a second degree program, for instance, was in response to needs of the community.

“Social work by nature is a community-engaged profession. We strive to be a good resource to communities and employers.”

The MSW program was revised and now has had several cohorts enrolled. Both the MSW and PhD programs promote research and scholarship. Dr. Barter said he sees his role very much involved in this promotion.

The school’s new online journal, Intersectionalities, offers a forum for colleagues and faculty to publish in an international, peer reviewed journal. “We have launched our inaugural edition and are currently working on our second edition.”

Dr. Barter said the school is always looking at innovative ways of imparting knowledge and liaising with the community.

“The part that excites me about social work education is helping to inform well-educated, critical thinkers. We are striving to teach traditional social work values of social justice and helping vulnerable people not only in the traditional way, but also in innovative new ways. In terms of community involvement, our faculty members are involved with agencies, on community boards, and they are consultants and volunteers.”

Dr. Barter cited responding to an international applicant pool by interviewing PhD candidates via internet technology as one way the school is incorporating new ways of doing things.

Dr. Barter’s appointment is effective until Sept. 30, 2013, or until the permanent dean’s position with the school is filled and the current dean pro tempore, Dr. Donna Hardy Cox, returns to the associate dean’s position.

Apr 4th, 2013

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