Memorial University has appointed a new director to its School of Social Work. The appointment was approved by Memorial’s Board of Regents on July 8.
Dr. Alean Al-Krenawi (pronounced AH-LEEN ALL-KREH-NAH-WEE), who is wrapping up a nine-month secondment as a Killam Visiting Scholar with the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Social Work.
He is also the former chair of the Department of Social Work and former director of the Centre for Bedouin Studies and Development at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel. Over the past 15 years, he has conducted research in North America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Dr. Al-Krenawi officially began his new position on July 15, 2010. He said he was drawn to the role because of the skill and expertise he can offer, as well as his rich and varied experience as a scholar and academic in the “helping profession.”
“I am particularly attracted to the Memorial position because of the opportunities I believe it brings, and to the contributions I can make,” he said. “I am uniquely positioned to champion the aboriginal component of the program, being an indigenous person myself, and having founded and run myriad research and community development and training programs, I can bring a unique complement to the position.”
As a scholar, he has administered large teams of researchers, research assistants and allied personnel, and said that those capacities in leadership and mentoring could be usefully applied to areas of developmental priority at Memorial’s School of Social Work, including the doctoral program and mentoring opportunities of tenure-stream faculty.
Dr. Al-Krenawi has taught at the undergraduate and graduate levels throughout his career, and has a strong record of supervision and leadership at the graduate level. He also said that the prospect of being involved in the current steep growth at the School of Social Work at Memorial is particularly appealing.
“I suspect my experience as an academic administrator and mentor will be useful to the school,” he said.
Throughout his career, much of Dr. Al-Krenawi’s research has focused on rarely studied topics or perspectives, providing a voice to traditionally excluded or marginalized populations. His professional philosophy entails the integration of research and practice and is guided by the critical role of multiculturalism, cultural competence and sensitivity.
And while his training and main expertise lies in social work, he believes that complex research questions demand an interdisciplinary approach, integrating psychology, psychiatry, anthropology, gender studies and education.
Dr. Al-Krenawi emphasized that there are important parallels between the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Memorial. He said both are regional institutions, and both are the sole university in their respective regions. The populations of the universities are comparable, and the scope and scale of each school of social work is proportionate to the other.
And having spent several years living and studying in Canada – as well as collaborating extensively with a Canadian social work scholar at the University of Calgary and publishing with the Oxford University Press – he is more than ready to begin his next career challenge in Newfoundland and Labrador.
“I feel Canadian,” he said.