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TRU School of Social Work and Human Service students will share their research at the Congress 2019 in Vancouver.

Oleksandr (Sasha) Kondrashov

May 26, 2019

Six TRU School of Social Work and Human Service Students are invited to share their research with the National Social Work Community at Congress 2019 in UBC Vancouver on June 3-6.

Everyday TRU social work students will have an opportunity to share their knowledge. On Monday, June 3rd TRU students will attend the Student Committee Meeting 1 (click on each link to find out the time and location of the sessions) and share their views on the future of social work curriculum with other students across Canada. TRU students who attended Congress 2018 in Regina commented how satisfied they were to learn that TRU is among very few Schools across Canada that offer unique electives, such as Trauma-informed practice, International social work and the Directed studies courses that students can in collaboration with faculty design the course to suit their educational needs. TRU students also have the opportunity to practice their presentation skills regionally and internationally by attending, for example, BC political science regional conference and International Social Work Conference in Dublin.

TRU Social Work faculty and students will come together and listen to the first keynote given by the Senator Dr. Wanda Thomas Bernard, a social work educator from Nova Scotia, and later will participate at the reception and first reunion opportunity where all TRU students, faculty, alumni and friends are invited to attend during the CASWE reception.

On Tuesday morning TRU student and CASWE student award winner Jill Coulter will share the Emerging Research on Culturally-Safe Sexualized Violence Response Services for International Students.  Jill will apply an intersectional feminist framework and an Anti-Oppressive, community-based participatory action approach to discover how to provide culturally-safe sexualized violence response services to international students in higher education institutions. TRU encourages students to conduct undergraduate research and recognize their work through the Undergraduate Research Experience Award Program (UREAP). Jill’s research includes an online survey and small focus groups with female and LGBTQ+ International student research participants from the three largest international, regional groups at Thompson Rivers University to discover what kind of SVRS international students would like to have available on campus.

On Tuesday during lunchtime TRU student Lanette LeWarne will share the poster to document the Neglect and the Overrepresentation of Indigenous Children in Care. Lanette’s research examines the definition of neglect within BC’s Child Family and Community Services Act (CFSCA) and its implications for Indigenous families living in poverty. Lanette recommends that a definition of neglect needs to be more extensive, includes the categorization of areas of neglect and recognizes structural issues that support assessment and investigation of neglect that is more effective in determining structural and individual risk.

On Tuesday afternoon TRU student Shauna Middleton will share research that demonstrates the Inadequacy of Suicide Prevention in Canada’s Arctic. Shauna’s work is a call for transformative action. Shauna found that suicidality among Indigenous peoples in Canada’s Arctic regions is a critical health issue that needs to be addressed immediately. The presentation will discuss the historical and contemporary contexts that have exacerbated the problem of poor mental wellness and lack of self-sufficiency among northern Indigenous communities and offer recommendations for action in solidarity with Indigenous peoples as experts through the Truth and reconciliation Calls to Action and culturally appropriate community-based services.

On Wednesday Shauna will go back to TRU to attend the convocation. We wish Shauna and the spring 2019 graduates all the success in the future. Keep sharing your knowledge and promote social work values in all your activities. For those students who will stay at the Congress they can attend the CASWE AGM, student committee meeting 2, and Oleksandr (Sasha) Kondrashov’s presentation on reforming social services CIDA funded project and the second reunion opportunity to celebrate 20 years of Canada-Ukraine partnership in social work education.

On Thursday morning Rayell Sellars-Sarnowski and Tiffany Gray will run 1.5-hour session and share their ideas on Bridging social work pedagogy. Rayell and Tiffany already attended Congress in 2018 and now will help conference participants to bridge the gaps within western pedagogies and indigenous ways of knowing within social work.  Rayell and Tiffany, through open dialogue, will discuss anti-oppressive, cultural competency, and Indigenous approaches within social work program. They will offer critical reflection and constructive feedback on how to improve social work education and to address the further “prioritization of western knowledge that continues today in Canadian universities.” Their suggestion includes the creation of relationships and reciprocity in challenging the hegemonic ways of being which have the potential to build solidarity and further social justice work, eliminating essentialism and honouring differences. The authors also suggest utilizing Self-In-Relations reflexive dialectical method or un-learning as a guiding principle in meaningful practice.

Carmen Saiad Shirabad, who also attended the CASWE conference in Regina, will share research on Transformative Action through Positive Social Work on Thursday afternoon. Carmen will be critically analyzing the common deficit-based approaches found within social work.  Carmen suggests that adopting a new perspective on social work based on positivity, strengths, and social supports can be fundamental in producing a creative generation of social workers who can implement transformative actions towards successful social justice. 

TRU social work students will voice multiple concerns related to different areas of social work practice, policy, education and research and provide ideas on how to implement changes that are consistent with professional values. If you are attending the Congress 2019, make sure you visit student’s presentations and support TRU social work students to promote social justice through transformative action.

Social Work Education in Greece

I had visited Greece in May 2019. It was a brief visit to Athens and Crete but helped me to map three Schools of Social Work:

GRE The Technological Educational Institute (TEI) of Athens Department of Social Work   http://www.teiath.gr/seyp/socialwork/index.php?lang=en

GRE Democritus University of Thrace Department of Social Administration and Political Science   https://socadm.duth.gr/en/the-department/welcome/

GRE The Technological Educational Institute (TEI) of Crete Department of Social Work   https://teicrete.gr/en/tke/10822

It was difficult to identify Schools for a number of reasons. I do not speak Greek and when I visited The Technological Educational Institute (TEI) of Athens Department of Social Work, the building was closed, and I was unable to find any person in the area who was able to locate the department. I was more fortunate in Heraklion, Crete and connected with Gloria from the International Relations Office at The Technological Educational Institute (TEI) of Crete. Gloria is a social worker and shared with me about new developments in social work education in Greece. The TEI in Crete was just abolished (May 2019) but a new university was founded in Heraklion:  Hellenic Mediterranean University. I will keep building connections and learning more about social work in Greece anf hope more partnership opportunities will be created between Canada and Greece Schools of Social Work.

Literature review helped me to learn more about social work education in Greece during the current crises of the welfare state. Social work is a relatively new profession in Greece.  The first school for the training of social workers in Greece commenced operation in 1937. However, it was not until 1959 that legislation was passed concerning the legal definition of social work. (Dedoussi, Gregory, Georgoussi, & Kyriopoulos, 2004).  Karagkounis (2017, 2019) from Democritus University of Thrace Department of Social Administration and Political Science provides a detailed overview of current challenges for social work education in Greece in the time of austerity. There are multiple articles of current concerns in social work education written by Papadaki from The TEI in Crete. The full list of reviewed literature can be found below.


Dedotsi, S., Young, A., & Broadhurst, K. (2016). Social work education in a time of national crisis in Greece: Educating the workforce to combat inequalities. European Journal of Social Work19(3-4), 368-384.

Dedoussi, A. A., Gregory, S., Georgoussi, E., & Kyriopoulos, J. (2004). Social workers in Greece: Who they are and where they work. International Social Work47(2), 259-274.

Georgoussi, E. (2003). Research note social workers in Greece: How they spend their working hours. European Journal of Social Work6(1), 65-71.

Ioakimidis, V., Santos, C. C., & Herrero, I. M. (2014). Reconceptualizing social work in times of crisis: An examination of the cases of Greece, Spain and Portugal. International Social Work57(4), 285-300.

Kandylaki, A. (2005). Social work practice in multicultural settings: A pilot study in Thrace, Greece: ‘Research Directions’ is an occasional series presenting initial findings from research in progress. For previous articles in the series, see SESP, vol. 5, nos 1 and 3. South European Society and Politics10(3), 433-451.

Karagkounis, V. (2017). Social work in Greece in the time of austerity: Challenges and prospects. European Journal of Social Work20(5), 651-665.

Karagkounis, V. (2019). Implications and challenges for social work education in Greece in the time of austerity. Social Work Education38(3), 330-346.

Koukouli, S., Papadaki, E., & Philalithis, A. (2008). Factors affecting the development of social work and its professionalisation process: the case of Greece. International journal of social welfare17(3), 216-224.

Papadaki, E., & Papadaki, V. (2008). Ethically difficult situations related to organizational conditions: Social workers’ experiences in Crete, Greece. Journal of Social Work8(2), 163-180.

Papadaki, E., Plotnikof, K., & Papadaki, V. (2012). Self-reported ageism in students and academic staff—the case of the Social Work Department in Crete, Greece. European Journal of Social Work15(5), 696-711.

Papadaki, V. (2001). Studying social work: choice or compromise? Students’ views in a social work school in Greece. Social Work Education, 20(1), 137-147.

Papadaki, V., & Nygren, L. (2006). ‘I’ll carry this experience with me throughout my studies and future career’: Practice tutorials and students’ views on social work in Iraklio, Greece. Social Work Education25(7), 710-722.

Papadaki, V., & Papadaki, E. (2006). Job satisfaction in social services in Crete, Greece: Social workers’ views. European Journal of Social Work9(4), 479-495.

Papadaki, V., Plotnikof, K., & Papadaki, E. (2013). Social work students’ attitudes towards lesbians and gay men: The case of the Social Work Department in Crete, Greece. Social Work Education32(4), 453-467.

Pentaraki, M. (2019). Practising social work in a context of austerity: Experiences of public sector social workers in Greece. European Journal of Social Work22(3), 376-387.

Symeonidou, H. (1996). Social protection in contemporary Greece. South European Society and Politics1(3), 67-86.