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My Research Philosophy

In last twelve years of extensive teaching, I have accumulated a lot of knowledge that I am looking forward to sharing using written language. My publication record is in the process of developing. As I transitioned from publishing in my native Ukrainian language to English, I am looking forward to building my publication record in English peer-reviewed journals.

I already have some publications in the Ukrainian language that focus on youth involvement and social development in Ukraine. My first area where I conducted research is Canada is related to the immigration studies and adaptation experience of the Ukrainian immigrants. My first major publication in English was an MSW thesis entitled An exploratory study of the fourth wave Ukrainian immigration in Winnipeg: Problems and perspectives of immigrants’ adaptation (available online: http://mspace.lib.umanitoba.ca/handle/1993/8039) that I completed in 2008 three months before I started my Ph.D. program in social work. I also have published some articles in local Winnipeg newspaper (http://www.ukrainianwinnipeg.ca/june-2015-4/ (p.14-15) on the history of Ukrainian immigration and plan to work more on publishing a book on Ukrainian immigration to Winnipeg that includes parts of my study. In future, I also plan to continue my research in this area and focus on the 5th wave of Ukrainian immigration that resulted from the recent war in Eastern Ukraine. I also hope to compare the immigration experience of Ukrainian settlers in three Prairie provinces in Canada where the majority of Ukrainian immigration occurred in the last 100 years and how social services responded to the needs of immigrants to locate the best practices for providing settlement supports that involve the existing community structure.

The second major area for my future publications is related to my Ph.D. work on social work distance education. I have presented at many CASWE and IASSW conferences (http://eposters.swsd2014.org/e-poster/2829_Kondrashov_Oleksandr_1410.pdf) in last six years while doing my study and after completing my research in 2016, I plan to publish some articles to highlight the research results with the wider community and work on future research projects to study the effectiveness of social work distance education. My future studies will include surveying social work students and service providers on their perceptions how the effectiveness of social work distance learning programs can be improved. After attending First Social Work Distance Education Conference in Indianapolis in 2015, I hope to conduct an international study of social work distance learning in the US to compare and expand my findings from Ph.D. research. Social work distance learning is a growing area of research, and I anticipate the growth of social work distance learning programs in Canada and around the world and a need for best practices in delivering social work content via online education. I also plan to publish more articles on the educational techniques that I used in teaching online courses, such as wiki collaborative tools to build annotated bibliography for course projects, best practices in an online web conferencing and online discussion on sensitive topics.

The third area for my future publications is related to my extensive post-secondary teaching experience. In last ten years after teaching more than 120 times, I have accumulated an extensive knowledge on design and delivery of social work curriculum using different delivery formats. I plan to share my experience through the use of publications and highlight my experience in teaching social work content in remote areas and Northern Indigenous communities and ideas on how to design creative projects that not only benefit students learning but also support local communities. I have recently published an example of one of those course projects that positively impacted local community: Makoonsag fundraiser 2012: Putting theory into practice in social work education. (http://intranet.umanitoba.ca/academic_support/catl/media/Volume_20_Spring_NO_3_2012_Path__to__Pedagogy_final.pdf, p.12-14)

In future, I am looking forward to using more collaboration and partnership with my former students and other social work educators to publish research on areas related to social work education. I have conducted some guest lectures in different countries and plan one day to teach the course simultaneously in Canada and Ukraine so that students can benefit from the international learning experience. I plan to conduct a study that track the story of six social work students from Ukraine who thanks to the CIDA-funded project were able to continue their MSW education in Canada and how international social work impacted their life and what can be done to promote greater collaboration among social workers around the world.

My ultimate goal is to develop a social work curriculum that will be accessible worldwide and can be adapted to serve the needs of people in every corner of the world. I believe that international social work has a potential to transform lives for many people. I am one of the examples how one international social work project positively changed my life, the life of my family and now impacted lives of more than 3000 students with whom I have shared my passion for social work by teaching them at least one of the CASWE-accredited BSW degree courses.

One of the recommendations from my Ph.D. study was to develop a learning repository for social work distance educators, and I hope in next ten years to develop a reliable resource list for teaching social work courses online. I have started my collection by generating the list of songs for social work that can be used in designing creative course assignments. Here is the link to youtube playlist: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0m9V016ZlwI&list=PLBkb7GcuZ8m-qQ_Upai5sUNsRFAbnIYPt. I also organized a separate playlist of songs for peace in English and French that can be accessed through my youtube channel. Another online project is the collection of social advertisements that I compile yearly to raise awareness of social work related issues around the world. Here is the link to the list from 2015: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLBkb7GcuZ8m_zjcazIUx4d3MNpe8UCLKj

I plan to continue gathering resources that can facilitate learning of social work content and will add more songs and initiate the list of social work inspired poetry, quotes, cartoons. I also created a list of movies for teaching social work theory, cross-cultural and courses related to conflict, development and displacement that I plan to upload online in a near future. With students we are currently building lists of prominent social workers that promote the development of the profession in Canada and books for teaching Canadian social work history and community social work courses. I also recently created with the help of social work librarian a list of memoirs for teaching International Social Work course. All those lists have been established and maintained with the help of my current, and former students, and I plan to partner with more of my students to promote social work profession and to encourage students to find creative solutions to current social issues.

In next few years, I plan to open a personal web page where I will upload all my course outlines and publish lectures to provide free access to all resources I have accumulated in last ten years. It is a life-long project, but I hope with the help of my former students and other social work educators we will build secure repository to ensure that future social work educators have all the resources needed to inspire distance education students and make social work education accessible across the globe.

The last area of social work research that I want to highlight in this document is related to the field of gerontology. It is one of the areas that I have acquired a lot of expertise in last ten years. I have taught a number of courses where we discuss with students issues related to aging. I also deliver lectures on topics related to current trends in aging research (SWRK 3130 Contemporary Social Welfare Policy: pension system and Canadian seniors; SWRK 2110 Emergence of Canadian Welfare State: evolution of Canadian social welfare protection for elderly; SWRK 2130 Comparative Social Welfare System: comparison among pension systems in 10 welfare states around the world). I have prepared lecture on retirement planning for FMLY 2400 Family Financial Health course and human development during “sunset years” for FMLY 1020 Family Issues Across Life Span course and lecture on Elderly people and Human Rights for FMLY 1012 Introduction and Social Development course as well as Ageism and Elder Abuse for SWRK 6040 Anti-oppressive social work practice course.  The hallmark of my current research on aging is a three credit hour course FMLY 3240 Family in Later Years that I have taught in winter 2014 term. In this course, I and 50 social work and family social sciences students developed a comprehensive database of peer-reviewed resources on issues related to aging (wiki project https://wiki.cc.umanitoba.ca/tw/tiki-index.php?page=FMLY+3240+Family+in+Later+Years ). I do plan to continue my research on aging and connect it to my passion for education and how to use technology to ensure successful aging for everyone. Many students taking the FMLY 3240 course are now considering working in agencies that provide services for seniors to promote their rights and provide support in meeting seniors’ needs.  The need for such services will be expanding in next ten years, and I want to make sure that social work perspective is strongly promoted in this field of research.

I am very excited to continue my research and foster the development of social work profession both in Canada and around the world.

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