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Carla Alexander, MSW, PhD, RSW

VP of Canadian Programs, BC

In this role, Carla provides focused leadership for CityU’s British Columbia campuses by fostering interdisciplinary initiatives, liaising with accreditors, and working to enrich students’ campus experiences. Over the course of her 17-year career in Canadian college and university settings, she has held several positions including program coordinator, instructor, professor, and associate program director. Her expertise extends to curriculum development, faculty supervision, and the creation of inclusive learning environments. 

Dr. Alexander demonstrates a deep commitment to engaging diverse groups of people and leading the development of sustainable programs in both non-profit and academic settings. Her background in social work and community development informs her relational and strengths-based approach to engaging people to articulate collective vision(s) and working together respectfully. Her research focuses on understanding how social work education and institutional dynamics impact relationships with clients. She is committed to ensuring the inclusion of indigenous students and people with disabilities in educational and professional settings. 


My SSHRC-funded doctoral research focused on how social workers manage mutuality and reciprocity in their relationships with clients. I am interested in how helping professionals are trained and socialized to work with service users, clients, or students and how the culture of the institution and professionalization support or interfere with effective, mutually life-enhancing relationships.

  • Charles, G., Alexander, C., & Oliver, C. (2014). Overcoming isolation: Making the case for the development of blended service learning and social work interprofessional field education experiences to improve university-community engagement. Currents, 13(1).
  • Charles, G. & Alexander, C. (2014). An introduction to interprofessional concepts in social and health care settings. Journal of Relational Child and Youth Care Practice, 27 (3), 51-55.
  • Alexander, C. (2013). Doctoral Dissertation: Mutuality and reciprocity in relationships: Generalist social workers’ considerations and strategies for managing their relationship with clients.
  • Charles, G., Dharamsi, S., & Alexander, C. (2011). Interprofessional Field Education: Reciprocal Learning for Collaborative Practice. In Shifting Sites of Practice. Eds. N. Clark, J. Doulet & H. Allen. Toronto: Pearson Press.
  • Alexander, C. (2010). Social worker-client relationships: Can we accept gestures of care from our clients? Perspectives, 32 (1), 18-19.
  • Walsh, C., Beamer, K., Alexander, C., Shier, M., Loates, M. (2010). Listening to the silenced: Informing homeless shelter design for women through investigation of site, situation, and service. Social Development Issues, 32 (3), 35-49.
  • Alexander, C. & Charles, G. (2009). Caring, mutuality and reciprocity in social worker-client relationships:  Rethinking principles of practice. Journal of Social Work, 9 (1), 5-22.
  • Alexander, C. (2008). Reciprocity makes a difference. Journal of Relational Child and Youth Care Practice, 21 (2), 27-35
  • Alexander, C. (2007). You are what you do. Journal of Relational Child and Youth Care Practice, 20 (3), 17-21.
  • Charles, G. & Alexander, C. (2007). Gaps in our approaches to youth substance use and abuse. Substance Abuse in Canada: Youth in Focus. Ottawa, ON: Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse. pp 38-45.
  • Alexander, C. (2006). Master’s Thesis: Social workers’ experiences of being cared for by their clients.
  • Alexander, C. (2005). Newcomer Mapping Project, Immigrant Services Society of BC. Vancouver, BC.
  • Alexander, C. (1996). Stop, Look and Listen: A Proactive Strategy on Sexual Assault at McGill University. Montreal, QC: McGill Student Society.
  • Research Gate:

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