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Carla Alexander, MSW, PhD, RSW

Associate Director

I have served as Associate Director and Internship Coordinator since August 2018. In this role, I enjoy collaborating with faculty, school counselling mentors and other stakeholders to provide a meaningful internship experience to students where they are prepared to work ethically and skillfully in authentic relationships. I work with the MEd team to support the community of associate faculty to contribute their expertise to the program, and to ensure program curriculum is relevant and responsive to changing context, knowledge and practices.

My background in community-based clinical and community development work with children and families, as well as over 10 years of post-secondary instruction and program coordination in social work, child and youth care, and other helping profession educational programs informs this work.


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:

I hope to engage students in the pleasure of learning how to do what they want to do. I am motivated by the important and meaningful work of helping others, which is what brings students to the program, classroom and field placement. A foundation for learning and growing is caring and encouraging relationships.

I believe that each person will have their own way of seeing the world, being in the world, and contributing to the community through their profession. As an instructor, I provide opportunities to experiment with an approach and compare and contrast it to others. I invite students to be engaged by what matters to them, and to attend to the effect of their actions.


I work with students directly as an instructor in Internship and other program courses, and as a capstone or thesis advisor.

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