Impactful Research and Collaboration

Finding Innovative Solutions for Today’s Most Pressing Issues


Community research participants provide input for the Identity-Based Wraparound Initiative


  • Increase linkages between research, teaching, and field education
  • Foster transdisciplinary scholarship through building connections and partnerships
  • Develop respectful and accountable relationships and protocols with marginalized people
  • Amplify the knowledges, experiences, perspectives, and research contributions of Black, Indigenous, and racialized people, and those with intersectional and marginalized identities
  • Collaborate with communities to create and share knowledge for advocacy and change
  • Build reciprocal partnerships with organizations, communities, and other educational institutions


Faculty of Social Work Associate Dean of Research Dr. David Nicholas

Dr. David Nicholas, PhD, RSW Associate Dean, Research and Partnerships Faculty of Social Work

Dale MacMillan

Research that Matters

We live in an increasingly inter-connected world. Events like the 2020 global pandemic showed the critical importance of understanding unfolding issues with a variety of lenses. Not surprisingly, many of our faculty’s researchers, working with a variety of communities and disciplines, were on the frontlines of understanding the many impacts of the pandemic on frontline workers, on children in hospitals, and on intimate-partner violence to name just a few.

This research prominence was reflected in a record number of funding awards and grants that continue to catalyze our leadership and understanding in critical areas, including: clinical social work practice and supporting mental health on campus and in the community, helping communities to recover following natural disasters, working with police forces to improve their culture, supporting seniors and their caregivers, fighting racism in its many forms, and many more.

Our strategic plan will develop these themes while focusing on evolving research
partnerships with other faculties and disciplines in the search for innovative
approaches to complex issues.

Our approach to research will also meaningfully address structural white privilege and ableism by promoting, embracing, and amplifying the voices, ways of knowing, and epistemologies of Black, Indigenous, and other groups who have often been marginalized in academia.

Under our lodgepole of research, we look to create a reciprocal space – a true space of listening and sharing with the communities we serve – as we create knowledge and impactful solutions for tomorrow.

Research News

Studies highlight the rewards and the challenges of caring for aging family and friends

Negative health impacts associated with caregiving for aging spouses, parents, and other adults are well documented, but new Faculty of Social Work studies provide a fuller picture, including positive outcomes

New downtown pop-up creates dynamic space for Black youth

UCalgary faculties collaborate to promote racial and equity justice and create inclusive space for Black youth on Stephen Avenue

Pathways to opportunity must lead through social supports

David Nicholas's eco-system model of employment for neurodiverse adults recognized with UCalgary Sustainability Award

Social Work prof's research into older homelessness is in running for digital storytelling grant

Your vote by April 6 could help Victoria Burns produce film on vulnerable older Calgarians

UCalgary social work students bolster disaster preparedness and resilience in an Edmonton community

Tegan Nelson and Winkie Lau take TFEL's We're Ready Plus! to the field

Bridging Practice and Research

Our Wood's Homes Chair in Children's Mental Health is creating a virtuous circle of research, practice wisdom and feedback from participants.

This was a question that came from the practice world that went into research. Then I explored practitioner expertise to bring it back, and then involved the youth themselves — it's a complete full circle addressing an issue.

Dr. Angelique Jenney

Dr. Angelique Jenney, PhD, RSW

Wood's Homes Chair in Children's Mental Health

Bridging research and practice

Our faculty is committed to impactful research that makes a difference and is needed by the communities we serve.

We are also committed to bridging the gap between practice and academia. One example of this is our Wood’s Homes Chair in Children’s Mental Health – the first community-based chair
of its kind in Canada.

Dr. Angelique Jenney, PhD, says the unique chair brings the latest research to practitioners, while also bringing knowledge from skilled clinicians to academia, enabling advancements in both research, practice,
and social work education. As a result, Wood’s Homes is better equipped to improve services for children, youth, and families, while our students are exposed to the latest in practice wisdom.

Jenney’s work has led to the creation of one of Canada’s only social work simulation training programs. Working to establish best practices for treating children exposed to Intimate Partner Violence (IPV), Jenney, with a national research team, surveyed and catalogued the wisdom and skills of leading practitioners.

They then built a framework to train students and social workers. To fine-tune the process, they brought in youth with a history of exposure to IPV and sought their feedback on the simulations.

image of youth standing in darkness

Eric Ward, Unsplash