Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) is excited to announce that Dr. Alexander Sawatsky will join the university as Professor and Chair of Social Work. Sawatsky's appointment starts September 1, 2023, when he will begin working on the development of CMU's new Bachelor of Social Work degree program, set to begin in Fall 2024.
Sawatsky is a highly respected teacher, practitioner, and researcher who brings a wealth of experience in social work program development, and deep relationships across the social work community. After 15 years in mental health work in the US, he joined Booth University College (BUC) in 2006 as a faculty member in social work and played a key role in developing that institution's social work program. In 2017, Sawatsky was promoted to be the Director of BUC's School of Social Work.
Sawatsky previously served as board member with the Manitoba Institute of Registered Social Workers, the Manitoba College of Social Workers, and was the acting president of Manitoba Schizophrenia Society before its transformation to Peer Connections Manitoba, continuing as board president into 2023. He holds a PhD in Social Work from the University of Manitoba.
Drawing upon his academic work, research, and curriculum development, Sawatsky will play a significant role in the development and implementation of the new Bachelor of Social Work degree program at CMU. Sawatsky holds a strong commitment to promoting social justice and supporting marginalized communities. The program, which will prepare students to be ethical, adaptable, and effective social workers, will integrate rigorous academic coursework with field education placements that will provide students with hands-on experience in diverse social work settings.
"I am thrilled to be joining CMU and to have the opportunity to lead the development of this important new program," said Sawatsky. "A Mennonite understanding of peace and community has real potential for a compassionate, transformative, and distinct form of faith-based social work practice that can be a beacon during a time of increasing polarization and conflict."
Dr. Jonathan Dueck, CMU Vice-President Academic says, "We are excited to work with Dr. Sawatsky on a distinctive CMU Bachelor of Social Work degree, with the breadth, ethical discernment, and critical thinking that characterize a CMU education. Dr. Sawatsky brings deep commitments to his students and to the communities that partner with them. He is committed to building partnerships with Indigenous organizations and communities, which will be key to developing a strong program at CMU."
"Social work is a critical field that plays a vital role in addressing social injustices and promoting equity," says Sawatsky. "I look forward to working with students, faculty, and engaging community partners and stakeholders to build a program that prepares students to make a meaningful difference in the field and in their pursuit of advanced degrees."
Sandy Koop Harder
Canadian Mennonite University
204.487.3300 ext. 669
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