Bachelor of Social Work


Louise Stern, Chair and Professor

BSW, Ryerson University; MSW and PhD, University of British Columbia

  • Nanaimo Campus, Bldg 180, Room 536
  • Phone: 250-740-6268 | Fax: 250-740-6466
  • Email:

Louise has been practicing geriatric based social work for the past 20 years and has worked in community, hospital, and long-term care settings. She received her BSW (1994) from Ryerson, and an MSW (2001) and PhD  (2012) from UBC. The focus of her practice and research has been on dementia care; inter-professional care as it relates to aging and healthcare; intercultural care and the development of cultural education in health care settings; and exploring the diversity of aging Canadians. She has taught at the University of British Columbia in the School of Social Work and the College of Health Disciplines and Thompson Rivers University, School of Social Work and Human Services.

Carmen Lavoie, Professor

MSW, Carleton University; PhD, McGill University                         Carmen Lavoie

Carmen joined VIU’s Social Work Department full-time in 2014. Carmen has worked and volunteered in various capacities related to social work for over 20 years. She has experience in the field of addictions, HIV, mental health, disabilities, individual and group counselling, violence against women, social policy and community practice. Her work in B.C. includes two years as Anti-racism Program Advisor for the B.C. government and one year as an Educator with the UBC Equity and Inclusion Office. Carmen’s PhD dissertation focussed on community practice in low-income, diverse neighbourhoods. Carmen has taught undergraduate and graduate social work courses at McGill University and VIU.

Ashleigh Martinflatt, Professor 

BA CYC, University of Victoria; MSW, University of Toronto

Ashleigh began her career in social work while completing her degree in Child and Youth Care at the University of Victoria. For the first few years she worked with at-risk youth in a community setting and enjoyed the spunky attitudes of the youth she had the privilege of working with. She also had the unique opportunity of working internationally in Guyana, working with children and families impacted by HIV/AIDS. This was an extremely challenging and rewarding experience, and she hopes to work internationally again someday. Ashleigh's career then took her to beautiful Campbell River where she was employed by MCFD in the Child Protection field. The next eight years of her life were in Child Protection in Campbell River and Toronto. While in Toronto, Ashleigh obtained her Masters in Social Work from the University of Toronto. She is now back on the island and loving being back in BC. Although Ashleigh is a full-time instructor, she still practices in the CYC field in her areas of passion: child protection, adoption, at risk youth, family support, and community prevention programs. She feels that this current front-line work impacts her teaching in a positive way and she looks forward to seeing you in one of her classes!

Jeanette Schmid, Professor

Jeanette Schmid

MEd (School Counseling), University of Witwatersrand (ZA); PhD, Wilfrid Laurier University

Jeanette Schmid is a seasoned social work researcher, consultant, practitioner, and educator with a strong interdisciplinary focus. Her qualifications include a social work doctorate, a master in education (School Counseling) and diplomas in Remedial Education and Public Policy, Development and Administration. She also was a registered psycho-oncology counsellor and is trained in mediation and restorative practices. Jeanette’s engagement has been directed by a passion for social justice and community capacity building and her academic interrogation occurs through a critical lens. She has lived and worked in South Africa, Switzerland, the United States of America and Canada and has a nuanced appreciation of global North-South dynamics in the social services arena. She is a skilled researcher and has an extensive publication record. She has made a significant contribution to the conceptualization of child welfare by extending developmental social welfare into the child welfare field and promotes an integrated, indigenized approach to dealing with vulnerable children and families. Jeanette’s research interests further include social policy, organizational development and social service workforce issues. Jeanette has served diverse and marginalized populations, working across race, class, gender, religious, (dis)ability and national backgrounds. She is an effective leader, having taken on managerial and board roles. Finally, Jeanette is an experienced instructor, mentor, supervisor and trainer, having taught both in community and academic contexts across Certificate/Diploma, Bachelors and Master levels and across disciplines, including social work, criminology, and community support/educational assistant programs.

Fiona Meyer Cook, Professor

BFA, Concordia University; BSW and MSW McGill University; PhD (C) Carleton UniversityFiona Meyer Cook

Fiona brings a wealth of experience in direct practice, research and policy work to VIU. She has taught graduate and undergraduate social work courses at Carleton University and supervised practicum students at McGill. Fiona brings knowledge of Indigenous and International socio-economic justice issues to her teaching. Her recent research focuses on Indigenous food sovereignty, ecology and environmental social work. She also has over 15 years of direct experience in crisis intervention, mental health, gender violence, youth group work, HIV, prevention/support and Two-Spirit /LGBTQ advocacy and community organizing. Fiona’s research and policy work includes work for the Native Women’s Association of Canada, the Canadian Council for International Co-operation, Status of Women Canada, the Canadian Labour Congress and Peru’s Gender and Economy Group. She represented EGALE Canada at the United Nations World Conference against Racism, Xenophobia and other forms of Discrimination, and spent four years in Peru working with organizations dedicated to eradicating poverty, and advancing rural agro-ecology.  Fiona is of Anishinaabe, Scottish and underground railroad descent. She is also an adopted member of a Willow Cree family from Beardy’s & Okemasis, Saskatchewan.

Kathleen Manion, Sessional Instructor

BA (Psychology) University of Waterloo; MA, ISW and PhD, University of East London (UK)

Kathleen Manion has spent the last twenty five years working within social and community services, specializing in the fields of research and evaluation. Her diverse social work and community development experience has included research, teaching and practice in various countries and settings, working at the national ministerial level, the academic level and within the grassroots context. She has worked with children, young people, families, communities and organizations on a variety of social and environmental issues, but she is particularly passionate about initiatives that help children and young people to thrive. While teaching as a sessional at VIU allows her to stay connected to her social work roots, her full time job is at Royal Roads University as the Program Head for the Justice Studies program.

Kathy Smith, Sessional InstructorKathy Smith

MSW, Dalhousie University; RSW

Kathy Smith is a lifelong learner who realized at a very early age that her calling was in community social work and social justice work.  Volunteer involvement began in the early 90's with the Crossroad Crisis centre in the Comox Valley, and this training lead to a series of volunteer and paid positions with women's resources, BCACL, adult literacy programs, municipal substance use awareness raising, community mental health clubhouse models, BC Schizophrenia Society and the Canadian Mental Health Association.

Kathy completed her BSW with distinction in 2005 from UVic, and in 2012 completed her MSW degree via distance education through Dalhousie University. While in school, Kathy worked in various capacities with both public sector and non-profit agencies, working with adults with multiple barriers to services and housing. In 2012, she began teaching with VIU in professional development programs for community mental health, and more recently, within the BSW and SSER programs. As well, Kathy has delivered courses for both UVic and Dalhousie in their BSW programs.

Robert Mahikwa, Sessional Instructor

BSW and MSW (Indigenous Social Work), University of VictoriaRobert Mahikwa

Robert identifies as Anishinaabe-Algonquin (wolf clan), and he has worked with Indigenous communities and populations in British Columbia and Ontario since 2005. As an Instructor, Robert interweaves Indigenous pedagogy and ceremonies within a student-centered, strengths-oriented, and solutions-focused learning environment. Robert teaches Social Work, and Indigenous Studies courses at Vancouver Island University, the University of Victoria, and Camsoun College. His areas of expertise include Indigenous Social Work theory and practice, Indigenous Pedagogy, Indigenous Mentorship, Life Skills Coaching, and Indigenous Research Methodologies.

In the field, Robert has experience working as a counsellor, case manager, family support worker, youth crisis worker, outreach worker, careers counsellor, youth leadership and life skills coach, and youth transitional housing worker. Robert is also a VIU Indigenous Education Navigator within the Office of Aboriginal Education and Engagement, and was recently nominated for the 2020 National Emerging Voices in Indigenous Scholarship and Research Award, from the University of Saskatchewan.

Robert currently sits on the Research Ethics Board at VIU, and he is open to requests from Graduate thesis students regarding committee and/or advisory opportunities.

Holly Bradley, Field Education Coordinator

BSW, McGill University; MSW, University of British Columbia; RSWHolly Bradley

  • Nanaimo Campus, Bldg 180, Room 533
  • Phone: 250-740-6271 | Fax: 250-740-6466
  • Email:

Holly Bradley joined VIU’s Faculty of Health and Human Services in 2009 and in addition to her Practicum Coordinator role for the BSW, Social Services diploma and Education Assistant and Community Support programs, Holly supported students as a counsellor through Student Affairs and taught counselling skills courses through the Professional Development and Training department. As a registered Social Worker with 30 years of experience Holly’s practice has focused on counselling, mental health and trauma recovery, health care, home and community support, youth protection, and rehabilitation support within the disability sector.  Holly received her MSW from the University of British Columbia with a minor in Women’s Studies in 1997 and her BSW in 1987 from McGill University. Her MSW focus examined women’s healing from sexual abuse through yoga, and her BSW focused on the use of somatic and self-awareness strategies to heal patterns of disordered eating and body image. Holly maintains a private practice offering health and wellness presentations and facilitation in both the non-profit and corporate sectors.

Geraldine Manson, Elder-In-Residence

  • Nanaimo Campus, Building 180, Room 149 & Bulding 170, Shq'apthut
  • Phone: 250-740-3245 | Fax: 250-740-6454
  • Email:

Geraldine is a member of the Snuneymuxw First Nation, is married to Earl Manson, has three children, seven grandchildren, and one great grandchild. Geraldine has worked for her community for over 17 years. “I give credit for my cultural wisdom and education to my Elders’, present and those who have passed on." As the Elders’ Coordinator for Snuneymuxw First Nations, she carries many other responsibilities that relate to the culture and traditions of her community. She has been an elected council-member for more than nine years. Today, she is being mentored by Dr. Ellen White, Kwulasulwut, in the traditional cultural practices of the Snuneymuxw people.

Stella Johnson, Elder-In-Residence

  • Nanaimo Campus, Bulding 170, Shq'apthut
  • Phone: 250-740-3245 | Fax: 250-740-6454
  • Email:

Stella Johnson, nee Erasmus was born in McLennan, Alberta and raised by her grandmother from the age of 5 and was taught the Cree language. Stella worked as a Registered Care Aide in Dawson Creek, BC before moving to Nanaimo in 1987 where she worked at Traveller’s Lodge for sixteen years. Upon retiring in 2006 Stella spent four months exploring Canada coast to coast. In 2006 Stella was hired by Duncan Métis Nation as a Métis support worker and worked in the Lake Cowichan District. In August 2012 Stella began a new journey as an elder at VIU. 

Tina Schultz, Social Work Program Assistant

  • Nanaimo Campus, Bldg 180, Room 542
  • Phone: 250-740-6447 | Fax: 250-740-6466
  • Email: