Faculty and Staff


Louise Stern, Chair and Professor

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

  • Nanaimo Campus, Bld 180, Room 536
  • Phone: 250-740-6268 | Fax: 250-740-6466
  • Email: Louise.Stern@viu.ca

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, ProfessorCarmen Lavoie

MSW, Carleton University; PhD, McGill University                                          

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.

Jeanette Schmid, ProfessorJeanette 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

Fiona Meyer Cook, Professor

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

Fiona joined the faculty full time in 2017. Her recent research and policy work has focused on residential schools, Indigenous women and alternatives to incarceration; culturally relevant, gender based HIV prevention in child welfare; labour’s role in advancing the TRC’s Calls to Action; and trade, democracy, and human rights in the Americas.  She has over 15 years of experience in crisis intervention, gender violence, mental health, youth group work, HIV, and Two-Spirit /LGBTQ counseling and community organizing.  Fiona spent four years in Peru with organizations working to eradicate poverty; and represented EGALE Canada at the United Nations World Conference against Racism, lobbying for the inclusion of gender identity as a protected and multiple ground of discrimination.  Her ongoing doctoral research is on decolonization, green social work, and Indigenous food sovereignty.  Fiona is of Anishinaabe, Scottish and underground railroad descent, and is an adopted member of a Willow Cree family from Beardy’s & Okemasis, Saskatchewan. Fiona has taught graduate and undergraduate social work courses at Carleton University and supervised social work fieldwork students at McGill University.

Sheila Boyce, Sessional Instructor

BSW, University of Victoria; MSW, University of ManitobaSheila Boyce

Sheila Boyce joined VIU in August of 2013. Sheila obtained her Masters of Social Work degree from The University of Manitoba, and her Bachelor of Social Work degree from the University of Victoria. Her Masters work examined women’s experiences of addiction and anger in healing from child sexual abuse. Her undergraduate work focused on child, youth and family concerns, and child protection practice. Sheila has more than 15 years’ experience as a Social Worker in government, not-for-profit agencies, and post-secondary education settings. These positions included: child protection, clinical counselling in addiction and trauma related to child sexual abuse, transition shelters, youth group homes, and teaching Social Work education at Aurora College in the Northwest Territories.

Kathy Smith, Sessional Instructor

MSW, Dalhousie University; RSW

Kathy Smith

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.

Kirsten Hargreaves, Sessional Instructor

BA, UVic; MA Yorkvill (RCC)

Kirsten has worked in the social services field for 20 years. As a Montessori teacher in Nova Scotia with ages 2 – 6, Kirsten became interested in child psychology and attended UVIC for a mix of Psychology, social work and sociology. After a few years as an education assistant for pre-school aged children with extra needs and an autism interventionist with Queen Alexandra Centre for Children's Health, Kirsten returned to academics to complete her Masters in Counselling Psychology with a focus on play therapy and animal assisted therapy for children within the child welfare system. A registered clinical counsellor in her 6th year of private practice, Kirsten is a contractor with MCFD working with children in care with complex trauma through play, nature based and animal assisted approaches. Kirsten is also owner of Standing Tall Child and Family Counselling and Pawsitive Animal Assisted Counselling and Consulting and offers animal and nature based counselling. Kirsten is a sessional instructor in the Child Youth and Family Studies Program at the University of the Fraser Valley and new in 2019 to Vancouver Island University. A Peter Wall for Advanced Studies scholarship recipient, Kirsten's consulting and research work has encompassed being a Principal Investigator with Bonding Through Bars: Giving Voice to Silenced Children of Incarceration, mental health literacy community based research, longitudinal research on homelessness in the Fraser Valley, affordable housing, child poverty

and the social determinants of health. Kirsten's current areas of consulting work focus in Decolonizing trauma informed practice, developing therapeutic programming for children and families experiencing grief and loss and developing canine assisted curriculum and accreditation for helping professionals wishing to partner with a therapy animal. Kirsten has trained through Equine Facilitated Wellness Canada and can often be found at the barn connecting humans and horses in healing work or accompanied by her co-therapist and therapy dog Kona!

Holly Bradley

Holly Bradley, Practicum Placement Coordinator

BSW, McGill University; MSW, University of British Columbia; RSW

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.

Laurie Friskie, Program AssistantLaurie Friskie

Laurie Friskie is a recent addition to the Faculty of Health and Human Services, working part-time as the Program Assistant, Bachelor of Social Work and Social Services Diploma. Laurie comes from the University of Northern British Columbia, where she was employed in a variety of roles for the past 16 years, most recently as the Rural Nursing Program Advisor and prior to that, the BSW Field Education Coordinator and MSW Administrative Assistant in the School of Social Work.

CLOSE X Health and Human Services