Elaine Spencer BSW. MSW. RCSW. RSW.
Elaine Spencer is a Registered Clinical Social Worker (#00104) and Approved Clinical Supervisor (2016) with over 30 years experience in social work practice. Teaching the practice of social work since 2002, Elaine has been on the Social Work Faculty at Red Deer College since 2005. The developer of the Social Work Ethics course, Elaine has an extensive background in rural, clinical, and insider social work practice and ethics, and has lectured and written extensively on the topic. She is the Lead author/editor of “Social Work Ethics: Progressive, Practical and Relational Approaches” (Oxford University Press, 2017).
Elaine is interested in critical progressive social work modalities and approaches, and brings this orientation to both clinical (methods) courses, practicum supervision, and theory courses, such as social work leadership, and social work ethics. With a practice forged in rural health and human services administration, Elaine brings significant lived experience to the classroom. A highlight of teaching social work is the opportunity to present with students and graduates at conferences and work with graduates in pursuit of social justice.
Research interests include social work abuse and excellence, reparations and restoration in social work practice (particularly with regard to Settler, Newcomer, Indigenous reconciliation), social work ethics, ethics and technology, insider social work practice, feminist and narrative approaches to clinical work, organizational ethics and worker rights.
Registered Social Worker (R.S.W.) #1007, Alberta College of Social Workers (ACSW)
Clinical Social Worker #00104, (Alberta)
Approved Clinical Supervisor (2016, Alberta)
M.S.W., Clinical, University of Toronto
B.S.W., Generalist, University of Calgary
The practice of social work, including social work ethics, social work administration, community organizing, social work with the family, social work methods, and field practice coordination.
- Spencer, E. (in press). Social Work Ethics in Child Welfare Practice. In Kufeldt, K. & McKenzie, B. (Eds.), (2nd Ed.) Child Welfare: Connecting research, policy, and practice.
- Spencer, E. & Gough. J. (2019). Ethical Social Work Practice in the Technological Era. In S. Marson & R. McKinney (Eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Social Work Ethics and Values (pgs. 251-256). London: Routledge
- Spencer, E., Review of Denning, P., & Little, J. (2012). Practicing harm reduction psychotherapy: An alternative approach to addictions. (2nd Ed.) New York, NY. The Guilford Press. In the Journal of Social Work Values and Ethics, Volume 15, Number 2 (2018)
- Spencer, E., Gough, J., & Massing, D. (Eds.). (2017). Social Work Ethics: Progressive, Practical, and Relational Approaches Toronto: Oxford University Press
- Spencer, E., Review of Bodenheimer, D. (2017). On clinical social work: Meditations and truths from the field. Harrisburg: PA. The New Social Worker Press. In Journal of Social Work Values and Ethics, Volume 14, Number 2 (2017)Spencer, E., Review (back cover) Baines, D. (ed.) (3rd ed.) “Doing Anti-Oppressive Practice: Social justice social work” (2017) Fernwood, Winnipeg, Man.
- Spencer, E., Review of Weinberg, M. (2016). Paradoxes in social work practice: Mitigating ethical trespass. New York, NY: Routledge. In the Journal of Social Work Values and Ethics, Volume 11, No. 1 (2017), ASWB
- Gough, J., Dahl-Lang, T. & Spencer, E. “No Regrets: Suggestions for Improvements to Public Apologies” Journal of Social Work Values & Ethics, Vol. 12, No. 1 (2015), ASWB
- Gough, J., & Spencer, E., “Ethics in Action: An Exploratory Survey of Social Worker’s Ethical Decision Making and Value Conflicts” Journal of Social Work Values and Ethics, Volume 11, No. 2 (2014), ASWB
- Spencer, E., Foreword for Talbot. M, “All that Glitters: A Climber’s Journey through Addiction and Depression” Sono Nis Press, Winlaw, B.C. , 2011
- Spencer, E., “Diploma Dialogue” The Advocate, Vol. 32, Issue 4 2007
- Spencer, E., “Ethics in Action” The Advocate, Vol. 31, Issue 4 2006
- Spencer, E. (Ed.) “Loving and Hurting: Dating Violence, what it is and what you can do about it” (1990) Bow Valley Women’s Resource Centre, Canmore, Alberta.
Spencer, E. & Baines, D. “Still they rise: Racism, xenophobia and neo-nazism in late-stage capitalism” at the virtual IFSW 2020 conference
Spencer, E. & Daniel, F. “History of ACESS: Association of College Educators in Social Work and Social Services” at the ACESS National Conference, Dawson College, Montreal, June, 2019
Spencer, E., & Johannson, A. “Mining the Field: A Cross-Canada Study on Technology in Social Work/Social Services Work Education” Poster presentation at the SWSD International Conference, Dublin, Ireland, June, 2018
Nominated and Presented Inaugural Tera Dahl-Lang Wise Indigenous Practice Award to Wilda Listener, ACSW Annual Conference, Calgary, April, 2018
"Critical Thinking in Post-Factual Times: A Challenge for Post-Secondary Education" with Dr. Carlen Lavigne, at the Future of Education Conference, Florence, Italy, June 2017
“Self-Care: A conversation on recent research and the conditions that create the need” ACESS National Conference, Vancouver, June 2016
“Co-creating and Co-presenting with students: Reflections on a Conference presentation in Scotland”, RDC Scholarly Showcase, Red Deer, January, 2016
“The Use of Technology in Social Service and Social Work Diploma Education and Practice in Canada” presentation at ACCC (Association of Canadian Community Colleges) with ACESS (Association of College Educators in Social Services and Social Work) Technology Research group, Ottawa, May, 2014
“In the Field: Student Perspectives on Field Placement” presented poster at 10th International Conference on Field Teaching, with field placement students, Glasgow, Scotland, April, 2014
“Ethics in Practice: Necessary and Needed” Advanced ethics workshop at ACSW (Alberta College of Social Workers) Annual Conference, Edmonton, Alberta, March, 2014
“In the Field: Student Perspectives on Field Placement” presented with field placement students at ACSW (Alberta College of Social Workers) Annual Conference, Edmonton, March, 2014
“Ethics R Us: Pursuing Ethical Practice in Social Work” keynote and daylong workshop with Dr. Alison MacDonald, for the Manitoba Institute of Registered Social Workers, Winnipeg, Man., March, 2014
“Challenges of Radical Social Work Education in a Conservative Community” presented research with Tera Dahl-Lang and Dr. Elizabeth Radian, at ACESS National Conference, Kitchener-Waterloo, Ont., June 2013
“Challenges of Radical Social Work Education in a Conservative Community” presented research with Tera Dahl-Lang and Elizabeth Radian, at SWAN (Social Work Action Network), international conference, London, England, May 2013
“Ethically Sustainable Practice: Results of an Ethical Decision-Making Survey” presented with Dr. Jim Gough at ACESS 10th Annual National Conference, Canmore, Ab., June 2012
“Embedding Ethics in Everyday Practice” sponsored workshop for outreach workers with Calgary Health Region, Calgary, Ab., April 2011
“NEW” Code of Ethics (2005) and “NEW” Standards of Practice (2007), multiple workshops and presentations with Drs. Alison MacDonald and/or Duane Massing, for Registered Social Workers, various locations, Alberta, 2010
“Ethics Roach Show Part III” workshop sponsored by Alberta College of Social Workers, Calgary, Ab., June 2009
“Focus on Fieldwork Conference Evaluation”, co-presented with Tera Dahl-Lang to ACESS 6th Annual National Conference, Victoria, May, 2009
Fieldwork Conference, co-presented with Tera Dahl-Lang “Cultural Competency Basics”, Red Deer, Ab. March 2009
“Ethics Road Show Part II” presentations to Registered Social Workers, Sponsored by Alberta College of Social Workers, June (Edmonton, Red Deer, Rocky Mountain House), October (Edmonton), 2008
“Rural Clinical Practice” presentation to advanced clinical practitioners, Sponsored by Robinson Associates, Lethbridge, Ab., 2008
“New Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice” presentations with Dr. Alison MacDonald to Social Workers, Sponsored by Alberta College of Social Workers, February, High Prairie and Fort McMurray, various dates, 2008
“The Finer Points of Theory into Practice – Field Supervisor Training, Module IV”, presentation to Field Supervisors, Red Deer College, Red Deer, Ab., 2007
“Code Red or Read? A Critical Review of the 2005 CASW Code of Ethics”, co-presented with Tera Dahl-Lang at ACESS National Conference, Canmore, Ab., May 2007
“Everything you Wanted to Know About Ethics but Were Afraid to Ask” Co-presented with Dr. Alison MacDonald to Child and Family Services Authority Senior Social Workers, Calgary, Ab., April 2007.
“Social Work Practice in a Sometimes-Hostile Environment” Co-presented with Dr. Alison MacDonald at National Canadian Association of Social Workers Conference, Halifax, Nova Scotia, 2006.
“Ethics Road Show”, presentations to Registered Social Workers with Drs. MacDonald and Massing, sponsored by Alberta College of Social Workers, Medicine Hat, Drumheller, Strathmore, Sherwood Park, High Level, various dates, 2005.
Alberta College of Social Workers:
Continuing Competency Committee, 2016-2018
Council Member, Executive Council Member ([Secretary, Vice President] 2006-2010)
Area Coordinator 1989-2005
Association of College Educators in Social Work and Social Services Work (ACESS):
Past Co-chair (2018-2020), Co-Chair (2016-2018)
Steering Committee, Alberta Representative, Conference Committee (2006-2018)
Research Steering Committee Chair (2013-2018) for research into technology in Social Work/Service Work.
Central Alberta Social Work Committee:
Co-Chair 2016 and 2017 conferences
Member (2007-present – various roles, including Scientific Committee Chair)
Journal of Social Work Values and Ethics:
Manuscript Review Board member (2014-present)
Book Review Board member (2016- present)
Education for Somali Children Foundation
Board Member, Vice-President, Red Deer, 2016-present
“Creating Connections & Placement Understanding” at the Field Supervisor Workshop, Red Deer, January, 2019
"Self-Care for Trauma Workers and Trauma Survivors” and “Panel on Dating Violence” at the 4th Annual “Creating a Vision for Non-Violence” Conference, November, 2017, Sylvan Lake, Alberta
“Ethics and Supervision in Organizations” a guest lecture in SOWK399, University of Calgary, Edmonton Division, October, 2017
"Ethics and Allies". Guest lecturer, Maskwicis Cultural College, Social Work Program, Spring 2017
“Caring for a Living: A Presentation on Vicarious Trauma, Stress and Compassion Fatigue” workshop for SPCA, Red Deer, April, 2015
“Ethical Recording: The Job is Over when the Paperwork is Done” workshops for social service sector workers, various locations and dates (from 2011-2013), Alberta
“Ethics in Rural Social Work Practice” Continuing Education, Red Deer College, Red Deer, Ab., May 2007
“Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – Recent Developments and Current Issues” Continuing Education presentation, Red Deer College, Red Deer, Ab., April 2006
Spencer, E. & Wright, J. “Leadership in Social Work” (concept stage)
Spencer, E. “Social Work Excellence and Abuse”, a multi-perspective survey (clients/former clients and professional helpers), (in progress).
Spencer, E., Shaw-Verhoek, L, Sheppard, N., and Khan, A. “Social Service Workers and Social Workers and Technology”, a multi-perspective survey (educators, field supervisors, students) and exploratory study.
Professional and/or RDC Leadership:
Alberta College of Social Workers, Registered Social Worker (RSW) #1007
Alberta College of Social Workers, Registered Clinical Social Worker (RCSW) #00104
Alberta College of Social Workers, Approved Clinical Supervisor (2016-present)
Canadian Association of Social Workers (member)
CASWE-ACFTS (member, affiliate)
Research Ethics Board, Member
Faculty Association of Red Deer College, Executive Council, Member at Large
Awards and Honours:
2020 Scholarly Recognition Award, Red Deer College, for co-authoring a chapter on Ethics and Technology, in Routledge’s “International Handbook of Social Work Ethics and Values”, published by Routledge in 2019.
2018 Scholarly Recognition Award, Red Deer college,for Co-Editing/Co-Authoring the book “Social Work Ethics: Progressive, Practical and Relational Approaches”, published by Oxford University Press in 2017.
Contributor of the Month, September 2017, for LGBTQ+ Advocacy
2016 Scholarly Recognition Award, Red Deer College, for an article entitled “No Regrets: Suggestions for Improvements to Public Apologies” Journal of Social Work Values & Ethics, Vol. 12, No. 1 (2015), ASWB
Alberta Association of Colleges and Technical Institutes (AACTI) Funding for research into RSW’s ethical decision making, with Dr. Jim Gough.
Extended Funding Grant – Red Deer College Professional Development Fund, for research into RSWs’ ethical decision making.
Alberta College of Social Workers Awards:
Service, Council 2006-2010 (Member, Secretary, Vice-President)
Chair, Clinical Social Work Committee (2005-2006), Member, (2001-2006)
Chair, Committee of Inquiry (1998-1999)
Association of College Educators in Social Services and Social Work (ACESS):
For 10 years of service with ACESS (2015)
Canadian Association of Social Workers, National Social Work Week Award, 2005
BSW Valedictorian, University of Calgary.