Associate Professor, Director, School of Social Work
I believe that learning is a passion we can all discover – given proper incentives. Knowledge is the edge students need to succeed in today’s market-driven economy. Therefore, I believe learning needs to be closely related to the world outside of schools. It needs to be timely and relevant.
I believe it is my responsibility to find ways of engaging students with the knowledge at their fingertips, to galvanize their thirst for learning and for applying this with a passion for the world.
To get at relevance in the classroom, I believe in engaging students in discussion and to challenge them to consider examples in their environment that relate to the given topic at hand.
As school can be a stressful and anxiety-provoking time, I want to communicate that careers can be severe things to pursue, but that burnout can be avoided with a degree of humour and realism. Therefore, laughter is encouraged in my classroom (as long as it harms none and doesn’t derail the material from being taught).
I believe that my experience and knowledge in the field are why I am motivated to help those entering the field of social work. Too many times, fresh graduates enter the area with little preparation for the messiness of real-life practice. I believe that agencies/organizations thrive on growth in the form of new ideas. Teaching students how to examine material critically and foster a love of lifelong learning is another way to be a steward to the community and the institutions that serve it.
Dr. Alexander Sawatsky has 20 years of field experience in mental health. He holds a Masters of Social Work degree from Andrews University and received his Ph.D. in Social Work from the University of Manitoba. While in practice, he has worked in crisis stabilization, counselling, case management and administration. His passion for teaching includes Mental Health, Addictions, Ethics, as well as Policy and Advocacy.
Furthermore, he is interested in and critical theories and their application to social work practice, including structural, anti-oppressive and communalist critiques. He desires to address the needs of those with severe and persistent mental illness that remain a focal point of his teaching approach. He currently serves on the Manitoba College of Social Work and the Manitoba Schizophrenia Society Board of Directors. Past committee memberships have included the Steering Committee for Opportunities for Employment as well as the Quality of Care Committee for Sara Riel.
His favourite hobbies include running, running and even more running. Oh, and singing in the choir.