University of Calgary

Avery Calhoun

  • Associate Professor Emerita of Social Work
  • Aboriginal Issues, Indigenous Education, Rural & Northern Practice
  • Child Welfare
  • Participatory Action Research
  • Research Methods

Currently Teaching

Not currently teaching any courses.


Dr. Calhoun started her social work career in the 1980s. Her practice and research interests have focused on violence against women, restorative justice, narrative practices, and Indigenous child welfare. Since beginning with the Faculty in 1997, she has taught social work research courses at the graduate and undergraduate levels, anti-oppressive practice, social work with groups, narrative social work, social work and the juvenile justice system, and a variety of field-related courses.

Research and Scholarly Activity

Dr. Calhoun’s research has focused on restorative practices within juvenile justice, the use of narrative practices with men who use abuse with intimate partners, social justice activism, and Indigenous child welfare. Working within teams, Dr. Calhoun has been co-author of 18 peer reviewed articles, co-editor of a book, and co-recipient of over $1.5 million in research/project funding.

Current Research

Indigenous Child Welfare: Dr. Calhoun is currently a member of teams of Indigenous and Western academics and community members exploring the problem of the significant over-representation of Western ways of Knowing within Indigenous families encountering child welfare. The teams work within Indigenous ceremony and are accountable to research ethics processes of both Western and Indigenous institutions. One team’s approach has been to understand how urban Indigenous peoples thrive in cities, and then to connect these practices with traditional teachings to support families who are interacting with child welfare. This approach is supported by a multi-year SSHRC Insight Grant. Another team’s approach has involved articulating Practice as Ceremony within Indigenous-serving social services in Edmonton. This work has been supported through two grants from Alberta Human Services.  The most recent grant supported the implementation of a 3-day kiskinohamakewin or Culture Camp in Edmonton through which people who work in child welfare and people who receive child welfare services experienced traditional teachings and ceremonies rarely available within an urban context.


  • Bachelor of Social Work (University of Victoria, 1984)
  • Master of Social Work (University of Hawaii, 1989)
  • Ph.D., Social Welfare (University of Hawaii, 1996)

Professional and Community Associations

While in Calgary, Dr. Calhoun served on the Board of Directors of Discovery House (provides second-stage shelter for women leaving abusive relationships) and the Calgary SCOPE Society (serving people with developmental disabilities). After moving to Edmonton, she has been a Director for Boyle Street Community Services (serving people facing multiple barriers in inner-city neighborhoods).

Publications from 2008-Present

§  Nicholas, D.B., Calhoun, A., McLaughlin, A.M., Shankar, J., Kreitzer, L., & Uzande, M. (2017). Care experiences of adults with a dual diagnosis and their family caregivers. Global Qualitative Nursing Research.

§  Van Ngo, H., Calhoun, A., Worthington, C., Pyrch, T., & Este, D. (2017). The unravelling of identities and belonging: Criminal gang involvement of youth from immigrant families. Journal of International Migration and Integration, 18(1), 63-84.

§  Nicholas, D.B., Newton, A.S., Kilmer, C., Calhoun, A., deJong-Berg, M.A., Dong, K., Hamilton, F., McLaughlin, A.M., Shankar, J., & Smyth, P. (2016) The experiences of emergency department use by street-involved youth: Perspectives of health care and community service providers. Social Work in Health Care, 55(7), 531-544.

§  Calhoun, A.,Whitmore, E., & Wilson, M.G. (2014). Activist resistance in neoliberal times: Stories from Canada. Critical & Radical Social Work: An International Journal, 2(2), 141-158.

§  Wilson, M.G, Whitmore, E., & Calhoun, A. (2014). Contesting the global neoliberal agenda: Lessons from activists. In C. Noble, H. Strauss and B. Littlechild. In Global social work education: Crossing borders and blurring boundaries, pp. 311-326. Sydney, NSW: Sydney University Press.

§  Calhoun, A. (2013). Introducing restorative justice: Re-visioning responses to wrongdoing. Prevention Researcher 20(1), 3 – 7.

§  Calhoun, A.& Pelech, W. (2013). The impact of restorative and conventional responses to harm on victims: A comparative study. British Journal of Community Justice, 11(1), 63-84.

§  Wilson, M.G., Whitmore, E., & Calhoun, A. (2011). Contesting the neoliberal agenda: Lessons from Canadian Activists. Canadian Social Work Review, 28(1), 25-48.

§  Whitmore, E., Calhoun, A. & Wilson, M. (2011). How do you know you are making a difference? Advocates talk about the public policy process. The Philanthropist, 23(4), 437-449.

§  Whitmore, B., Wilson, M.G., & Calhoun, A. (Eds.) (2011). Activism that works. Winnipeg MB: Fernwood.

§  Whitmore, E., Wilson, M.G., & Calhoun, A. (2011). Making a difference. In Activism that works (Whitmore, E., Wilson, M., & Calhoun, A., Eds.), pp. 7-10. Winnipeg, MB: Fernwood.

§  Wilson, M.G., Whitmore, E., & Calhoun, A. (2011). Building success in social activism. In Activism that works (Whitmore, E., Wilson, M., & Calhoun, A., Eds.), pp. 11-28. Winnipeg, MB: Fernwood.

§  Calhoun, A., Whitmore, E., & Wilson, M.G. (2011). Activism that works: Emergent themes. In Activism that works (Whitmore, E., Wilson, M., & Calhoun, A., Eds.), pp.133-152. Winnipeg, MB: Fernwood.

§  Whitmore, E., Calhoun, A., & Wilson, M.G. (2011). Sense making: Lessons from success stories. In Activism that works (Whitmore, E., Wilson, M., & Calhoun, A., Eds.), pp. 153-161. Winnipeg, MB: Fernwood.

§  Calhoun, A. & Pelech, W. (2010). Responding to young people responsible for harm: A comparative study of conventional and restorative approaches. Contemporary Justice Review, 13(3), 287-306.

§  Calhoun, A. & Daniels, G. (2008). Accountability in school responses to wrongdoing. Journal of School Violence, 7(4), 21-47.

 Learn more from Dr. Calhoun's Innovate Calgary research profile.


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