University of Calgary

Jennifer Hewson

  • Associate Professor
  • Gerontology
  • Leadership in Human Services
  • Social Determinants of Health
  • Social Policy
  • Strategic Planning
  • +1 (403) 210-6346

Research Interests

Currently Teaching

Not currently teaching any courses.


Jennifer Hewson, PhD is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary. She completed her PhD in Educational Studies and her MA in Family Studies at the University of British Columbia. She has been with the Faculty of Social Work since 2005.

Dr. Hewson’s research interests include age-friendly communities; social participation, isolation and inclusion; and policies and practices related to program and service delivery in the older adult sector. Her teaching has focused on gerontology, research and evaluation, community and international development, leadership in the social services, and field education. Dr. Hewson is committed to student engagement in the classroom, as a field instructor, and as a research mentor. In 2010, she received a Student Union Teaching Excellence Award. 

Dr. Hewson has a passion for leadership and has held a number of roles within the Faculty of Social Work including Director of the Centre for Social Work Research and Professional Development, PhD/Thesis Coordinator, Field Education Coordinator, Field Education Director, and faculty lead for the Gerontology Awareness Committee. 

Professional service has also been a core component of Dr. Hewson’s work. She has been a member of a number of committees in Calgary related to aging including ElderNet, Older Adult Service Providers of Calgary, Intergenerational Practice Advisory Committee, Seniors Age-Friendly Steering Committee, Age-friendly Working Group, and Social Participation Working Group. She is currently the post-secondary representative on the Executive Committee of the Calgary Seniors Age-Friendly Strategy. Dr. Hewson is actively involved in the Canadian Association on Gerontology and is currently the Social Sciences Division Chair on the Board of Directors and was the co-chair of the Scientific Committee for the 2015 conference.

Research and Scholarly Activity

Dr. Hewson’s research and scholarly activities have focused on several domains of the World Health Organization’s Age-Friendly Cities Guide including social participation, social inclusion, and housing. Her 2013-2016 SSHRC funded study explored practices, future expectations, and organizational readiness related to social participation and aging baby boomers. She has also conducted research on intergenerational programs. Dr. Hewson has collaborated on evaluations examining programs for older adults and social isolation/inclusion. Her housing related research has focused on the meaning of home, risks and assets for homelessness, and subsidized housing for vulnerable pre-seniors. She has been involved in research related to age-friendly policy including collaborating on an age-friendly Calgary pilot project, assisting with the development and evaluation of the Calgary Seniors Age-friendly Strategy, and exploring age-friendly policy and practice in Guangzhou, China. Dr. Hewson has also collaborated on a variety of community-based research projects related to social service delivery. 


PhD, Adult, Continuing, Community Education, Educational Studies (University of British Columbia)
MA, Family Studies (University of British Columbia)


Student Union Teaching Excellence Award (2010)

Publications (peer reviewed)

  • Walsh, C., Hewson, J., Paul, K., Gulbrandsen, C., & Dooley, D. (2015) Falling through the cracks: Exploring the subsidized housing needs of low-income preseniors from the perspectives of housing providers. SAGE Open, 5(3), 1–9. 
  • Hewson, J., Danbrook, C., & Sieppert, J. (2015). Engaging post-secondary students and older adults in an intergenerational digital storytelling course. Contemporary Issues in Education Research, 8(3), 135-142.
  • Walsh, C. A., Hewson, J., Shier, M. L., & Morales, E. (2014). Youth stakeholders in neighbourhood revitalization: A case example. Journal of Arts and Humanities, 3(3), 1-11. 
  • Walsh, C. A., & Hewson, J. (2012). A comparison of two methods of teaching research to Master of Social Work students. International Journal of Higher Education, 1(1), 14-21.
  • Berg, B., Hewson, J., & Fotheringham, S. (2012). Collaborating to explore social work research ethics. Canadian Social Work, 14(1), 11-21.
  • Hewson, J., Walsh, C., & Bradshaw, C. (2010). Enhancing Social Work research education through research based field placements. Contemporary Issues in Education Research, 3(9), 7-15.
  • Walsh, C. A., Hewson, J., Shier, M., & Morales, E. (2008). Unraveling ethics: Reflections from a community-based participatory research project with youth. The Qualitative Report, 13(3), 379-393.
  • Ayala, J., Hewson, J., Bray, D., Jones, G., & Hartley, D. (2007). Intergenerational programs: Perspectives of service providers in one Canadian city. Journal of Intergenerational Relationships, 5(2), 45-60.

Presentations (peer reviewed)

  • Hewson, J., & Lai, D. (2016, October). Informing municipal policy implementation of social participation strategies for aging baby boomers. Canadian Association on Gerontology 45th Annual Scientific & Educational Meeting, Montreal, QC. 

  • Walsh, C. A., Hewson, J., Tong, H., Lai, D., & Zhang, H. (2016, October). Developing a research-based age-friendly community strategy: A case study of Guangzhou, China. Canadian Association on Gerontology, 45th Annual Scientific and Educational Meeting, Montreal, QC.  

  • Lai, D., Hewson, J., Walsh, C. A., Zhang, Q., & Tong, H. (2016, June). Cross-cultural relevancy and learning about developing age-friendly cities’ strategies: From global to local perspectives in Canada and China. International Federation on Ageing 13th Global Conference, Brisbane, Australia.

  • Lai, D., Hewson, J., & Kwan, C. (2016, June). Age-friendly or not? Multiple perspectives about baby boomers and social participation. International Federation on Ageing 13th Global Conference, Brisbane, Australia.

  • Lai, D., Hewson, J., Kwan, C., & Haney, C-A. (2016, June). Understanding social participation of culturally diverse baby boomers: Implications for gerontological social work. The Joint World Conference on Social Work, Education and Social Development, Seoul, Korea.

  • Hewson, J., Lai, D., Kwan, C., Fields, J., Stangeland, J., & Shaw, M. (2014, October). Social participation and baby boomers: Practices, future expectations and institutional readiness. Canadian Association on Gerontology 43rd Annual Scientific & Educational Meeting, Niagara Falls, ON
  • Hewson, J., Katsnelson, R., & Lee, C. (2014, April). Impact of program interventions on reducing the attributes of social isolation in older adults. Faculty of Social Work 6th Annual FSW Research Symposium. Calgary, AB.
  • Descamp, E., Hewson, J., Katsnelson, R., Lee, C., & Hampson, A. (2014, March). Reducing social isolation in older adults living in community. Aging in America Conference, American Society on Aging, San Diego, CA.
  • Walsh, C. A., Hewson, J., & Dooley, D. (2013, October). Housing insecurity and homelessness: Understanding unmet needs of low income pre-seniors. Canadian Association on Gerontology 42nd Annual Scientific & Educational Meeting, Halifax, NS.
  • Ayala, J., Hewson, J., & Stangeland, J. (2013, June). Social work field education: Challenges, best practices & creative approaches. Bilingual presentation at the Canadian Association for Social Work Education (CASWE) Conference/2013 Congress of the Humanities & Social Sciences, Victoria, BC.
  • Hewson, J., Walsh, C., Dooley, D. & Gulbrandsen, C. (2012, October). Falling through the cracks: Perspectives of subsidized housing managers about placing low income pre-seniors. Canadian Association on Gerontology 41st Annual Scientific & Educational Meeting, Vancouver, BC.
  • Hewson, J., & Whitmarsh, L. (2012, October). Exploring older adult service provider challenges and opportunities: Management and front line worker perspectives. Canadian Association on Gerontology 41st Annual Scientific & Educational Meeting, Vancouver, BC.
  • Hewson, J. (2011, October). Exploring agency collaboration in the development of an Older Adult Service Providers Council. Canadian Association on Gerontology 40th Annual Scientific & Educational Meeting, Ottawa, ON.
  • Hewson, J., Walsh, C. A., Bradshaw, C., & Ramdath, K. (2011, May). Engagement and research design: Learnings from a three year, arts-based community development project. Canadian Evaluation Society 2011 Conference, Edmonton, AB.
  • Hewson, J., Berg, B., & Fotheringham, S. (2011, April). Social work ethics for research and evaluation. Social Workers as Nation Builders: Speaking Truth to Power, ACSW Annual Conference. Calgary, AB.
  • Hewson, J., & Sieppert, J. (2010, November). Promoting social and civic participation of seniors through a Digital Storytelling project. Age-Friendly Cities with Cooperation and Participation – the Asian Pacific Perspective, Hong Kong University, Hong Kong.
  • Walsh, C., Hewson, J., & Bradshaw, C. (2010, June). Enhancing social work through research based field placements. 2010 European College Teaching & Learning Conference, Dublin, Ireland.
  • Chan, P., Hewson, J., Rhodes, K., & Braganza, S. (2010, March). Engaging seniors in Digital Stories of home. 2010 ACSW Annual Conference, Edmonton, AB.
  • Tutty, L., Bradshaw, C., Worthington, C., McLaurin, B., Waegemakers Schiff, J., Hewson, J., Dooley, D., Kean, S., & McLeod, H. (2010, March). Preventing homelessness: Developing the Homelessness Asset & Risk Tool (HART). Faculty of Social Work 3rd Annual Symposium, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB.
  • Rhodes, K., & Hewson, J. (2010, March). Collaborating with older adults on a Digital Storytelling project: Exploring key planning processes. Faculty of Social Work 3rd Annual Symposium, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB.
  • Hewson, J. (2009, November). Enhancing social work research education through research-based field placements. Council on Social Work Education 55th Annual Program Meeting, San Antonio, TX.
  • Hewson, J., Walsh, C. A., & Horn, A. (2009, March). Collaborating on the Patching People and Ideas Together project. Social Work Research & Practice: Making Connections, Faculty of Social Work 2nd Annual Symposium, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB.
  • Walsh, C. A., Hewson, J., Shier, M., & Morales, E. (2008, May). Exploring ethical dilemmas in a community-based participatory research project with youth. CUExpo 2008, University of Victoria, Victoria, B.C.
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