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Carmen Plante M.S.W, B.S.W, R.S.W

Social Work
Room 3116

Carmen began her social work education in the field working alongside social workers in the area of social policy – poverty, homelessness, health care and social assistance. Inspired by those she worked with she chose to pursue a formal education in the profession. She completed her B.S.W at the University of Calgary having gained a deeper understanding of youth leaving the street, crisis counseling in the inner city, and structural causes of poverty in Canada and overseas. Her focus would become community and policy work. Upon graduation Carmen continued working with a CUSO, a Canadian international development organization. This led to her first overseas involvement - four months living and learning in a squatter settlement in the South Pacific. The following year she became involved in an environmental conservation and community development project in Central America; an initial nine-month sojourn that by the end encompassed five years of different community development work. Returning to Calgary Carmen found herself taking on the new role of Community Development Facilitator with an organization committed to eliminating poverty. She was involved in a number of then new initiatives – Vibrant Communities and Living Wage to name but two. Following two years of working in Calgary Carmen was curious about the rumours that Quebec had passed an anti-poverty law, that would become a focus in her M.S.W. studies, along with community development and conflict resolution, at McGill. As she finished her research project on activism and motherhood she found herself returning to Alberta to take up a full-time sessional position in RDCs Social Work program.

Carmen has taught seven of the last twelve years in the Social Work program. While her passion is in the broader areas of policy, community, and research she has enjoyed teaching first year courses in ethics and methods. For the past three years Carmen has undertaken the role of Field Instruction Education Liaison, developing and coordinating practicum placements. The years away from RDC Carmen had been involved in community work, research, and in pursuing a PhD in Social Work at McMaster University. Course work completed Carmen is looking to re-engage in the completion of her own studies as soon as possible.


M.S.W. McGill University
B.S.W. University of Calgary
R.S.W. Alberta College of Social Workers

Main Areas of Teaching

Community Work, Social Policy, History of Social Welfare, Social Issues, Social Work Ethics, Social Work Methods, Research

Scholarly Activity

Selected Publications:

  • Plante, C. (2017). “The ethics of progressive community organizing” in E. Spencer, D. Massing, J. Gough (Eds.) Social work ethics: Progressive, practical, and relational approaches. Don Mills: Oxford University Press.

Conference Presentations:

  • Plante, C. (2011). ‘Goodness of Fit’: what relationship social work and community organizing in a neoliberal environment. Fredericton, New Brunswick: 2011 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Community Involvement:

  • Red Feather Women Social Justice Collective (2015 – present)
  • Organizing Committee, Walking With Our Sisters Memorial Installation (2014 – 2015)
  • Chair, Co-chair, Treasurer - Central Alberta Social Work Conference Committee (2010 – present)B.
  • Policy Committee, Central Alberta Poverty Reduction Alliance (2017 - )
  • Red Deer Native Friendship Society (2015 – present)
  • Life Support: Community Stories of Physician Recruitment and Retention in Rural Alberta -– Alberta Rural Physician Action Plan presentation
  • Sizing it to fit: Teaching community organizing in a classroom setting – C. Plante and B. Vareed to RDC faculty

Current Research:

  • SOWK 212 Preparation for Practice Study
  • Conceptualizations of Space in Community Work

Professional and/or RDC Leadership:

  • Research Ethics Board Member - 2015 – present
  • Student Awards Selection Committee – 2017 -
  • Sessional Representative FARDC – 2013 - 2014

Professional Memberships:

  • R.S.W. Alberta College of Social Workers

Awards and Honours:

  • Red Deer Mayor’s Special Award 2016 – member of the Organizing Committee of the Walking With Our Sisters Memorial