University of Calgary

Rachael Crowder

  • Assistant Professor
  • BSW Program Coordinator

Research Interests

Social Work Education:

International Social Work:

Mental Health / Health & Wellness:


Dr. Rachael Crowder joined the Faculty of Social Work, Southern Alberta Region (Lethbridge) as an Assistant Professor in 2009. She brings decades of experience from grass-roots feminist practice with women who have experienced violence, including community organizing with sex workers. She is also a meditation teacher and facilitates Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) ( and professional development training in mindfulness through the Faculty’s Centre for Professional Development.

Dr. Crowder enjoys engaging students in critical social work theory, social policy, practice with communities, and trauma-focused addictions and mental health. She is passionate about preparing and supporting students for field practice, and has a special interest in the challenges and rewards of teaching on-line.

For a complete academic profile see:

Research and Scholarly Activity

Dr. Crowder’s interests in mindfulness and feminism have provided an interesting challenge: to understand the place and usefulness of mindfulness theory within an anti-oppressive approach to social work practice (AOP) and education. Her PhD dissertation explored the impacts of empathy and self-compassion, as well as the congruency between feminism and mindfulness, using a mindfulness-based modality with women who experienced interpersonal violence. Recent research was on the role of mindfulness to ameliorate and build resilience to burnout in social work professionals.

Current Research

Dr. Crowder’s current research interests include the effectiveness of providing a mindfulness program on-line with ‘helping’ professionals; the effectiveness of mindfulness for ameliorating and building resilience to burnout; and an investigation into the current use of contemplative pedagogy across faculties and disciplines at the University of Calgary.


2012   PhD, Canadian Studies, Carleton University

2002   MSW, Carleton University

2001   BSW, Carleton University

Professional and Community Associations

Dr. Crowder is a member several FSW committees: the Social Work Distance Education Network (SWDEN), Research and Partnerships, and the Professional Development Committee. She is a board member and treasurer for the Southwest Alberta Community Loan Fund (aka UpFund) a non-profit organization that provides microcredit and mentoring to low-income entrepreneurs.

Dr. Crowder is the Co-Chair of the Women’s Caucus of the Canadian Association of Social Work Education (CASWE). As such she has been engaged with social work faculty across Canada about the teaching of feminist-based social work practice and research through a project to revitalize the Women’s Caucus. This revitalization project created a survey and consultation with caucus members resulting in a wiki as a knowledge and corporate history repository ( and social media discussion platform for feminist social work pedagogy and research on

Media Work

Study investigates growing trend of contemplative pedagogy on campus (UToday, September 29, 2014)

Desire2Learn team eases transition to new system (UToday, March 26, 2014)

Professional development courses help connect the Faculty of Social Work and communities across the province: Online Mindfulness course connects awareness and research (UToday, March 7, 2014)

Publications from 2008 - Present

Pelech, W., Wulff, D., Perrault, E., Ayala, J., Baynton, M., Williams, M., Crowder, R., Shankar, J. (in press). Current challenges in social work distance education: Responses from the Elluminati, Journal of Social Work Education

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