Associate Professor

phone: 2508078745


My primary interests are in the role of communities and their social, physical, and political infrastructures in the promotion of child welfare. I am also interested in place; the role of place in well-being, the interactions of person and place, including the ways in which professional practice is shaped by place. I approach these interests through a post-structural lens. My social work practice experience includes child protection, mental health therapy with children, adults and families, and co-facilitation of group treatment programs for perpetrators of intimate partner violence. I have practiced community organizing in a variety of settings with much of this occurring in rural areas and Aboriginal communities in northern Alberta.


Ph. D. University of British Columbia (School of Community and Regional Planning)

Dissertation: Restructuring the Child Welfare Dialectic: State Community interactions and Community Responses in the Governance of Child Welfare in Rural and Remote Localities. (Supervisor: Dr. Nora Angeles)

MSW University of Calgary (Faculty of Social Work)

Thesis: Risk Assessment and Intervention Decisions in Child Welfare. (Supervisor: Dr. Michael Rothery)



  • The role of community in the promotion of child welfare
  • Sustainable community development
  • Interactions of people and place; the role of place in well-being
  • Expertise for interprofessional child welfare practice
  • University-community collaboration



Evaluation approaches for community change initiatives to address Aboriginal child and family well-being.
(Primary Investigator)
Co-Investigator: Dr. Jason Albert, First Nations University of Canada, School of Indigenous Social Work
Funding: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC)
Feb, 2017-Feb, 2018

Building Capacity to Investigate Interprofessional Child Welfare Expertise
(Primary Investigator)
Co-Investigator: Dr. Jonathon Davies, Douglas College, British Columbia, Department for Child, Family and Community Studies
Collaborator: Dr. Rick Hood, Kingston University, United Kingdom, Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education.
Funding: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC)
July, 2015-June, 2017


I-Ethics: Implementation of an Integrated Ethics Curriculum in the Health and Human Service Programs at UBC
Primary investigator: Dr. Leslie Bainbridge, College of Health Disciplines, UBC
Funding: UBC Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund
March, 2015 – February, 2017

Network Governance to Address Off-reserve Aboriginal Child Welfare in Rural and Remote Localities
(Primary Investigator)
Research Collaborator: Dennis Whitford, Senior Advisor Aboriginal Services, Northwest Child and Family Services Authority
Funding: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC)
April, 2008 – March, 2012

Recruitment and Retention in Rural and Remote Child and Youth Mental Health: Best Practices Models and Innovations (Primary Investigator)
Funding: Lower Similkameen Community Services Society and British Columbia Ministry of Child and Family Development
July, 2007-June, 2011

Education for Effective Interprofessional Practice in Child Welfare (Co-investigator)
Primary Investigator: Robert Whiteley (Education)
Co-investigators: Wilda Watts (Nursing), Cathy Robinson (Nursing)
Funding: UBC Okanagan Integration of Teaching and Research Grant
April, 2010-March, 2012


Selected Journal Articles (Refereed)

More, J.1, Williams, B., & Gillespie, J. (2016). Reformulating understanding of productivity for clinical social work practice. Canadian Social Work, 18(1), 23-40.

Hood, R., Gillespie, J. & Davies, J. (2016 Advance Online Access). A conceptual review of  interprofessional expertise in child safeguarding. Journal of Interprofessional Care. doi: 10.3109/13561820.2016.1173656.  Access this article at:

Abel, M.1 & Gillespie, J. (2015). Network Analysis in co-productive research with a multi-sector community network. Community Development Journal, 50(2), 327-344. doi:10.1093/cdj/bsu040

Whiteley, R., Gillespie, J., Watts, W., Robinson, C. & Carter, D.1 (2014). Effective teaching and learning in interprofessional education in child welfare. Journal of Education and Training Studies, 2(4), 148-158.

Rutko, E.1 & Gillespie, J. (2013). Where’s the wilderness in wilderness therapy? Journal of Experiential Education, 36(3), 218-232.

Gillespie, J. (2013). Being and becoming: Writing children into planning theory. Planning Theory, 12(1), 64-80.

Gillespie, J. (2013). Novel ideas for community centered clinical practice: Facilitating graduate students understanding of sense of community and place. Smith College Studies in Social Work, 83(1), 45-60.

Gillespie, J. (2012). Teaching Note: Enhancing social work education through team based learning. Journal of Social Work Education, 48(2), 377-387.

Gillespie, J. & Redivo, R.1 (2012). Type of community as confounding variable in the satisfaction of rural mental health clinicians: Implications for evidence-based workforce development. Journal of Mental Health Training, Education, and Practice, 7(1), 20-32.

Gillespie, J. & Redivo, R.1 (2012). Personal-professional boundary issues in the satisfaction of rural clinicians recruited from within the community: Findings from an exploratory study. Australian Journal of Rural Health, 20, 35-39.

Gillespie, J., Whiteley R., Watts, W., Dattolo, L.1 & Jones, D.2 (2010). Interprofessional education in child welfare: A university-community collaboration between nursing, education and social work. Relational Child and Youth Care Practice, 23(1), 5-15.

Gillespie, J. (2009). Family centers in rural communities: Lessons for policy, planning and practice. Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Social Services, 90(1), 96-102.

1. Denotes student co-authors
2. Denotes community partner co-authors.

Selected Book Chapters (Refereed)

Gillespie, J., Supernault, G.2 & Abel, M.1 (2014). Community networking: A promising practice for Aboriginal child welfare. In Badry, D., Montgomery, M., Fuchs, D. & McKay, S. (Eds.), Reinvesting in Families, Securing a Brighter Future: Voices from the Prairies (pp. 201-219). Edmonton, AB: Prairie Child Welfare Consortium/Alberta Centre for Child, Family and Community Research.

Gillespie, J. & Whitford, D. 2 (2010) Keeping the circle strong: Community networking to address off-reserve child welfare. In J.P. White & J. Bruhn (Eds.), Aboriginal policy research: Exploring the urban landscape, Vol. 8 (pp.151-170). Toronto: Thompson.

Commissioned Policy Papers

Gillespie, J. & Whitford, D.2 (2009) Keeping the circle strong: Community networking to address off-reserve child welfare. Institute on Governance, Aboriginal Policy Research Series, 20 pp. Acess this article at:

Government Reports

Gillespie, J. (June, 2011). Recruitment and Retention in Rural and Remote Child and Youth Mental Health: Towards Best Practices Models for Service Delivery. Submitted to: Ministry of Children and Family Development, Province of British Columbia. 144 pp.

Gillespie, J. (June, 2011). Executive Summary. Recruitment and Retention in Rural and Remote Child and Youth Mental Health: Towards Best Practices Models for Service Delivery. Submitted to: Ministry of Children and Family Development, Province of British Columbia, 17 pp.



Invited Presentations

Gillespie, J. (Oct, 2010) Making the path by walking: Strengthening Aboriginal child welfare through community networking. Northwest Child and Family Services Aboriginal Pillar Conference: Honoring Our Children. Peace River, AB. (Keynote presentation)


Selected International Conference Presentations (Refereed)

Gillespie, J., Davies, J., & Hood, R. (Aug, 2016). A theoretical framework for interprofessional expertise. 21st International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect Congress on Child Abuse and Neglect. Calgary, AB.

Gillespie, J. (June, 2014). Community development and child protection: Bridging the theoretical abyss. Community is the Answer: International Association for Community Development. Glasgow, Scotland.

Gillespie, J. (June, 2010). Community network analysis: A postmodern research agenda for child welfare. Pathways to Resilience II Conference: The Social Ecology of Resilience. Halifax, NS.

Gillespie, J. (June, 2010). Novel Ideas: Spirituality and Community in a Clinical Social Work Course. International Conference on Spirituality and Social Work, Calgary, Alberta.


Selected National Conference Presentations (Refereed)

Gillespie, J. (Oct. 2014). Forms and strategies of interdisciplinary collaboration in child welfare: Implications for education, research and reflection. 7th Biennial Prairie Child Welfare Consortium Symposium: Celebrating Child Welfare Transformations: Interdisciplinary Practices, Field Education and Research. Saskatoon, SK

Gillespie, J. Supernault, G.2 & Abel, M.1 (May, 2012). Community networking: A promising practice for Aboriginal child welfare. 6th Bi-annual Prairie Child Welfare consortium Symposium: Reinvesting in families, securing a brighter future. Edmonton, AB.


Selected Provincial/Regional Conference Presentations (Non-Refereed)

Bottoroff, J., Brown, B. & Gillespie, J. (Mar. 7, 2017) Rural health in rural hands: Building partnerships with a regional alliance for health research. UBC Okanagan Celebrate Research Week. Kelowna, BC.

Gillespie, J., Carter, D.2 & Hirtz, J. (May 2, 2012) Investigating Graduate Learning in Social Work Education. UBC Okanagan 8th annual Learning Conference: Scholarly Approaches: Evidence Informed Teaching and Learning.