Red Deer College instructors and authors Elaine Spencer, Laura Davis and Doris MacKinnon spoke about their books at a book launch event on Thursday at RDC. (Photo by Susan Zielinski/Advocate staff)

Three RDC instructors launch new books

Writer Margaret Laurence, Métis pioneer women, and social work ethics were the topics of conversation at a book release celebration for three Red Deer College instructors in the School of Arts and Sciences on Thursday at RDC.

Social work instructor Elaine Spencer is a co-editor of the new textbook Social Work Ethics: Progressive, Practical, and Relational Approaches.

Spencer said the textbook was written to fill the void in progressive social work ethics material available for Canadians, and it’s now being used at 11 Canadian universities and colleges, including RDC.

“There has been a trend in the last number of decades towards managerialism and para-professionalism and the social workers are now needing to have a very internalized sense of their own ethics and a commitment to their own ethical behaviour,” Spencer said.

“The book is dedicated to the clients who have been harmed by social workers and to our future students so they can go out and do good in the world.”

History instructor Doris MacKinnon is the author of Métis Pioneers: Marie Rose Delorme Smith and Isabella Clark Hardisty Lougheed.

MacKinnon said she wanted to compare the survival strategy among French-speaking Métis to English-speaking Métis as the fur trade transitioned, specifically Métis women.

“Often times it was the women that were instrumental, even in the fur trade society, in forming that bridge between the traders and the indigenous groups,” MacKinnon said.

She said there weren’t a lot of services like schools and many people were immigrating to Canada.

“They helped set up the first hospitals. They helped set up the first reading society that would then become libraries,” MacKinnon said.

Literature and writing instructor Laura Davis wrote Margaret Laurence Writes Africa and Canada.

Davis said she was introduced to the writings of Margaret Laurence as a young child and focused on Lawrence during her graduate studies.

She hoped those who read her book will read more of Laurence’s books.

“I do think she’s a really important writer today in part because of the Truth and Reconciliation. She was really interested in Métis history and aboriginal history and settler history and how the two come together.”

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