Dr. James R. Vanderwoerd

Professor of Social Work

Associate Dean of Social Sciences

Phone: (905) 648-2139   Ext:4434

Email: jwoerd@redeemer.ca

Office: 219D

Programs: Applied Social Sciences, Social Work


Ph.D. (2003), Social Welfare, Case Western Reserve University
Dissertation: Secular and Religious Tensions in Government-Funded Faith-Based Social Services Organizations

M.S.W. (1991), Social Work, Wilfrid Laurier University
Thesis: Having A Say: The Experiences of Five Participants in a Community Development Project

B.A. (1988), History and Psychology, Calvin College

Diploma of Arts. (1987), The King’s University College


  • Diversity In Canada: Implications for Social Work (APS-332)
  • Social Welfare Policy and Process (APS-342)
  • Poverty: Problems and Perspectives (APS-428)
  • Introduction to Social Work and Social Welfare (APS-101)
  • Social Work Practice with Groups and Teams (APS-351)
  • Core Capstone Experience (CTS-410)


Dr. James R. Vanderwoerd has worked in social services and education for more than thirty-five years in both the USA and Canada. Prior to joining the faculty at Redeemer in 2006, he was the Director of the Social Work Program at Dordt University, Iowa. He also worked as a community researcher at the Shelldale Family Gateway, which recently celebrated its 25th anniversary with the launch of the book Realizing the Dream: The Story of Better Beginnings, Better Futures in Guelph. He was also a research associate at the Faculty of Social Work at Wilfrid Laurier University.  His research interests and publications are in the areas of sexual violence; faith-based nonprofit organizations; the role of religion in social welfare; social work education; and the history of social welfare.

Dr. Vanderwoerd lives in Brantford with his wife Valerie, a teacher at Brantford Christian School. They have four children, all of whom are graduates of Redeemer. Vanderwoerd enjoys camping, biking, hockey, disc golf, and photography, and has read The Lord of the Rings six times, including once aloud.

Research Interests

  • Domestic violence and sexual assault, violence prevention on college and university campuses
  • Nonprofit organizations, management and leadership, government funding and contracting, religiously affiliated nonprofit organizations, civil society
  • Social work education, educational assessment, service learning in social work education
  • Comparative social welfare policy, history of social welfare
  • Social support and prevention in family and child welfare

Research Funding

Multi-institutional Campus Safety and Preventing Misconduct Project, CCCU Supplemental Networking Grant, with Nathan Tintle, Director, and Kristin Van De Griend. 2018-2021.

Relationship Violence: Are Christian Colleges Safer? Zylstra Grant, Centre for Christian Scholarship, 2015-2016.

Evaluation of Safe Campus Project and Survey of Sexual Assault on Rural College Campuses, funded in part by U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against WomenGrants to Reduce Violent Crimes Against Women on Campus, 2004-2006.

Comparative Case Study Exploring the Influence of Government Funding on Faith-Based Social Service Organizations, funded in part by the Mandel Center For Nonprofit Organizations, 2002-2004.

Recent Publications

Selected Refereed Journal Articles

Foubert, J.D., Durham, A., Houston, M. & Vanderwoerd, J.R. (2021). Sexual Violence at Christian and secular universities: Does institutional type matter? Christian Higher Education. 20(4), 257-270.

Vanderwoerd, J.R., & Lankfhof, K. (2020). An Exploratory Study of Stalking on Christian Campuses: Does that Happen Here? Christian Higher Education, 19(3), 177–191

Vanderwoerd, J.R. & Cheng, A. (2017). Sexual Violence on Religious CampusesCanadian Journal of Higher Education, 47(2), 1-21.

Vanderwoerd, J.R. (2016). The Promise and Perils of Anti-Oppressive Practice For Christians in Social Work EducationSocial Work & Christianity, 43(2), 153-188.

Vanderwoerd, J.R. (2015). All Things New: Neo-Calvinist Groundings for Social WorkSocial Work & Christianity, 42(2), 121 – 148.

Vanderwoerd, J.R. (2011). Reconsidering Secularization and Recovering Christianity in Social Work History, Social Work & Christianity, 38(3), 244-266.

Vanderwoerd, J.R. (2010). The Challenge of Fundamentalism for Social Work Ethics: Can Anti-Oppressive Social Work Include Orthodox Religion? Canadian Social Work, 12(2), 68-87.

Vanderwoerd, J.R. (2009). Experiences of Sexual Coercion, Awareness of Services, and Acceptance of Rape Myths Among Students in Rural CollegesRural Social Work & Community Practice, 14(1), 17-28.

Vanderwoerd, J.R. (2004). How faith-based social service organizations manage secular pressures associated with government fundingNonprofit Management & Leadership, 14(3), 239-262.

Selected Books and Book Chapters

Vanderwoerd, J.R., & van der Woerd, E.R. (2020). “Is There More to This Story? Christianity in Social Work History and Implications for Social Justice” in L. Scales & M. Kelly (Eds). Christianity & Social Work: Readings on the Integration of Christianity and Social Work Practice, 6th Ed. Botsford, CT: North American Association of Christians in Social Work, 63-80.

Vanderwoerd, J.R. (2012). “Social welfare in a diverse society: Loving the Neighbor You Don’t Know”, in Christianity & Social Work: Readings on the Integration of Christian Faith and Social Work Practice, 4th Ed. (Eds: T.L. Scales & M.S. Kelly). Botsford, CT: North American Association of Christians in Social Work, 215-234.

Vanderwoerd, J.R. (2008). “I Am Making Everything New! Biblical Themes for Macro Practice”, in Christianity & Social Work: Readings on the Integration of Christian Faith and Social Work Practice, 3rd Ed. (Eds: B. Hugen & L. Scales). Botsford, CT: North American Association of Christians in Social Work, 119-138.

Vanderwoerd, J.R. (2008). “Who cares? Social welfare in a diverse society”, in Christianity & Social Work: Readings on the Integration of Christian Faith and Social Work Practice, 3rd Ed. (Eds: B. Hugen & L. Scales). Botsford, CT: North American Association of Christians in Social Work, 179-196.

Selected Book Reviews and Non-Peer Reviewed

Vanderwoerd, James R. (2022). Review of “The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self: Cultural Amnesia, Expressive Individualism, and the Road to Sexual Revolution,” Christian Scholar’s Review, 51(2 ), 256-259

Vanderwoerd, James. R. (2021). Review of “Heaven on Earth: The Rise, Fall, and Afterlife of Socialism” in Christian Scholar’s Review, 50(3), 327-331.

Vanderwoerd, J.R. (November/December 2017). Is your daughter safer at a Christian college? Faith Today, 36-38.

Vanderwoerd, J.R. (September 2017). Campus Violence And Moral CommunityConvivium.

Vanderwoerd, J.R. (June/July 2016). The culture of consent on campus. Convivium, 19-23.​

Vanderwoerd, J.R. (2011). Book review of One Hundred Years of Social Work: A History of the Profession in English Canada, 1900-2000, by T. Jennissen & C. Lundy (2011). Social Work & Christianity, 38(3), 377-380.

Vanderwoerd, J.R. (Spring 2011). Do we need a welfare net or floor? Debating child poverty in Canada. Cardus Policy in Public, 4(2), 64-72.

Vanderwoerd, James R.. Book review of The Poor You Have With You Always by Alan Keith-Lucas in Social Work & Christianity, Fall 2010, 37(3), 371-374.

Professional Memberships and Associations

Canadian Association for Social Work Education
Canadian Society of Spirituality and Social Work
North American Association of Christians in Social Work