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Associate Professor and MSW Program Director Micheal L. Shier

Micheal L. Shier


Associate Professor
MSW Program Director
Canada Research Chair in Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship in the Human Services
Ph.D., Social Welfare, University of Pennsylvania

Phone Number: 
(416) 946-8607
Office Location: 

Room 316

Research Interests: 
  • Nonprofit organizations and the voluntary sector
  • Social innovation and social entrepreneurship
  • Social financing strategies
  • Partnerships
  • Social enterprise

Dr. Micheal Shier is Associate Professor, MSW Program Director and the Field of Study Coordinator for the Human Services Management and Leadership field of study. He is also the coordinator for the Certificate program in Human Services Management and Leadership with the School of Continuing Studies, University of Toronto, and the faculty lead for the FIFSW Student Leadership and Mentorship co-curricular program. Dr. Shier joined the faculty in 2014 following completion of a PhD (Social Welfare) at the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice. He has been the recipient of several research awards, including the Government of Ontario’s Ministry of Research and Innovation Early Researcher Award (2017-2022), and is appointed as a Canada Research Chair holder in Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship in the Human Services.

Dr. Shier’s program of research helps to optimize social service delivery and improve social outcomes for vulnerable social groups, enhances the capacity of nonprofit leadership within our community, and supports local social welfare and community economic development. Specifically, his research focuses on organizational development in human service organizations, with an aim to support outcomes and strategies that lead to 1) social innovation and social entrepreneurship (including development of leadership capacity, organizational, culture, positive partnerships dynamics, and for-profit market-based activities), 2) equity and inclusion, 3) workplace health and safety, and 4) trauma informed organizational environments. His current funded research is aimed at 1) developing socially innovative organizational strategies within the nonprofit and voluntary sector to promote equitable and inclusive human service organizational environments, and 2) understanding the mechanisms that promote social-purpose driven for-profit activities within and among non-profit and for-profit organizations across Canada. Dr. Shier also works extensively with nonprofit human service organizations to develop and implement models of evaluation that support the identification and implementation of social innovation efforts.

Social Innovation and Social Work YouTube Channel
Knowledge mobilization efforts related to Professor Shier’s research on social innovation. This channel includes creative student videos on thinking innovatively and entrepreneurially about emerging and persistent social issues in the field.

Certificate in Human Services Management and Leadership  
Certificate program created and coordinated by Dr. Shier that supports management and leadership training for social work and allied human service practitioners in the field. The program is offered in partnership between the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work and the School of Continuing Studies at the University of Toronto.