Charles Gyan, Assistant Professor

Dr. Gyan holds a PhD in Social Work from Wilfrid Laurier University and a Master of Philosophy degree in Social Work from the University of Ghana. Before joining the McGill School of Social Work, he served as an Assistant Professor of social work at the University of Regina and Wilfrid Laurier University. He is a fellow of several Canadian research centers including the Social Policy Research Centre (SPRC), the Tshepo Institute for the Study of Contemporary Africa (TISCA) and the Manulife Centre for Community Health Research. His practice experience has been in the areas of community organizing, social policy analysis, and program development and evaluation.

Dr. Gyan blends academic and research interests with his interest and commitment to Social policy change, transnational social work practice and community development. His program of research is founded on his deeply held commitment to social justice. Through research he seeks to uncover, disrupt and challenge dogmas, structures, and discourses that produce and preserve subjugation and oppression of marginalized groups. He employs multi research methods (qualitative, quantitative and mixed method) to produce knowledge that questions and disrupts oppressive gender discourses, enhances social planning, and promotes marginalized groups’ full inclusion in society through social policies, community development and program development. The overall goal of his research program is to inform policy and other systems-level interventions in order to promote the full inclusion of marginalized groups.

Dr. Gyan is strongly committed to and passionate about engaging students in high-quality rigorous educational experiences in order to prepare them for competent and ethical practice. This includes helping students to develop the skills and knowledge needed to critically analyze social policies and their consequences for marginalized groups. He strongly believes that effective social workers, program developers and policy practitioners should be prepared to engage community members and program/policy beneficiaries in order to understand their experiences, needs, assets, and ideas, and be equipped with an array of skills and conceptual tools to effect, formulate, and evaluate policy, program and social services. Dr. Gyan received the Anne Westhues Teaching Award for teaching excellence in 2018 and the 2023 McGill University Award for Equity & Community Building (Academic Staff category). 


Ph.D. (Social Work) Wilfrid Laurier University (2018)

MPhil (Social Work) University of Ghana (2013)

B.A. (Social Work) University of Ghana (2010)


2020 – present Assistant Professor

McGill University, Faculty of Arts, School of Social Work

2019 -2020 Assistant Professor

University of Regina, Faculty of Social Work

2018- 2019 Assistant Professor

Wilfrid Laurier University, Lyle S. Hallman Faculty of Social Work

2018 – 2019 Course Instructor

University of Windsor, Faculty of Social Work

2015 – 2018 Course Instructor

Wilfrid Laurier University, Lyle S. Hallman Faculty of Social Work

2014 – 2018 Director of Research, Innovation and Development

African Rights Initiative International

2010 – 2014 Program Coordinator

African Rights Initiative International

2011- 2014 Tutor

Institute of Continuing and Distance Education (ICDE), University of Ghana, Legon

2011-2012 Course Facilitator

Institute of Distance Learning (IDL), Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology.


My current projects include:

  • Rethinking Resilience: The experiences of Refugee and New Immigrant Youth in Canada
  • Gender Sensitive Open-Government: A tool for the Enhancement of Government Responsiveness and Public Service Delivery in Ghana and Senegal.
  • From Vulnerability to Resilience: Highly Skilled African Immigrants' Experiences in the Quebec Labor Market
  • Navigating the Waters of Injustice: Exploring the Intersections of Environmental Justice and Flooding in Accra, Ghana
  • The role of social work education in promoting environmental sustainability and climate justice in Africa: An analysis of the curriculum and pedagogy.
  • Resilience at a Cost: Deconstructing Resilience and its Hidden Consequences for Immigrant Workers in three Canadian Provinces



Research / Areas of Expertise

  • The dynamics of community participation in community, social and policy development,
  • Government policy systems and the complexity of contemporary policy practice, including evidence-based policymaking and stakeholder engagement.
  • Refugees and immigrants’ issues,
  • Environmental Justice,
  • Gender issues,
  • Open Government and globalization
  • Transnational Social work practice

Current Projects:

2022 – 2025 FRQSC - Soutien à la recherche pour la relève professorale

Principal Investigator: Dr. Charles Gyan, Topic: Repenser la résilience: L'expérience des jeunes réfugiés et nouveaux immigrants au Canada.

Amount: - CAD$ 45,795


2021 – 2023 SSHRC IDG

Principal Investigator: Dr. Charles Gyan (Principal Investigator), Dr. Stacey Wilson-Forsberg (CI Wilfrid Laurier university) Dr. Oliver Masakure (CI Wilfrid Laurier university), Dr. Ginette Lafreniere (CI Wilfrid Laurier university), Dr. Lamine Diallo (CI Wilfrid Laurier university), Dr. Funke Oba (CI Toronto Metropolitan University), and Dr. Michael Baffoe (CI University of Manitoba)

Amount: - CAD$ 69,767

Topic: From Vulnerability to Resilience: Highly Skilled African Immigrants’ Experiences within the Quebec Labour Market.


2021 - 2025 CIHR Project Grant

Principal Investigator: Dr. Roberta Woodgate, Co-investigators: Dr. Charles Gyan, Dr. David Busolo, Dr. Fiona Moola, Mathew Joseph, Bethelem (Betty) Kassa, Emmanuel Allieu, and Jessica Praznik. 

Amount: - CAD$ 761,176.

Topic: Young immigrants and refugees co-designing mental health and well-being solutions


2021 - 2022 Internal SSHRC Grant, McGill University

Principal Investigator: Dr. Charles Gyan,

Amount: - CAD$ 5,000.

Topic: Rethinking Resilience: The experience of Refugee and Immigrant Youth in Montreal


2021 - 2022 SSHRC Explore Grant

Principal Investigator: Dr. Patrina Duhaney,

Co-investigators: Dr. Charles Gyan, Dr. David Este, Dr. Funke Oba, and Dr. Kanika Samuels-Wortley.

Amount: CAD$ 14,931.75

Topic: Black Women’s Experience with the police in Alberta


Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

Ghadi, N., Gyan, C., Kikulwe, D., Massing, C., & Giesbrecht, C. J. (2023). Labour market integration of newcomers to Canada: The perspectives of newcomers in a smaller urban centre. International Migration.

Gyan, C., Chowdhury, F., & Yeboah, A. (2023). A Quantitative Study of Refugee and immigrant youth’s experiences with resettlement and mental health settlement services in Montreal. Humanities and Social Sciences Communications.

Gyan C., Chireh, B., Chuks-Eboka, N., & Yeboah A. (2023). Reconsidering the conceptualization of resilience: The experiences of Refugee and Immigrant Youth in Montreal.Applied Research in Quality of Life.

Gyan C., Yeboah, A., Abbey, E. & Hervis, M. V. (2023). Male Allyship within the context of local governance: A case of Wenchi Municipality in Ghana. International Journal of Community Diversity, 23(1), 35-48.

Kasapa, A. & Gyan, C. (2023). Community Participation in Planning Social Infrastructure Delivery in Ghana’s Local Government: A Case Study of Shai Osudoku District. Journal of Development Policy and Practice, 1-22.

Chireh, B., Gyan C. & Acharibasam, J. B. (2022). Sense of community belonging and self-rated general and mental health status among immigrants in Canada. International Journal of Migration, Health, and Social Care.

Gyan, C. & Mfoafo-Mcarthy, M (2021). Women’s participation in community development in rural Ghana: The effects of colonialism, neoliberalism, and patriarchy. Community Development. DOI:10.1080/15575330.2021.1959362

Gyan, C., Malik, M. & Aisha Siddique (2021) Barriers to the participation of women in community development process in rural Ghana: A regression analysis. Development in Practice. DOI:10.1080/09614524.2021.1937541

Gyan, C. (2021). Community development participation scale: A development and validation study. Community Development. DOI: 10.1080/15575330.2021.1885049 -

Abbey, E. & Gyan, C. (2021). The salutogenic perspective on the negative traditional practices affecting the well-being of women in Siniensi Village of Northern Ghana. International Journal of Gender Studies in Developing Societies, 4(2), 155 - 169. DOI: 10.1504/ijgsds.2021.10038523

Gyan, C., Abbey, E. & Baffoe, M. (2020). Proverbs and Patriarchy: Analysis of Linguistic Prejudice and Representation of Women in Traditional Akan Communities of Ghana. Journal of Social Sciences, 9 (3), 22.

Gyan, C., (2016). The Effects of stakeholder conflicts on community development projects in Kenyase. SaGe Open, 1-8. DOI: 1177/2158244016635254.

Mfoafo-M’Carthy, M., Sottie, C. A., & Gyan, C. (2016). Mental illness and stigma: a 10-year review of portrayal through print media in Ghana (2003–2012). International Journal of Culture and Mental Health, 9(2), 197-207.

Gyan, C. (2013). The effects of teenage pregnancy on the educational attainment of girls in Chorkor, a suburb of Accra, Journal of Educational and Social Research, 3(3), 53 - 60. Doi:10.5901/jesr.2013.v4n3p53.

Gyan, C., (2013). The role of women in the oil industry, Journal of Social Sciences, 9(3) 94-100. Doi: 10.3844/jssp.2013.94.100.

Gyan, C., Mabefam, M. G. & Baffoe, M. (2014). Push out or drop out? Taking a critical look at the poor performance and drop-out of students of the JSS/JHS programme in Ghana. Academic Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies, 3(1), 409-420.

Gyan C., & Baffoe, M., (2014). “I feel though I don’t exist in this community”: Stakeholders’ thought on their non-involvement in community development initiatives in Kenyase. Public Policy and Administration Research 4 (12), 1-8.

Ampomah, A. O. & Gyan, C. (2014). Caught between Human Right Abuse and Survival: The Incidence of Child Labour in Obuasi. Academic Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies, 3 (1), 73.

Gyan, C., & Baffoe M., (2014). Stress and coping strategies among bankers in the Tema Metropolis. Developing Country Studies, 4(25), 34-41.

Book Chapters

Oyinlola, O., Gyan C. & Mugumbate J.R. (2023). Ubuntu: A Cultural Method of Dementia Caregiving in Africa, In B. Mayaka, C. Uwihangana & A.D. van Breda, The Ubuntu practitioner: Social work perspectives (pp. 384-416). IFSW, Rheinfeldon, Switzerland.

Abbey E., & Gyan C. (2022). COVID-19 and Future Pandemics: The responses of Non-state Actors and Lessons for Building Resilience. In J. Atela & M. Pelling (eds.), Building Africa’s resilience in the post COVID-19 world: Lessons for research and development priorities. ARIN Press.

Gyan C. & Chilliak, S. (2022). Women’s Land Rights in Africa: Collectivization vs. Privatization-based Solutions, In J. Onyango (ed.) Decolonizing methodologies to sustainability in the global south. ARIN Press.

Gyan C., Yeboah, A., Abbey, E. & Hervis, M. V. (2022). Indigenizing Research Practices: Prospects and Challenges of Incorporating Indigenous African Culture into Research. In J. Onyango (ed.) Decolonizing methodologies to sustainability in the global south. ARIN Press.


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