Edward R. Canda

Headshot of Edward R. Canda
  • Professor Emeritus
  • School of Social Welfare

Contact Info


Edward R. Canda is Professor and Coordinator of the Spiritual Diversity Initiative in the School of Social Welfare at the University of Kansas. He joined the faculty in 1989. Before coming to KU, Dr. Canda was on the social work faculty of the University of Iowa for three years. He has an M.A. in Religious Studies (University of Denver, 1979) and MSW and Ph.D. degrees in social work (The Ohio State University, 1982 and 1986). Dr. Canda's research and service address connections between cultural diversity, spirituality, and resilience in relation to health, mental health, and disabilities. For more than 40 years, Professor Canda has been exploring insights from Eastern philosophy for social welfare. He has been a Visiting Researcher or Professor in South Korea at Sungkyunkwan University and in Japan at Ritsumeikan and Doshisha Universities. He has about 200 publications and has conducted about 230 presentations in the United States and in many other countries, especially in East Asia and Central Europe. His most widely cited books are Spiritual Diversity in Social Work Practice (Canda and Furman, 1999/2010, Oxford University Press) and Contemporary Human Behavior Theory (Robbins, Chatterjee, and Canda, 1998/2006/2012, Pearson). Dr. Canda has taught courses mainly in human behavior theory (at BSW, MSW, and PhD levels), qualitative research methods (at PhD level), spiritual diversity in practice (at MSW level), and study abroad in Korea (at BSW, MSW, and PhD levels). In 2013, he received the Council on Social Work Education's Significant Lifetime Achievement Award for innovations on spirituality through scholarship and education.


Ph.D., Social Welfare, The Ohio State University
Master of Social Work, The Ohio State University
Master of Arts, Religious Studies, University of Denver
Masters Level Nondegree Program, Graduate Fellow of East Asian Philosophy, Sung Kyun Kwan University
Bachelor of Arts, Anthropology, Kent State University


Research interests:

  • Spiritual diversity in social work theory and practice
  • Philosophy of social work
  • Qualitative research methods
  • International social work
  • Korean social welfare in relation to Korean philosophy and religions
  • East Asian and international perspectives on social welfare