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Professional Practice Fellow

Contact Details

Rm 6C19, Richardson Building

Louie Classen 2022 imageProfile

I am a Professional Practice Fellow at University of Otago's Social and Community Work programme, and I co-ordinate and teach the practice skills paper and co-ordinate the placement papers. My main role is the facilitation and co-ordination of social work fieldwork placements both in the government and non-government sector, mainly in Ōtepoti but also across Aotearoa.

My practice background is in statutory social work both in South Africa and Aotearoa. My mahi in Aotearoa has been for Oranga Tamariki and was focussed on working alongside rangatahi and their whānau. I was privileged to be a social worker in a newly developed specialist team for rangatahi where the mahi is intensive and centered around relational social work using the PARTH model. This team was co-located in the community and allowed me to foster amazing and lasting relationships in the Ōtepoti Social Services Sector. I then moved into a team leader role as the supervisor for the team working with tamariki in care. During this time I was fortunate to be able to work with Tiaki Taoka, a Kāi Tahu mandated whānau care service in Ōtepoti.

My research focus has been statutory social work based, specifically about the child's experience in the family court system and how this experience can be improved.

In my private life I enjoy paddleboarding with my husband and Sharpei “Rolly Polly” pup. I also love baking and experimenting with new food recipes.

Teaching Interests

I co-ordinate and teach:

SOWK 320/570 Introduction to Professional Practice
SOWK 392/592 Fieldwork Practice 1
SOWK 492/593 Fieldwork Practice 2

Postgraduate supervision

I welcome approaches for supervision of Masters students in Care and Protection Social Work including: family/children's court, tamariki and rangatahi in care, reunification and restorative mahi with whānau, relational social work and supervision.


  • International Association for Social Work with Groups (IASWG) Symposium. (2013). 'Together we can': Exploring disability amongst black African adolescents with physical disabilities.
  • International Association for Social Work with Groups (IASWG) Symposium. (2014). Servant Leadership: A practical vignette of female group leader empowerment within a religious group context.
  • 9th Annual Child Trauma Conference. (2017). Giving little people big voices.


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