Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

Research Activity Report

Academic Year July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015

Introduction

Full Report (Word document)

The Faculty of Education and Social Work is committed to research as a form of service to others. Our faculty specialise in education, English for academic purposes, university and employment preparation, social work and human services. This report describes how we are advancing our research culture in these disciplinary areas by addressing questions of local, national and international importance, particularly in the strategic areas of education, health and diversity; Aboriginal understanding; and community and culture. In this way our research is interwoven with core academic themes: power, politics and social justice; sustainability (environmental, economic, social and cultural); and science, technology and applied skills in society.

Our research mission is knowledge creation to move debates forward in ways that improve student success, enhance social and human opportunity, enable equity, advance reconciliation, and support well-being. In short, our research is in service to realizing potential — in education, language acquisition, and social and human development.

Our priorities include research that contributes to Aboriginal advancement and to reconciliation. We take a strengths-based approach to enabling Aboriginal and Indigenous research scholarship and scholars. We recognize that the TRU campus is situated on the traditional and unceded Tk’emlupsul’ecw ell Stk’emlupsemc territory and are committed to exploring research areas of mutual benefit, with exceptional consideration for Secwe̓pemc world-view and belief system.

In order to serve in meaningful ways, our research as reported here reflects a range of theoretical and methodological orientations, and often incorporates interdisciplinary approaches to the analysis of educational and social theory, policy and practices. Our intent is to generate new knowledge of the highest quality and importance, which makes original theoretical and/or empirical contributions across both formal and informal education, social and human development contexts. Through our research and scholarship, Faculty of Education and Social Work scholars critically engage with historic and contemporary arrangements in education, social and human development settings, and offer meaningful, research-informed alternatives to these arrangements.

The 2014-2015 Faculty of Education and Social Work Research Activity report

This report describes activity by School/Department, a summary of Faculty of Education and Social Work research activity, and a description of working definitions for our research activity. We have differentiated between research outputs (RO), contribution to the research environment (CRE), and peer esteem (PE). Working definitions are provided at the end of this report.

Aboriginal Research

An important aim of the Annual Research Activity Report is to give due emphasis to research by Aboriginal researchers and to research into Aboriginal matters. Such research may also acknowledge different approaches to the research process. During 2015-2016 the Faculty will develop mechanisms for including Aboriginal research to acknowledge the special role and status of Aboriginal research and the principle of cultural inclusiveness in respect of Aboriginal researchers and research.

New and emerging researchers

In reading the Faculty of Education and Social Work Research Activity report it is important to be mindful of ‘new and emerging’ researchers. This category recognises that academics may be newly arrived in the Faculty of Education and Social Work and/or new to an academic career. A ’New’ academic was first appointed to a research active position on, or after, July 1, 2014. An ‘Emerging’ academic was first appointed to a research active position on, or after, July 1, 2014 and/or has not undertaken research activity in their previous conditions of employment (ie. for the first time in their career as an academic). Research outputs are likely to be less in the first year as a new and emerging researcher due to research project and publication cycles. In addition, evidence of peer esteem and contribution to the research environment is less likely to be apparent for new and emerging researchers.

Factors influencing quantity

This report includes research activity by all faculty in the Faculty of Education and Social Work, including those who are teaching specialists (‘bipartite’). It is noteworthy that activity is reported for the Departments of ESL and UEPrep, in which most faculty are teaching specialists. Only one faculty member in these Departments has workload allocated for research activity (‘tripartite’).

It is important therefore in reading this report to note that the number of research outputs that a full-time academic can produce may be influenced by a variety of factors such as:

  • Whether the academic is allocated workload for research activity
  • Special circumstances
  • The subject area or sub-area
  • The type of research outputs produced
  • The extent to which outputs are sole or multi-authored
  • The career stage of the academic (eg. new and emerging researcher)
  • Whether the academic has been research active over the activity report period

Highlights

This report shows genuine strengths and further potential for the Faculty of Education and Social Work research leadership:

  • engaged in research attracting $1.1 million of external grants;
  • average of $69k in external grants per tripartite faculty member;
  • 2.5 research outputs per tripartite faculty member;
  • highest SSHRC grants of all TRU Faculties; and
  • research leadership contributing to Aboriginal and Indigenous advancement.