Grants & Funding

This list contains our grants in progress.

SSHRC Partnership Grant



Margaret Macintyre Latta (PI), University of British Columbia
Co-Investigators: Karen Ragoonaden, University of British Columbia; Sabre Cherkowski, University of British Columbia; Dwayne Donald, University of Alberta; Jan Hare, University of British Columbia; Nicholas Ng-A-Fook, University of Ottawa; Sandra Styres, University of Toronto; Terry Beaudry, Central Okanagan Public Schools

Working together to negotiate the practices of co-curricular-making will foster creative and critical learning that is locally derived, and will enable self-understandings within the larger world. Locally, we will work alongside community organizations to share Syilx ways to care for tmxwulaxw (our land) and to develop ways to learn and live better together that are guided by captikwł (stories). Nationally, we will create experiential curricular pathways, ways to reorient education toward reconciliation and to mobilize efforts accordingly. By the end of this five-year project, participating local educators and their students will have gained deeper understandings of Syilx culture with pedagogies responsive to the connections among land, culture, and understandings of self in the world. With our partners, we will have developed teacher education programs and professional development initiatives that can reconceptualize education towards individual and collective agency, growth, and well-being, attending to the strengths and particularities of their students and the resources of place. Through the articulation of such decolonizing co-curricular-making, education ministries, districts, and institutions will engage and mobilize reconciliation-in-action across Canada. Learn more.

SSHRC Insight Grants

Undergraduate Student Stress Reduction Through Virtual Canine Comfort

2021 – 2024

Dr. John-Tyler Binfet (UBC) and Dr. Christine Tardif-Williams (Brock University)

The aim of this research is to create Virtual Canine Comfort modules and assess the effects of synchronous (i.e., interactions offered via Zoom) and asynchronous (i.e., interactions offered via Youtube) modules on students’ self-reports of stress. Therapy dogs and their handlers from UBC’s Building Academic Retention through K9s (B.A.R.K.) program, a program established in 2012 and that sees over 4,000 in-person student visits each year to stress reduction sessions held on campus, will be recruited to participate in the creation of modules. By assessing students’ perceptions of their experience with the various models of virtual canine comfort modules, we can determine whether the well-established in-person stress-reduction program can be mobilized through digital delivery.

Mindfulness and Antiracist Education: Developing Critical Reflection

$86, 370
2021 – 2024

Dr. Karen Ragoonaden (UBC), Dr. Heesoon Bai (Simon Fraser University) and Dr. Oren Ergas (Beit Berl College)

The research involves introducing mindfulness practices in antiracist education courses delivered over three years at two campuses: the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus (UBC O) and Simon Fraser University (SFU). The researchers hypothesize that mindfulness, as a reflective practice, has the potential to support educators as they navigate unsettling and provocative discussions relating to race, gender, culture and identity. Specifically, the research questions are: How can mindfulness practices support critical self-reflection when discussing privilege and marginalization? How do pre-service and service teachers respond, emotionally, physically and intellectually to mindfulness practices as they engage antiracist education?

Understanding Student’s Place in the Deliberative Politics of Education: A Philosophical Analysis

$ 56,185

Christopher Martin (PI), University of British Columbia

Children and youth are most directly affected by education policy decisions. However, the extent to which they should be involved in making those decisions is highly contentious. Recent youth engagement on issues such as gun control and school safety in the aftermath of numerous US school shootings, student led-protests against proposed changes to the Ontario sex education curriculum and youth participation in public policy-debate over changes to the French university admissions system have provoked greater discussion about the participation of youth in educational decision-making than about the issues themselves.

This research aims to evaluate the extent to which children’s and youth’s perspectives can, and should, be included in democratic decision-making about educational values and policies. It will address the various challenges that democratic inclusion may encounter with respect to children, such as deficits in political understanding.

An investigation into the physical activity levels of children in outdoor early childhood environments

2018 – 2020
$ 38,535

Stephen Berg (PI), University of British Columbia; Brent Bradford (Co-PI), Concordia University of Edmonton

The research study is aimed to develop a greater awareness of the impacts that outdoor environments have on the physical activity levels of children in early childhood settings. It is of critical importance to investigate how outdoor environments either assist or hinder young children’s physical activity levels and physical literacy development. Prior to entering kindergarten, it essential for children to engage in physical activity to develop physical literacy. Providing children with opportunities to develop their skills and be active can help them reach greater levels of physical literacy and obtain higher levels of self-efficacy.

Mindfulness and Indigenous Knowledge: Shared Narratives about Well-Being

$ 100,000

Karen Ragoonaden (PI), UBC; Margaret Macintyre Latta (Co-PI), UBC; Tina Fraser (Co-PI), UNBC; Ross Hoffman, (Co-PI), UNBC.
Collaborators: School District 23; Aboriginal Programs and Services, UBC O; UNBC

This study aims to examine the similarities between Mindfulness and Indigenous knowledges. An ancillary aim is to examine how integrating Mindful practices into university courses, whose focus is on Indigenous knowledge, impact on identity and on the wholistic well-being of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal student populations. Specifically, the following three objectives have been identified:

  • Identify similarities relating to Mindfulness and to Indigenous knowledge
  • Determine if the integration of Mindfulness and Indigenous knowledge in university courses impacts on identity and the well-being of students
  • Develop a framework that identifies conditions under which Mindfulness and Indigenous knowledge can inform curriculum, practice and policy in higher education

Flourishing in Schools: positive leadership as a catalyst for sustainable school improvement

$ 176,212

Sabre Cherkowski (PI), UBCO; Keith Walker, (CO-PI), University of Saskatchewan; Benjamin Kutsyuruba, Queens University, (CO-PI)

Aligned with the mounting international calls for more research on wellbeing in schools, the purpose of this research is to examine positive leadership in K-12 schools using a positive organizational perspective to understand how to foster, support, and develop school leadership that encourages and sustains a culture of flourishing for all members of the learning community. We primarily use qualitative research strategies to collect data among K-12 principals in school districts across Canada, carrying out case studies, engaging expert panel focus groups, and hosting a Forum-workshop in Year 3, where we we convene participants, researchers, practitioners and other interested stakeholders to co-construct new knowledges and practices about and for positive school leadership.

Flourishing in Schools: A postive organizational perspective

$ 185,872

Sabre Cherkowski (PI), UBCO; Keith Walker, (CO-PI), University of Saskatchewan

The specific objectives of this three-year research project were to provide opportunities for teachers and other school leaders across BC and Saskatchewan to co-create knowledge with us about how individuals and groups flourish in schools. We carried out appreciative case studies and electronic delphi surveys to gather the narrative data that helped us bring to more concrete description the notion of flourishing from educators’ perspectives.

SSHRC Insight Development Grant

Alternative Pathways: Examining the Impact of English for Academic Purposes on the Undergraduate Experiences of Students from Linguistically Diverse Backgrounds

2018 – 2020

Scott Roy Douglas (PI), University of British Columbia, Christine Doe (Co-PI), Mount Saint Vincent University, Liying Cheng (Co-PI), Queen’s University

This project seeks to identify the impact of English for Academic Purposes (EAP) programs on students’ undergraduate experiences as well as the value of these programs as a pathway to university. Using qualitative multi-case study design, the research is contextualized within an additional language socialization framework, with three research sites across Canada. Data gathering includes classroom observations, questionnaires, and interviews, with data being compiled into emerging themes. Cross-site comparative analysis explores convergences and divergences in the data. Overarching linguistic, social, and academic themes appear salient. The results underscore the complexity of skills supporting undergraduate studies in English, and point to the importance of aligning EAP program content with students’ linguistic, social, and academic experiences in the wider university setting. This knowledge is critical to fostering positive student experiences and developing quality EAP programming as an equitable entrance pathway to higher education and a legitimate alternative to standardized English language testing.


SSHRC Partnership Engage Grant

Advancing and Enriching Social and Emotional Instruction in the Central Okanagan Public School District


Dr. John-Tyler Binfet and collaborators, Central Okanagan Public Schools’ Alan Lalonde and Sherri McKinnon

The aim of the research is to enhance the teaching of social emotional learning (SEL) within school district 23 and to ensure consistency around the opportunities for students to practice and develop their social and emotional competencies.  The team will work together to co-create a series of SEL training modules to fortify teachers’ foundation knowledge and ability to create SEL-rich learning opportunities for students.


University of Exeter – UBC Humanities Collaboration Fund

Connecting strands on Indigenous realities in the Americas: narratives of reconciliation in North and South America

$21,404 (£12,435)

B. Onciul, University of Exeter; M. Lazzari, University of Exeter; K. Ragoonaden, UBC; V. Magnat, UBC

This collaboration will further develop the ongoing Culture, Creativity, Health and Wellbeing project and will, among other opportunities, allow for Professor Onciul to engage with community sites in the Okanagan regarding TRC commitments and to contribute to course delivery with the Okanagan School of Education.

UBC Excellence Fund

English as an Additional Language (EAL) Support in the Writing and Research Centre, UBC Okanagan Library

2018 – 2021

Heather Berringer (Co-PI), UBC Okanagan Library; Amanda Brobbel (Co-PI), Writing and Research Services UBC Okanagan Library; Scott Roy Douglas (Co-PI), UBC Okanagan School of Education; Lori Walter (Co-PI), UBC Okanagan Centre for Scholarly Communication

Although existing literature points to the particular skills required to support post-secondary students using English as an additional language (EAL) effectively in writing centres, there is limited research on what development opportunities tutors require to gain these skills. To develop a better understanding of writing tutors’ professional development needs, the current study investigates what tutors already know and do not know in relation to tutoring students using EAL. Data collection consists of questionnaires, focus groups, and interviews.  Qualitative thematic analysis points to new insights into the development of writing tutor training resources, with the goal of improving writing support for EAL students. Building on these findings, a series of workshops and accompanying tutor development materials are being piloted and evaluated for effectiveness in supporting students using EAL.

The University of British Columbia Eminence Fund

Culture, Creativity, Health and Well-Being


K.Ragoonaden, UBC; V.Magnat, UBC; T. Willard, UBC; S. Dow-Fleisner, UBC; R Sharon, UBC; V. Kelly, SFU; E. Adams, First Nations and Inuit, Health Office, Deputy Chief Medical Officer; B. Onciul, University of Exeter; K. Thomadis, University of Exeter

This research cluster team is exploring synergies between cultural, creative and mindfulness practices that have the potential to foster and sustain health and well-being. This cluster draws on the collective expertise of researchers from Canada, the U.K. and France to co-develop an arts-based community-engaged research model.

Community Health Research


PI’s: Kathleen Martin Ginis and Mary Jung
CO-PI: Stephen Berg, Susan Holtzman, Charlotte Jones, Donna Kurtz, Jonathan Little, Lesley Lutes, Nelly Oelke, Ross Hickey, Kathy Rush

This interdisciplinary team from the Faculty of Health and Social Development, Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences, Faculty of Education and Faculty of Medicine will design, implement and evaluate interventions that address three community-identified health priorities: mental health and aging, obesity and diabetes, and aboriginal and rural health.  Using systematic, evidence-based, and community-engaged processes, the research ream will help guide current and future UBC Okanagan researchers in undertaking meaningful community health research and knowledge translation activities.

Centre for Ethics and Education Research Grant

Political Authority and the Aims of Higher Education

$25,000 USD 

Christopher Martin (PI), University of British Columbia

This research will articulate and defend an account of political authority over higher education. In particular, the project focus on the argument that state political authority over higher education systems should be grounded in its ability to secure aims argued to be intrinsic to higher education’s democratic function. It will then detail the relationship between this authority and liberal democratic values such as personal autonomy and equality. Finally, the project will apply this conception of authority to policy issues such as place of higher education in markets, the political autonomy of universities, and role (and limits) of higher education in serving particular social, economic and political ends.

Central Okanagan Foundation

High School Kindness Study


John-Tyler Binfet, University of British Columbia

This research aims to identify high school students’ views of kindness and to identify examples of their kind behaviour. In light of the BC Ministry of Education’s emphasis on social and emotional learning for students, investigating this topic holds the potential to inform parents and educators on a topic important to the healthy and optimal development of adolescents.