Printer-friendly > Education > Research > Faculty Research Themes

Faculty Research Themes

Faculty research interests are varied and intersect. The following thematic overview provides access to some of these interests and intersections:

1. Mindful Engagement, & Well-Being within Educative Contexts
2. Teaching/Learning in an Increasingly Globalized World:Attention to the Local as Forming/Informing the Global
3. Curricular Enactment: Attentive to Content Knowledge, Pedagogical Knowledge, Contexts, & Practical Wisdom
4. Ethical and Democratic Aims of Education
5. Educational Leadership: Policies, Practices, & Reform Initiatives

1. Mindful Engagement, & Well-Being within Educative Contexts

Stephen Berg:

•    Sustainable Childhood Obesity Prevention Through Community Engagement (SCOPE):

•    Develop and maintain effective community partnerships resulting in collaboration and collective action.
•    Work with the community to identify successful programs and areas of need, and define priorities for local action.
•    Implement sustainable and effective local action that builds upon existing successes and addressed areas of need.
•    Help community members measure the impact of their efforts over time.
•    This will help alleviate sedentary behaviours in children, allowing them to lead more active, healthy lives.

This research is in partnership with pediatric endocrinologists, pediatricians, assistant professors and professors. As well, community liaisons from the cities of Abbotsford and Chilliwack are involved as well. This research is funded through the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Canadian Institute of Health Research.

•    Got Health: Inquiry Based Student Engagement: In the field of Health Education, it has been shown that providing students opportunities in planning and decision making regarding health programming can be effective (Forneris et al., 2009; Wong, Zimmerman & Parker, 2010). School District No. 23 in British Columbia, Canada recently designed and implemented a model for youth engagement in the area of Comprehensive School Health entitled “Got Health?”. The purpose of the Got Health? initiative is to discover how student-led health inquiry projects lead to healthy school environments. The intention is to empower students to create healthy change in their school settings by providing them with training, teacher guidance and opportunities to be change agents. Using the Comprehensive School Health framework, students will actively address and promote health issues through student-led inquiry projects that address a health issue in their school.

This research is funded by a $10,000 research grant through the Institute for Healthy Living and Chronic Disease Prevention at UBC Okanagan.

•    Action Schools: Promoting Healthy Living: Another area of student engagement and leadership in health that I am involved in is with Action Schools! BC. Action Schools! BC is a best practices model designed to assist schools in creating individualized action plans to promote healthy living. This organization contributes to the health of children by integrating physical activity and healthy eating messages into the fabric of the school community, with the goal of providing children with a foundation for life-long healthy living.

This research is being co-investigated with Dr. PJ Naylor from the University of Victoria and members of the Action Schools! BC team. The study involves training students in Grade 5 who then, in turn, teach younger students healthy eating practices and outdoor physical activities. This is first phase of the study and we are specifically looking at the perceptions of the Grade 5 leaders and how they perceive leadership, change in health beliefs and attitudes toward school.

John Tyler Binfet:

Conceptualizations of Kindness:  Working within a Social and Emotional Learning framework, Dr. Binfet researches children and adolescents’ conceptualizations of kindness (what does it mean to be kind?). His work examines both how students understand kindness and identifies kind acts done by students (when asked to be kind, how are students kind in school?). In addition to examining how students understand kindness in school, Dr. Binfet has researched teachers’ perceptions of school kindness (published in the International Journal of Emotional Education) and Dr. Binfet is keen on helping schools reconsider the role kindness might play in fostering student-teacher relations and boosting school climate. Dr. Binfet’s research on kindness has been funded by grants from the Central Okanagan Foundation and from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and Dr. Binfet has partnerships with School Districts SD 23 (Central Okanagan) and SD 67 (Okanagan Skaha). Dr. Binfet is the lead author of the School Kindness Scale (Binfet, Gadermann, & Schonert-Reichl, 2016), the first scale of its kind to measure students’ perceptions of school kindness. 

Animal-Assisted Therapy:  Established in 2012, Dr. Binfet is the Director of UBC’s Building Academic Retention through K9’s (BARK) program whose aim is to support the social and emotional well-being of students on campus by providing access to therapy canines. Dr. Binfet’s research examines the effects of canine-assisted therapy on university students’ perceptions of stress and homesickness and the extent to which students feel connected to campus. A unique feature of the B.A.R.K. lab is that Dr. Binfet and his team assess their own pool of therapy dogs and handlers for participation in community and research programs. Research from the B.A.R.K. lab (both randomized controlled trials and case studies) has been published in top animal therapy journals including Anthrozoos and Society & Animals and findings from B.A.R.K. are even listed on WebMD!  Each year, over 30% of UBC Okanagan students make use of the Drop-in and BARK2GO programs offered on campus. The B.A.R.K. lab is funded by UBC Okanagan’s AVP Students’ Office and VEDA Exclusive Student Living. Contact the BARK Office 



Sabre Cherkowski:

•    Flourishing in Schools: School Improvement as Organizational Well-being: There is an increasing body of research in psychology and organizational theory that finds that paying attention to capacities such as happiness, resilience, optimism and compassion can lead to benefits in the workplace such as improvements in organizational commitment, innovation and overall organizational health.  Exploring the transferability of these findings for use in educational environments promises benefits and payoffs at the individual level and at the level of the school as a learning community.   The purpose of this research project is to explore how it is that some K-12 school communities flourish and to use what we learn to contribute to increasing flourishing in all schools, especially those on the margins and those who have not yet reached their full potential.   What is flourishing? We know that we want ‘it’ and know when we feel ‘it’ but do not necessarily know how to explain, cultivate or sustain ‘it.’ One of the research goals is to bring to more concrete description the notion of flourishing from an education perspective with the aim of creating with educators a set of indicators, tools or instruments for noticing, cultivating and sustaining flourishing in schools.  Research activities include electronic surveys, case studies and appreciative inquiries.  


Margaret Macintyre Latta:

•    Fostering Pedagogical Relationships:  The mindful ground that prospective teachers encounter is being analyzed for features forming and reforming what it means for prospective teachers to see and build pedagogical relationships. 42 prospective teachers in practicum settings in elementary schools were chronicled over two terms as they pursued the lived realities of relational pedagogy as central to their curricular enactment.
•    Seeing and Acting on Innovation’s Renewing Potential-- The Fecundity of Genuine Learning Contexts: The newly opened “Innovative Learning Centre” (ILC) within our School of Education provides the context to study and give expression to the workings of innovation with Dr. Susan Crichton and additional Centre collaborators. The ILC challenges notions of innovation that characterize it as a distinct quality in self, others, and situations, that is rare and special and, instead, returns to innovation’s etymological roots of innovare, to renew, for insights into its elemental and catalytic roles within all learning. Innovation’s workings engage ILC participants in continually seeking, enlarging, and deepening understandings again and again. Specifically, how these workings can mindfully shape educators’ understandings of curricular enactment and offer renewed potential to be optimized for all learners and learning, is being documented and analyzed in this inquiry.  

Karen Ragoonaden:

•    Mindful Teaching and the Pedagogy of Well-Being: This conceptual research examines a  teacher educator’s exploration and integration of mindfulness in pedagogical practice. Mindfulness is described as “the awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally to the unfolding of experience moment by moment” (Kabat-Zinn 2003, p.144). Using a wellness wheel (Soloway, Poulin & Mackenzie, 2010) and a reflective journal, an educator observed how the progression of a daily mindful practice impacted on personal and professional identity, on becoming a reflective practitioner and on developing a holistic vision of teaching. In keeping with the literature, results derived from this inquiry also demonstrated how mindfulness skills increased a sense of well-being and self-efficacy, leading to increased clarity and stability of attention. Furthermore, the positive impact on classroom practice and on interpersonal relationships with students was noted.

Robert Whiteley

•    Designing Mindfulness Programs: As a SMARTinEducation trainer and Faculty Affiliate with the Centre for Mindful Engagement I am entering into research examining connections between emotional components of contemplative practice and mindfulness for teachers and administrators. In particular I am interested in the design of mindfulness programs that facilitate and create opportunities for contemplative practice for teachers and administrators.


2. Teaching/Learning in an Increasingly Globalized World: Attention to the Local as Forming/Informing the Global

Susan Crichton

•    The Future of Education: At a time of substantial change and ubiquitous access to information, educators struggle to change even the most basic aspects of their classroom practice.  This is especially true for those in challenging contexts where many continue to teach through the “mind numbing” practice of rote instruction.  As other sectors seem to adopt innovative practices and embrace change, teachers typically teach in the ways in which they themselves were taught.  As Dewey noted “If we teach today’s students as we taught yesterday’s, we rob our children of tomorrow.”

In my work, I acknowledge with my East African colleagues that teachers in challenging contexts face even a more daunting task. We define challenging contexts as settings in which individuals, due to a variety of circumstances, conditions or environmental constraints, do not have access to one of more aspects that underpin a civil society.  Using funding from a recent CAREG grant we will develop initially Innovative Learning Centres (ILC) on two campuses.  The purpose of the ILC is to (1) imagine the future of education, (2) foster new forms of literacy critical for the knowledge age, (3) to leapfrog pedagogy in imaginative, appropriate and sustainable ways by harnessing both indigenous ways of knowing and linguistic and scientific literacy to develop learners’ multiple literacies, and (4) use locally developed scientific and mathematical content as a basis for developing early years multiliteracy competence. The ILC will bring academics, educators, and industry together to imagine and create innovative pedagogical practices, using appropriate technologies in a design based, research informed, studio based learning environment.  The ILC will help educators leapfrog existing paradigms constraining innovative practice.  Leapfrogging, in the context of sustainable development, is a term used to describe the accelerated development of an intervention by “leaping over” conventional approaches and/or technologies and moving directly to a more appropriate, and often more advanced one.  An often-cited example is found when regions skip over the installation of landline telephony and move directly to mobile phone connectivity, leapfrogging the lack of phone access by embracing the newer, more appropriate mobile phone solution.  

•    Embracing the Potential of the 21st Century: Globally, educators are wrestling with ways to reform an education system built for an industrial age now almost obsolete in a Knowledge Age. We know significant reform is needed and we have adequate research to inform a way forward, but a question remains – Knowing what we know, how do we change the entrenched and conservative bureaucracy that directs most education systems and embrace the potential and promise of 21st century teaching and learning? Technology has a significant role to play by providing multimedia, digital content to support a variety of learning styles and modalities.
The model presented in this study is a response to a design problem of how best to inform professional development and support course redesign. Just as cellphone technology enabled developing countries to leapfrog innovations in telephony, this model is a partial answer to how post secondary institutions, situated in a challenging context, might leapfrog teaching and learning through the use of appropriate technologies.

•    Additionally: Explorations of appropriate technologies for challenging contexts and development of cultural relevant, locally authored content and media.

3. Curricular Enactment: Attentive to Content Knowledge, Pedagogical Knowledge, Contexts, & Practical Wisdom

Stephen Berg:

•    Trans-Curricular Problem Sets: A teacher education program based upon a constructivist, student-centered perspective includes modularized courses that integrate methods across a range of discipline areas. One such course, EDUC 407, focuses upon the development of instructional strategies in four disciplines: Physical Education, Information Communications and Technology, Drama and English as a Second Language. A final assignment in this course utilizes Trans-Curricular Problem Sets (TCPS)—a series of problem-based scenarios that challenge teams of pre-service teachers to develop instructional materials that integrate learning activities across the four discipline areas. This study seeks to determine pre-service teachers’ responses to the challenges posed by problem-based learning in an integrative team context.  Specifically, the research will address the instructional effectiveness of TCPS, whether pre-service teachers believe this type of instructional strategy can be transferred into other discipline areas, and how likely they would be to implement a similar approach in their own classroom practice.

Scott Roy Douglas:

•    Task-based Language Teaching: This study presents the wider results of an online survey designed to explore teacher perceptions of Task-based Language Teaching (TBLT) in the Canadian context (Douglas & Kim, 2013).  The survey was grounded in Ellis’ (2009) definition of TBLT as focusing on communication and meaning with a necessary exchange of information, a reliance on students own linguistic resources, and an ultimate outcome.  Participants were recruited from the Teachers of English as a Second Language Canada Federation (TESL Canada) membership, with a total of 217 out of a possible 6,833 members taking part.  Through the coding and grouping of participant responses, emergent themes arose in the data regarding successful examples of TBLT tasks, the benefits of TBLT, the drawbacks of TBLT, and participants’ further thoughts on the topic.  

•    Additional Language Assessment: This pilot study is an investigation into the lexical validity of the CELPIP General speaking and writing levels of performance and the accompanying CLB equivalencies.  Vocabulary is seen as an underlying variable of general English language proficiency.  In order to investigate productive vocabulary in use in the speaking and writing components of the CELPIP General, two corpora were created of combined previously rated individual test taker responses to a set of speaking and writing prompts.  58 speaking samples were collected for a spoken corpus of 49,588 running words.  149 writing samples were collected for a written corpus of 44,114 running words.  Lexical analysis of the breadth of vocabulary found in the samples was carried out with vocabulary profiling tools (Cobb, 2013).  For the speaking samples, for all but one of the measures, significant correlations were found between the measures of lexical breadth of knowledge and the CLB equivalencies.  For the writing samples, significant correlations were found for all of the measures of lexical breadth of knowledge and the CLB equivalencies.  These findings confirm the lexical validity of the corpora’s previously rated CELPIP General levels of performance and the CLB equivalencies.  

•    Additional Language Vocabulary Acquisition: This study builds on previous work exploring reading and listening lexical thresholds (Nation, 2006; Laufer & Ravenhorst-Kalovski, 2010; Schmitt, Jiang, & Grabe, 2011) in order to investigate productive vocabulary targets that mark successful entry-level undergraduate writing. Papers that passed the Effective Writing Test (EWT) were chosen to create a corpus of novice university level writing (N = 120). Vocabulary profiles were generated, with results indicating the General Service List (GSL) and the Academic Word List (AWL) cover an average of 94% of a typical paper. Further analysis pointed to 3,000 word families and 5,000 word families covering 95% and 98% respectively of each paper. Low frequency lexical choices from beyond the 8,000 word family boundary accounted for only 0.6% coverage. These results support the frequency principle of vocabulary learning (Coxhead, 2006), and provide lexical targets for English for Academic Purposes (EAP) curriculum development and materials design.

•    Experiences of Undergraduate Students from Non-English Speaking Backgrounds: This study compares the undergraduate academic achievement of domestic English language learners (ELLs) of different age on arrival (AOA) cohorts to native English speakers (NS), all of whom graduated from local high schools. The broad research question that frames the study is how the literacy levels of ELLs of different AOA cohorts influence retention, progress, and grade point average (GPA) as indicators of academic success. Findings suggest that ELLs are resilient and determined as they make progress toward degree status. However, their progress and achievement, regardless of AOA, is fraught with challenges. This outcome represents a loss of educational capital for Canada in an economy that needs the participation of these students, who are among our brightest and best. Suggestions are made for policy reform, pedagogy, and service provision for ELLs at university.

•    Transition from High School to University for English Language Learners: In this study, various measures of educational achievement of English language learners (ELLs) are compared to those of native English speakers (NS) who graduated high school in Calgary and were admitted into first year studies at the University of Calgary (U of C); and the literacy demands of university manifested in the readability levels of first year textbooks are analyzed. Findings suggest ELLs are academically competent, as reflected in the achievement outcomes of provincial high school diploma examinations in mathematics. The vast majority, however, are inadequately prepared for the literacy demands of university and are at immediate academic risk. Suggestions are made for policy, transitional programming, and the provision of services that may support academic achievement at university for this growing profile of learners on campus.

Robert Campbell:

•    Cultural Influences of Media: Curriculum development and evaluation are broad areas of research interests framing specific areas within Educational Technology and Digital Learning concerning the cultural influences of media, new media and learning environments. Project based, collective, and flexible learning experiences provide contexts for such study.  Human computer interfaces and learning as a self-organizing activity are also active areas of interest.

Susan Crichton:

•    Taking Making into Schools – exploration of the introduction to the Maker Movement in schools as a way of fostering interest in Trades and Technology in Grades K – 9 and supporting constructionist, inquiry learning.

•    Innovative Learning Centre: Development of an Innovative Learning Centre within a School of Education

•    New Directions for Distance Education: Toward Flexible Learning.  Two year study investigating existing practices in distance education in Alberta with recommendations for future directions.

•    Meaningful Technologies for Learning: Implementation of meaningful technologies to foster innovative teaching and learning.  Building on previous research which studied the two-phase deployment of iPod Touch and iPad devices in a large, urban Canadian school board.  The purpose of the study was to gain an understanding of the infrastructure required to support handheld devices in classrooms; the opportunities and challenges teachers face as they begin to use handheld devices for teaching and learning; and the opportunities, challenges and temptations students face when gaining access to handheld devices and wireless networks in K – 12 schools. A mixed method approach was used: online survey, monthly professional development activities with teachers, collected samples of lesson plans and student work, and made regular classroom observations.  

Margaret Macintyre Latta:

Curricular Conversations—The Aesthetics of Human Understandings: Viewing curriculum as genuine inquiry into what is worth knowing, rather than simply a curricular document, this research considers the significances instilled and nurtured through attending to meaning making processes from within processes themselves. Such attention acts as sustenance for textured curricular conversations, holding catalytic powers for investing in lives of passionate engagement with the world, understood as always in the making.  Educators’ and students’ roles and responsibilities within such curricular conversations are unpacked and explicated.  

Karen Ragoonaden

•    The Impact of EDUC 104 Introduction to Academic Pedagogy on Retention and Degree Completion: This three year longitudinal study will focus on determining retention and degree completion of the first cohort registered in the EDUC 104 Introduction to Academic Pedagogy: An Aboriginal Perspective. As a mixed method study, qualitative data (1 interview in 2013 and another interview in 2016/17) will be used to assess the impact of the introduction to university course on the academic program of Access students.  Data relating to academic history, that is courses, grades, degree programs and degree completion, will be tabulated by Campus Research and Analysis.

•    Crossing boundaries through collaborative self-study: Within the context of a collaborative self-study, two teacher educators explored and analyzed the challenges and opportunities of being “change agents.” Shared interests (best practice in teacher education programs) and different backgrounds (urban and rural contexts, gender differences, cultural and ethnic variations) offered many occasions to engage in a critical friendship (Costa & Kallick, 1993).  In order to support this emergent critical friendship, critical pedagogy provided the lens through which these colleagues explored their beliefs and practices in two very different teacher education programs. Regular Skype encounters coupled with journal writing facilitated constructive reflections based on self-knowledge, cultural knowledge, habits of mind leading towards best practice. As indicated in the literature, the creation of these reflective communities of learning could pave the way for an agency of change negating inequalities and social injustices in pedagogical spheres (Ball, 2009; Ball and Tyson, 2011).

•    Contested Sites in education: The Quest for the public intellectual, identity and service: Emerging from the contested site of a new university campus, educators interrogate the transformative process of reconceptualising and rebuilding a School of Education in the 21st century.  As a faculty-wide collective, tenure-track and tenured colleagues come together to explore and discuss the impact of this agency of change. In keeping with Scott’s (2012) normative positions about the roles and contributions of academic professionals, the researchers explore variations of traditions that represent engagement in the public work sector: the public intellectual, the service intellectual, the action researcher/public scholar/educational organizer and the antitradition of the disengaged and detached scholar. While recognizing that none of these academic types exist in pure form in practice, the researchers intend to explore the multiple dimensions of scholarly activity by exploring academic, professional, civic and public identities.


4. Ethical and Democratic Aims of Education

Catherine Broom:

•    Youth Civic Engagement: An international collaboration exploring youth civic engagement/disengagement across a number of nations including Canada, the UK, the US, Mexico, Israel, Japan, Italy and Uganda.  The study includes a theory of youth engagement/disengagement in relation to civic life/democracy processes, research with youth, and recommendations to address findings.  It considers the inter-relations between local contexts and global forces and trends.

•    Global Citizenry: An exploration of the effectiveness of local and international community-focused, activity-based projects for promoting global citizenship. Other areas of related work include: engagement of youth in sustainability practices, promoting holistic student development through social studies, and exploring youth happiness through innovative research tools (as a co-investigator)
•    Additional research focuses on the history of education and of social studies, and in social studies (theoretical and applied)

Christopher Martin:

•    The Ethics and Politics of Social Justice in Education: One of my main research interests is how democratic deliberation can better inform socially just and fair educational polices and practices.

A.    The Epistemology of Educational Policy-Formation in 21st Century Higher Education

Lead Investigator
Funding: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
Value: $60,142.00

The future of higher education represents one of the most frequently debated and philosophically fraught educational issues to capture the attention of the public in the new millennium. This project investigates the conditions under which it would be possible for philosophical concepts and ideas about education to be legitimately applied in addressing higher education policy debates in a way that respects the values of multicultural and democratic societies such as a Canada.

B.    Education for an Austere Future: Rethinking Democratic Aims of Education

The developing research project seeks to determine the extent to which, and ways in which, educational values will need to change in order to address some of the serious challenges facing liberal democracies into the future. For example, large scale environmental change and long-term economic decline suggest serious challenges, both in terms of the way we prepare future citizens for living a good life and the kind of knowledge and understanding we will need to address problems brought about by such changes. In particular I am interested in undertaking a critical examination of two conflicting political values that appear to be taking a larger role in civic life: libertarian paternalism (as featured in Cass and Sunstein’s well known book, Nudge) and democratic deliberation (the idea that citizen’s should decide together how best to address public and political problems) and their implications for educational policy and practice.

•    The Concept of the Educated Person: What does it mean to say that someone is an educated person? How do we know what’s worth including in a school curriculum? Is a good moral education about developing good habits, or critical thinking? What role does the development of knowledge and understanding play in living a good life? These are all questions that were robustly taken up by the philosopher of education, R.S. Peters. In an era of immense reform (and confusion) about the values, aims and purposes of education, Peters developed a clear and nuanced account of what education is really about and how educational policy and practice can make good on its promise. This research undertakes a careful reconstruction of the major themes of Peters’ thought in order to demonstrate the continuing relevance of his project, both for educational researchers and for teachers seeking to better understand the nature and scope of their work.

•    The Ethics of Teaching and Professional Development: This research project is focused on the relationship between philosophical ethics and moral education. A cogent program of ethics education is premised on an understanding of the nature of ethical life, a central theme in moral philosophy. Ethics education curricula derive its foundational aims and objectives from this understanding. However, ongoing philosophical disagreement about the nature of ethical life makes the development of such curricula unlikely. For example, some philosophical traditions seen morality as essentially rational in nature and therefore see the development of cognition and reasoning skills as basic to any program of moral education. Other traditions argue that emotions have primary significance for ethical life and see the development of capacities for sensitivity and care as fundamental. As a consequence much debate on moral education curricula is locked in disputes between rival philosophical paradigms that are seen as mutually exclusive on philosophical grounds. For example, while a rationalist philosophy of education could include emotional development as part of moral education curricula, such development would only be valued insofar as it facilitates cognition and reasoning. This paradigm-centric approach places significant conceptual limits on the contribution of philosophical ethics to moral education. This is especially problematic given the growing multicultural character of public educational institutions. Any reasoned program of moral education must be justifiable to and applicable to a diversity of cultural and historical perspectives. Yet a paradigm-centric approach requires citizens uncritically abandon their own culturally defined ethical values in favour of the values proffered by whatever paradigm informs the moral education curricula in question.

•    Rethinking Curricular Reform in Medical Education: Modern medicine in Canada is currently undergoing change not seen since the publication of Abraham Flexner’s report on North American medical education in 1910. “The Flexner Report” resulted in nothing less then a wholesale dismantling and reconstruction of medical education into the regulated and standardised form seen today in Canada and the United States (Hudson, 1992). However, today’s changes, post-Flexner, are not developing under the aegis of a similar report, nor are they fundamentally technological or economic in nature. Rather, medical education is facing demographic and social shifts that will have profound implications for the education of physicians, with even greater consequences for the health care of Canadian into the 21st Century.

This research project seeks to promote a more sustained engagement with humanistic values and critical methods derived from liberal education and to apply them in the development of a framework of medical education scholarship that can better address the revolutionary change undergoing modern medicine. Such a shift is crucial to the transformation of medical students into innovate and effective medical practitioners. Such a transformation stands as a basic imperative for the long-term investment in the health and well-being of Canadians.

5.  Educational Leadership: Policies, Practices, & Reform Initiatives

Sabre Cherkowski:

•    Learning Community and School Improvement:  Three current projects underway with a focus on a learning community approach to school improvement exploring how teachers and other school leaders cultivate and nourish professional learning in themselves and among their colleagues.  In a study with my colleague, Dr. Willow Brown, UNBC, I use the lens of teacher leadership and the metaphor of ‘confluence’ to investigate how teachers and formal school leaders create and join the flow of change in schools (Cherkowski & Brown, in press). In a second study, I collaborate with my colleague, Dr. Leyton Schnellert, to study how teacher inquiry teams are useful for cultivating professional learning habits in teachers and across the school. In a third project, I am carrying out an in-depth case study of one principal to gain a deeper and more particular understanding of the principal’s role in influencing the climate for
professional learning among teachers and other school staff.

Robert Whiteley

•    Leadership and Policy: I have an interest in the work that principals and vice-principals engage with in specific educational settings. Previous qualitative research on principals and vice-principals was conducted following the 2002 revision of The School Act. My current focus is on how school based administrators responded to the 2014 BCTF public school strike.  I am also involved in a research project examining community influences on educational policy change in a school in the Okanagan Valley.

Education politics and policy making from a historical perspective is of particular significance to education policymakers. I research and write on how neoliberal political ideology impacts education and its’ enactment in the province of British Columbia. Specifically I write about how legislative decisions based on neoliberal ideology have influenced regulatory, policy and procedural decisions at the provincial, school district and school levels.  Additionally Royal Commissions into education in the province of BC draw my attention as I unpack how those decisions influence educational policy.

•    Social Policy: Race, social class and gender permeate my work in social justice, whether it be into ethical teaching, poverty reduction or child and family welfare. Research and writing into collaborative and collegial work, particularly through interprofessional and multidisciplinary education and practice at a the postsecondary level, is a field of investigation.






Last reviewed shim7/4/2018 3:30:47 PM