University of Saskatchewan

September 16, 2014   

U of S Awarded $1.6 Million for Social Science and Humanities Research

September 01, 2010

University of Saskatchewan faculty and graduate students have been awarded a total of $1.6 million in federal funding over three years to study a wide range of issues including the impact of environmental change on wildlife management, effects of executive compensation in the public sector, and ways of reducing poverty in rural communities.

The funding announced today from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) includes $685,000 for scholarships and fellowships awarded to 23 U of S graduate students.

“This investment in our outstanding and diverse research talent will result in new knowledge that will have an impact on society, the environment and the economy, while training the next generation of innovative researchers,” said U of S Vice-President Research Karen Chad.

The following eight U of S research teams were successful in the Standard Research Grants competition, receiving a total of $549,015:

  • Murray Fulton and Michael Atkinson (public policy) will look at executive compensation in government offices, Crown corporations, universities, and co-operatives to improve understanding of how these organizations operate and how compensation affects the behavior, morale and performance of executive decision-makers.
  • Margaret Kovach (education) will interview both non-aboriginal and aboriginal university instructors of education and social work on how they incorporate aboriginal perspectives into their course instruction. By providing new in-roads for instruction and curriculum planning, this study will help teachers and social workers to be more responsive to aboriginal communities.
  • Mona Holmlund (art history) will examine the unique cultural history of Saskatchewan visual arts, including co-curating public exhibitions and assembling a collection of essays to bring to light the artistic production of cultural groups that have been historically marginalized.
  • Douglas Clark, Centennial Chair (environment and sustainability), will look at how environmental change shapes the goals of individuals, groups, and organizations involved with wildlife co-management in northern Canada. For example, the research will look at how climate change is challenging polar bear management in Nunavut. The goal is to find ways to cope with such change and refine decision-making processes that could benefit international resource management.
  • Keith Walker (educational administration), Heather Heavin (law), and Paul Clarke (University of Regina) will investigate how human services professionals who provide services to children judge the best interest of the child, including the extent to which they take children’s views into account when decisions are made about their well being. The research will form the basis of recommendations for future public policy.
  • Allison Muri (English) will create an open-access, electronic map archive edition of historical London to study how digital mapping can create new ways of looking at English literary history and communications in 18th-century London. The project will enhance understanding of the history and future of the book, its design, and how users interact with it.
  • Egan Chernoff (education) will work with mathematics teachers and future teachers to understand how they perceive and teach randomness. Looking at randomly generated sequences of numbers such as lottery tickets and test answer keys, this research will contribute to the field of mathematics education, providing new understanding of why humans are poor judges of randomness.
  • Robert Hudson (philosophy) will examine recent arguments by astrophysicists for the existence of dark energy, the mysterious substance currently thought to compose almost three-quarters of the universe. The goal will be to philosophically assess these arguments to better understand how scientists arrive at theories and how they go about improving the accuracy of their observational data.

The following U of S teams were successful in the Aboriginal Research and Development Grants competition, receiving a total of $274,329:

  • Marie Battiste (education), Lynne Bell (art and art history), Isobel Findlay (social enterprises), Len Findlay (English), and James Youngblood Henderson (native law) will study the teachings, oral traditions, art and other aspects of the humanities of the Mi’kmaq of Atlantic Canada. The interdisciplinary project will be led by Battiste, academic director of the Aboriginal Education Research Centre.
  • Carolyn Brooks (sociology), Colleen Dell (sociology) and Jennifer Poudrier (sociology), in partnership with the Battleford Agency Tribal Chiefs communities, will look at youth crime and identify social and environmental pathways towards community resilience. This study will provide community-specific understandings for enhancing community programming, justice, and child welfare.

The following U of S teams were successful in the International Opportunities Fund competition, receiving a total of $99,946:

  • Rose Olfert (public policy), Cristina Echevarria (economics), and David Natcher (renewable resource management), along with a team of international researchers, will carry out investigations in Canada, Chile and Peru to assess various approaches to reducing poverty in rural communities. The research will identify how specific public policies might be used to improve the economic welfare of resource-dependent rural communities.
  • Hassan Vatanparast (pharmacy and nutrition), Li Zong (sociology), Rachel Engler-Stringer (community health and epidemiology/medicine), Carol Henry (pharmacy and nutrition), and Susan Whiting (pharmacy and nutrition) will study how cultural and socio-economic factors such as education and language barriers influence food security of refugees before and after migration to Canada. This research will be used by policy makers to help address food security issues.

U of S sociologist Peter Li was awarded $25,000 to host a two-day international workshop on economic and social integration of migrants and immigrants, featuring mainly scholars from Western Canadian and Western China.

SSHRC will support university-based research and training in the humanities and social sciences through the following graduate student awards which are supplemented by an additional $3,000 tuition scholarship from the College of Graduate Studies and Research for each successful student:

  • U of S doctoral students Katya MacDonald (history) and Chassidy Puchala (community health and epidemiology) were each awarded the prestigious Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Doctoral Scholarships, valued at $35,000 per year for three years.
  • Three U of S students—Kurt Krueger (history), Nancy Peters (education) and Terri Simon (psychology)—were awarded doctoral fellowships valued at $20,000 annually.
  • Eighteen U of S students—five of them from the English department—were awarded a Joseph Bombardier Canada Graduate Master’s Scholarship valued at $17,500 for one year. For a full list of recipients, visit:

Several of the above projects include researchers at the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy. Backgrounders on these projects are available at:


For more information, contact:

Kathryn Warden
Director, University Research Communications
(306) 966-2506

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