Faculty Research Highlights

Dr. Susan Barber

On July 3 and 4 2021, Dr. Barber presented two papers at the virtual United Kingdom Literacy Association (UKLA) following the theme “We need to talk about literacy: Why spoken language matters in literacy learning and teaching.” The first paper, “Media literacy: A Lost Opportunity Under the Trump Administration to Review the Roots of Western Education,” examined how values inform the aims of education and are perpetually shifting curricula toward new goals. The second paper (rescheduled after a cancelled UKLA conference in July 2020), entitled “Life Without Words: How Newly Arrived Refugees to Canada Can Overcome Preliteracy and Learn to Communicate Through a Literacy of the Heart,” was co-presented with Lorna Ramsay. The paper examined equity issues for refugees: one of our most marginalized groups and particularly so during COVID-19.

Dr. Sara Florence Davidson

This fall, the first two Sk'ad'a Stories were released by Highwater Press. These picture books were co-authored by Dr. Davidson with her father, Haida artist Robert Davidson, and illustrated by Haida multi-media artist Janine Gibbons. The series focuses on themes of intergenerational learning from place and the sharing of cultural knowledge. This collaboration provides an example of how accessible modes to disseminate research, such as picture books, allow us to expand our audiences to include younger people and those whose areas of expertise are different from our own. This collaboration also models ways that intergenerational storytelling can be used as a methodology (Archibald, 2008), as well as how stories can help educators learn more about Indigenous pedagogies while bringing Indigenous voices and experiences into their classrooms.

Archibald, J. (2008). Indigenous Storywork: Educating the heart, mind, body, and spirit. UBCPress.

Dr. Pooja Dharamshi

I co-authored a book chapter for The Handbook of Critical Literacies, which aims to answer the timely question: what are the social responsibilities of critical literacy academics, researchers, and teachers in today’s world? The chapter, entitled “Critical Community Literacies in Teacher Education,” is situated within the growing literature to decentre, decolonize, and reclaim a more humanizing approach to language-and-literacy teacher education and research. This approach positions community members—youth, families, and community organizers—as faculty and architects in designing and supporting the development of community-responsive teachers and researchers. We argue that supporting and nurturing critical community literacies is integral to the larger project of social justice, which is greatly facilitated by robust collaborations between community-based researchers/organizers and university-based, teacher-educator scholars of language and literacy.

Dr. Cher Hill

Cher Hill, along with colleagues Rick Bailey, Cheryl Power, and Nicole McKenzie, published an article this fall reporting on their interdisciplinary action research project: “Supporting Communities in Caring for Salmon and Each Other: Creek Restoration as a Site for Multi-System Change and Wholistic Re/conciliation” (Canadian Journal of Action Research). Together with Margaret MacDonald, she researched “The Educational Impact of the COVID-19 Rapid Response on Teachers, Students, and Families” (PROSPECTS). Finally, Cher thoroughly enjoyed participating as a guest on IDEAS, the Faculty of Education graduate student podcast.

Dr. Gillian Judson

In July 2021, Dr. Judson received a SSHRC small grant to support her research into the Walking Curriculum and other imaginative ecological teaching practices. In relation to leadership and leadership education, she published an article entitled “Cultivating Leadership Imagination with Cognitive Tools: An Imagination-Focused Approach to Leadership Education in the Journal of Research on Leadership Education.” She also began a new project, looking at graduate students’ experiences learning about leadership and imagination through imaginative pedagogies. Dr. Judson offered a variety of workshops on Imaginative Ecological Education, imagination in post-secondary teaching, and imagination in leadership. As well, in September she served as a panelist at the Unpacking the STEM Imagination conference hosted by the Boston Science Museum.

Dr. Kristiina Kumpulainen

Dr. Kumpulainen’s ongoing research focuses on augmented reality technologies in environmental education, science centers and museums, digital childhoods, and digital health literacies as well as citizen engagement in science. During fall 2021, she has been finishing an edited volume for Routledge—Nordic Childhoods in the Digital Age: Insights into Contemporary Research on Communication, Learning and Education. This work stems from a research workshop program she led from 2019 to 2021, with financial support from the joint committee for Nordic Research Councils in the Humanities and Social Sciences (NOS-HS). She has also been developing a new program of research with her colleagues at UBC and Memorial University on fostering children’s ecological imagination through mobile digital story-crafting.

Dr. Yumiko Murai

Dr. Murai has been working with collaborators to explore the application of a constructionist learning approach in school environments and tools for learning by making. Their recent publications include

Dr. Amy Parent

My work on the SSHRC Frontiers (Exploration) grant is moving forward after some delays due to COVID. New cedar logs were donated to the project in October 2021 from the Haisla Nation, and the carving of a new pole will begin shortly. (Learn more about the project here.) I will soon have a chapter published on our repatriation efforts with the  Niisjoohl pole to support solidarity building for the project in Scotland. I also was recently invited to share a paper on the project at a conference in Aberdeen.

Parent, A. (2021). Afterward: Building solidarity: moving towards the repatriation of the of the Ni’isjoohl Totem Pole. In E. Bond and M. Morris (Eds.), Transnational Scotland: Empire, heritage, stories [Manuscript submitted for publication]. Edinburgh University Press.

Parent, A. (2021, Sept 30). Building solidarity to re-right history: The journey to repatriate the Ni’isjoohl Pole. [Paper presentation]. Ireland, Scotland and the Cultural Artefacts of Colonialism Conference, University of Aberdeen, Scotland.

Dr. Gillian Smith

In May 2022, I am presenting at the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA) conference in PEI. My paper is entitled “Working with Diversities that are Less Well Known: Giftedness, Trauma and Intersectionalities of Diversities.”

Dr. Suzanne Smythe

Dr. Smythe published ''A Different Difference in Teacher Education: Posthuman and Decolonizing Perspectives” with Kelleen Toohey (in Language and Education, 2021). Our article considers the tensions and productive intersections  for subverting White-centric “settlement and integration” approaches to English as an Additional Language pedagogies for K-12. A second article with Shauna Butterwick, “Mapping Research with Adults Made Marginalized: Reflections on a Decade of Research” (in The Canadian Journal for the Study of Adult Education), asks how research that reports on community-based learning among marginalized adults can be more alert to the ways that settler colonial logics make their way into our research methods. In summer 2021, the SSHRC-IG funded project "Automated Literacies” launched with Suzanne (PI), Nathalie Sinclair (co-PI), and doctoral students Gwen Andre and Hadeikaye Williams. With the Burnaby Neighbourhood House and other community partners, we will explore how community members experience algorithmically driven online environments.

Dr. Zuzana Vasko

In continuing her work in arts-based ecological learning, Dr. Vasko—together with Dr. Charles Scott—gave a presentation entitled Connecting with the Earth through Contemplative Artistic Practices at the conference of the North American Association for Environmental Education in October. Dr. Vasko also has two works of art on display at the Langley Centennial Museum until January. These works explore the effects of weather events on local forests and coincide with an exhibition by TWU’s Visual Art faculty, entitled Upstream/Downriver: Walking the Stɑlə̓  w̓  Watershed, about the impact of climate change on the Fraser River region.

Dr. David Zandvliet

Two community-engaged research projects are continuing: one with Science World and another at VanDusen Gardens. These projects  look at how informal learning opportunities offered outdoors at public institutions in urban settings, such as these, are influencing cultural and environmental learning for children.