Research Projects

Islam and Muslims: An Educator Resource Portal

Description: Drs. Özlem Sensoy and Wanda Cassidy have been awarded a grant by the Law Foundation of BC to develop an online resource portal for BC Educators called Islam and Muslims: An Educator Resource Portal. This portal will be developed in partnership with the Centre for Comparative Muslim Studies and will develop and maintain an online catalog of resources and other materials for BC educators (K-16). It is hoped that the resources (including lesson plans, curricula across various grade levels, online films and documentaries and accompanying discussion guides; professional development materials, analysis of current issues and events) once established, will positively contribute to public understandings of topics such as immigration, human rights, Islamophobia and hate crimes, religious dress and accommodation laws, honour crimes, religious extremism, racial profiling, and other social issues related to law and justice that emerge in our communities. The work is currently underway, and we are targeting a soft launch in fall 2021. Once completed, this portal will be a model for additional issues and identities-based resources we will develop and call The Diversity Portal as a way to increase publicly available, vetted, and reliable information that can contribute to reducing identity-based discrimination, crimes, and targeting in our communities.

Note re: image on main carousel:

François Boucher, Brunette Odalisque*, c.1749. Oil on canvas; Location: Louvre, Paris. Image in public domain via Wikimedia commons

Brunette Odalisque is one of countless paintings by European artists (Boucher, Gerome, Matisse, Renoir, Picasso) who were fascinated with “the Orient,” especially the harem. These paintings that have been displayed in museums and studied at universities are critiqued for their reproduction of racism and sexism via the exoticization of non-European women’s bodies. Rather than simply artifacts of distant historical moment, we must critically consider the role these painters and images have had in serving as inspiration for artist after them, and for legitimizing a particular form of gaze and display of imagery.  For educators who engage students in a study of this era or art history, one of the questions to explore can be, how are images of the past connected to images we see today?

Cyberbullying at University: Students’ and Faculty Members’ Experiences and Solutions

: This SSHRC-funded study is underway to investigate the extent, nature and impact of cyberbullying among university students, and from students to faculty, as well as to examine possible solutions, including ways of fostering cyber-kindness. Although our research is based at four universities--Simon Fraser University, University of Alberta, University of New Brunswick, and Kwantlen Polytechnic University --it is hoped that the study will also assist appropriate policy development more generally in the area of cyberbullying in Canada. The study includes a number of components such as: student surveys and focus groups, faculty surveys and interviews, interviews with university policymakers and residence heads, institutional document analysis, and a review of existing policies and programs.

Bullying, Cyberbullying, and Harassment on Campus

Description: CELS has undertaken a number of projects with Safety and Risk Services (SRS) at SFU to address the issues of bullying, cyberbullying, and harassment on campus. The purpose of this collaborative effort is to bring together research, policy, and practice. This collaboration began in 2013 with the planning of the Cyberbullying at Canadian Universities: Linking Research, Practice and Policy symposium held at the Morris J. Wosk Centre in March 2014. The symposium brought together over 130 stakeholders from post-secondary institutions, as well as community groups, school districts, and law enforcement branches. The ideas generated through the dialogue that took place at the symposium have been summarized in two reports posted online.  The collaboration between CELS and SRS is on-going. Current projects include: classroom components intended to engage students in working on solutions to bullying, cyberbullying, and harassment on campus; a compendium of academic and non-academic research to assist in the development and implementation of research-informed policy and practice at SFU; and informative leaflets for new faculty and chairs.

Cyberbullying in Schools: Problems and Solutions

: In continuity with our study of Technology and Relationships, we studied students’ experiences with information and communication technologies in terms of both cyberbullying and cyber-kindness. In this study, funded by CELS, we surveyed students at a private school in BC and interviewed teachers and other school personnel about their experiences and their ideas for solutions to the problem of cyberbullying. Recommendations were forwarded to the school for moving forward based on the specific findings of this study.

Legal Literacy for Youth

: This program was for teachers, academics, educational stakeholders and students designed to address concepts such as the "rule of law" and what it means to live in and work towards a "just society." Specifically, the project focused on four themes,which were of interest to youth and embedded in the Grades 6 to 10 curriculum: Citizenship; Human Rights; Identity, Language and Culture; and Environmental Sustainability. Funded by The Law Foundation of BC.  

Technology and Relationships: From Cyber-bullying to Cyber-kindness 2008-2009

: This project studied students’ use of the Internet, cell phones and sites such as MSN, Facebook and YouTube to see whether students used these technologies to bully or to show kindness to each other. We also asked questions about students’ online experiences and their suggestions for solutions to prevent cyber-bullying. We also surveyed parents and interviewed teachers on their views of cyber-bullying, possible resolutions, and how might educators and parents help cultivate more considerate, kind, respectful and caring online interactions between youth today.  Funded by the Faculty of Education Dean's Grant to Centres.

Preventing bullying in a virtual school environment

: This study on cyber-bullying assisted in safe school planning and developing improved educational policies and programs to reduce this form of bullying. The study was designed to determine the realities of cyber-bullying in British Columbia and Quebec schools – its prevalence, its nature and impact on students’ safety and learning. Its purpose was to increase knowledge and awareness about the extent of cyber-bullying in schools and to develop standards and guidelines that would help schools protect students and educate them about socially responsible technology use.  Funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Engaging First Nations’ students through Aboriginal focused school programming

This project involved program development at a school with over 50% First Nations’ students. Students attending the school had been marginalized at other schools and most had dropped out of school or been “pushed out.” Working in collaboration with the local Aboriginal community, school administrators and teachers developed a program that engaged Aboriginal students with their cultures, histories and heritages. Attention was given to their emotional and spiritual growth, in additional to their mental and physical development. Students became engaged with the community and were introduced to First Nations’ ceremonies and practices. Research conducted at the school demonstrated the impact on the students (Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal), as well as on the staff.  Funded by the Department of Justice Canada.

Changing the Life Trajectory of Gang Involved Aboriginal Youth Who Have Complex Needs and Co-Occurring Problems

The Centre for Education, Law and Society was involved in evaluating this project initiated by the Whytecliff Agile Learning Centre in British Columbia. The purpose of the project was to reduce the youths’ involvement in the criminal justice system, improve their wellbeing and life opportunities, provide them with school success, reconnect the youth with their First Nations’ communities, heritage and ways of being, and provide a model for providing success for First Nations’ youth.  Funded by the Department of Justice Canada.