MacEwan Celebrates Month of Scholarship highlights the hard work and dedication of MacEwan faculty and students with virtual events throughout April showcasing their research, scholarly and creative projects.
These projects drive the MacEwan community to answer local and global questions, enrich the social and cultural fabric of our city and provide students with hands-on experiences.
We asked the MacEwan Celebrates Month of Scholarship (MCMS) faculty presenters: “Why is research and scholarly activity important and what does research and scholarly activity mean to you?”
Dr. Ahna Berikoff, Associate Professor, Child and Youth Care
The importance of research, for me, is to reveal injustice and in-turn possibilities that can increase social awareness and equity. It provides a space to challenge and decentre the status quo for new meanings, knowledge and possibilities. Research is collaborative and it honours the complexity of lived experiences, meanings and knowledge within an attitude of humility. It means the courage to love and to provide a space for agency, inquiry, disruption and re-imaging.
Dr. Dianna Dempsey, Assistant Professor, Bachelor of Commerce
To me, research enables the sharing of diverse perspectives to build capacity for deeper level thinking and empathy. Specifically, it’s a nexus where the ‘wicked problems’ of the world collide, and researchers use theory and storytelling to facilitate the continued development of ideas. In doing so, we enable hope for future generations.
Dr. Heather Fitzsimmons-Frey, Assistant Professor, Arts and Cultural Management
Asking questions is an act of hope, and research is seeking answers to those questions by putting hopefulness into action. The questions we ask, how we pursue the answers, the methodologies we use, all have the potential to make meaningful changes in how we understand the world. My own research centralizes the arts, children and young people – especially girls. Positioning young people at the centre of inquiry honours their ideas, experiences and creative work, while challenging mainstream adult worlds.
Dr. Shelley Boulianne, Associate Professor, Sociology
My research has led to an ongoing interest in the public’s understanding of, and trust in, science. This year, my sister was seeing a lot of misinformation regarding COVID-19 on social media, while I was seeing a lot of misinformation related to the U.S. election and climate change. Everyone is getting different content. That's the beauty of social media, but also the difficulty of studying social media – the effects of which have been the backbone of my research for years.
Dr. Rita Dhungel, Assistant Professor, Social Work
Research is important as it promotes transformative impacts, both personal and social. Research provides disenfranchised and marginalized communities with opportunities to share their silenced voices and critically understand their own intersectional oppression. To me, research is all about relationships: relationships with communities, with community partners and with the research team. It is a process that brings people together in a common platform, providing them with opportunities not only to share their experiences but also to learn and grow.
Dr. Tricia Lirette, Associate Professor, Department of Human Services and Early Learning
Research is important because it is a way to ask and answer perplexing questions. Research is a form of joint inquiry that allows me to seek knowledge alongside others in a collaborative effort with the end goal of making a difference. As an activist scholar in early learning, through active participatory research, I try to hear and forefront multiple and diverse voices and ways of being and doing.
From my perspective, research is about finding answers to interesting questions, or explanations for various phenomena. Research is important because as scholars we have the privilege of being tasked to use various methods to gather and analyze data that better informs society.
We acknowledge that the land on which we gather in Treaty Six Territory is the traditional gathering place for many Indigenous people. We honour and respect the history, languages, ceremonies and culture of the First Nations, Métis and Inuit who call this territory home.