Thompson Rivers University ranked first out of 51 applications submitted for the 2014 Aid to Small Universities (ASU) grant, providing just one more example of the depth and breadth of its research capacity and quality.
The grant, which totals $87,556 over three years, will be used for the development of a Research Centre for Community and Cultural Engagement, with a focus on two key research areas: Traditional Knowledge, Language and Cultural Resource Management in Small City and Rural Settings, and Homelessness in Small Cities.
The projects that will benefit from this grant will directly impact 12 faculty from TRU, five faculty from partnering universities, eight community research partners — including the Thompson Nicola Cariboo United Way and the City of Kamloops — and it will provide unique training opportunities for 21 undergraduate and graduate students.
“The research that our faculty and students produce has been recognized as some of the best in the country and that’s wonderfully encouraging for all,” said Will Garrett-Petts, Associate Vice President of Research and Graduate Studies. “This ranking more than illustrates why the development of research capacity has been identified as one of TRU’s five strategic priorities.”
Projects funded through the grant are varied with wide-reaching community and cultural impact. Examples include the participation of the Northern Secwepemc people in an archeological and anthropological field school. The field schools are planned for the Williams Lake and Cariboo Chilcotin region and will be constructed as sites for self-reflexive inquiry. Engaging the Aboriginal community ensures the research will be conducted in a culturally responsive way, and the research is designed to protect the ownership of cultural knowledge.
Theatre project involves homeless
Another exciting venture funded through this grant is No Straight Lines: The Homeless Play Project, which provides an excellent example of the university working together with community partners.
No Straight Lines involves the creation and performance of a play by individuals who have experienced homelessness. The project has been approved as part of the City of Kamloops’ Homelessness Action Plan (HAP), and involves TRU faculty in the theatre, English and sociology departments along with partners with the Thompson Nicola Cariboo United Way, ASK, the Elizabeth Fry Society and the City of Kamloops.
“The idea is that people come away with a new, deep understanding of what it is to be homeless and what causes homelessness. We want to touch them deeply and emotionally so they can’t leave it behind,” explained Kamloops Homelessness Action Plan Coordinator Tangie Genshorek.
The performance will run over four nights in August. No Straight Lines offers benefits across the spectrum, providing outstanding student research training as well as generating new information about homelessness and marginalized communities in small cities.
Who’s funded through ASU
TRU Faculty funded through the ASU grant are: Tesh Dagne and Nicole Schabus (Law); Beth Bedard (Anthropology) and Nan McBlane (Sociology); Gloria Ramirez, Patrick Walton (Education), and Haytham El Miligi (Computer Science); Ehsan Latif (Economics); Robin Nichol, Heidi Verwey (Theatre), Ginny Ratsoy (English), and Dawn Farough (Sociology)
Dr. Will Garrett-Petts
Research & Graduate Studies
Thompson Rivers University