Making change: new three-day summer institute connects community with community-based researchers from across the country

By Dale Johnson Posted: July 9, 2018 2:15 p.m.

An example of community research is a research project assessing the impacts of changes to the Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disabilities program, a partnership between the Disability Income Support Coalition and Randy Johner, a professor of Social Work at the U of R. (Left to right) Lynn Gidluck, Community Research Unit; Randy Johner, Faculty of Social Work; Rebecca Rackow, MSW Student and lead researcher; Alaina Harrison, Disability Income Support Coalition.
An example of community research is a research project assessing the impacts of changes to the Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disabilities program, a partnership between the Disability Income Support Coalition and Randy Johner, a professor of Social Work at the U of R. (Left to right) Lynn Gidluck, Community Research Unit; Randy Johner, Faculty of Social Work; Rebecca Rackow, MSW Student and lead researcher; Alaina Harrison, Disability Income Support Coalition. Photo courtesy of the Saskatchewan Association for Community Living

This summer, for the first time, a three-day institute of practical, intensive learning and skill-building will be offered for those well-versed or brand new to the principles and potential of community-based research.

The Change Makers: Tools, Techniques and Strategies for Community-Based Research Summer Institute will be held from August 20 – 22, 2018 at the University of Regina and will put members of the community together with experts in the field. It’s being put on by Faculty of Arts’ Community Research Unit (CRU), a group that connects community groups with U of R faculty and students to seek answers to community questions to foster positive action and change.

“Some of the best, most impactful research occurs when people in community groups - people on the ground - identify issues that need to be researched and they partner with the University,” explains Dr. Lynn Gidluck, who jokingly refers to herself as the Community Research Unit’s “Chief Matchmaker and Relationship Manager.”  

“We are excited about the Summer Institute because it will bring together U of R faculty and staff, community groups, and students to look at ways to research real-world problems and come up with possible solutions,” Gidluck says.

Participants will hear from an impressive roster of community-based researchers from across the country who will share best practices in community-campus partnerships. Participants will also learn about why and how community-based research can be used to advocate for change and solve community problems.

Stronger linkages between community groups and university researchers means groups can provide better services for their clients, and for the University it means access to opportunities to conduct research by professors and students.

When Regina Fire & Protective Services recently partnered with U of R researchers to identify causes of cooking fires, they created an example of community-based research at its best. Their research is being used to develop public education programs that make our community safer.

“Members of the University have the opportunity to do meaningful research that addresses real community needs, while organizations get access to professional researchers,” says Gidluck.  

Two graduate-level courses will be offered in conjunction with the Institute:

•    Community-Based Research as a Tool for Social Change with Dr. Nancy Akwen, a Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Sociology and Social Studies at the University of Regina, and

•    Research Methods in Adult Education with Dr. Cindy Hanson, director of the Adult Education Unit at the University of Regina.

For more information about Summer Institute 2018 or to register, click here. Information on the graduate-level courses is available here.

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