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Faculty and Staff Research

Red Deer Polytechnic’s faculty and staff are experts in their fields, and they share this knowledge with students through diverse research projects. With support from the Research Common and Research Ethics Board, and access to the facilities and centres at the College, faculty and staff are well-positioned to delve into research in their fields.Faculty and Staff Research

As a teaching institution, projects related to the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning are an important part of the research undertaken by faculty and staff at Red Deer Polytechnic. Other research projects may be undertaken with community partners, businesses, government agencies or other post-secondary institutions.

researchscholarshipoffice [at] rdpolytech [dot] ca (Contact us) if you are interested in learning more about research at Red Deer Polytechnic. 

Want to see examples of faculty research? See the featured projects, the 2022 Recognition of Scholarly Activity Award Recipients and the 2022 Excellence in Teaching and Learning Capstone Projects listed below. The Red Deer Polytechnic Digital Repository showcases scholarly, research and creative works undertaken by faculty, staff and students. Faculty, staff and members of the public are welcome to attend research-related events to learn more.  


Featured Faculty Projects

Revery: A Year of Bees Shortlisted for Governor General’s Literary Award

Jenna Butler, PhD

Red Deer Polytechnic English instructor Dr. Jenna Butler is an award-winning Canadian poet, essayist, editor, and college professor. She is the author of three award-winning books of poetry, Seldom Seen Road, Wells, and Aphelion; a collection of ecological essays, A Profession of Hope: Farming on the Edge of the Grizzly Trail; and the Arctic travelogue Magnetic North: Sea Voyage to Svalbard. Her newest book, Revery: A Year of Bees, essays about beekeeping, climate grief, and trauma recovery (Wolsak & Wynn, 2020) was recently shortlisted for a Governor General’s Literary Award for Nonfiction. A woman of colour interested in BIPOC narratives of place, Butler teaches creative writing at Red Deer Polytechnic and runs an off-grid organic farm.

Regarding the nomination, Jenna says, “I am so honoured to be able to stand in the company of writers whose work I admire. Revery is all about the bees, both domestic and wild, and if this nomination gets more people reading about the bees and their intimate connection to all that is, then my small book has done its job.”


Victorian Samplings Podcast Episode 4: Singing From the Margins. Crafting Communities.

Heather Marcovitch, PhD

In this podcast, Red Deer Polytechnic English faculty member Dr. Heather Marcovitch is part of a panel discussion about the hymns Victorians sang and the role of vocal music in the lives of marginalized individuals and groups. Dr. Marcovitch’s talk focuses on the Ethical Culture Society of New York, a secular humanist society, and the way its founder, Felix Adler, wove Talmudic knowledge into a popular hymn for the Society. These podcasts are part of the Crafting Communities project, a scholarly website about Victorian material culture and crafting.


Open Education Lightning Talk: Open Education Practices in Introductory Psychology Courses.” 2021 University of Alberta Open Education Symposium.

Elena Antoniadis, PhD

In this presentation, Red Deer Polytechnic Psychology faculty member Dr. Elena Antoniadis describes the planning and implementation phases for the integration of Open Education Resources in online introductory psychology courses. A description of the faculty-generated instructional content and resources aligning with specified learning outcomes are also covered. The overarching goal of the project is to broaden access to education by lowering the cost of learning to students, all the while delivering a high-quality educational experience. If this year-long pilot is successful, the use of Open Educational Resources will be introduced into other introductory psychology courses within the institution.


 “An Exploration of Concept-Based Curriculum: A Qualitative Study”

Principal Investigator: Juliet Onabadejo, PhD, RN; Co-Investigators: Katherine Schepp, MN, RN; Carnelle "Raigne" Symes MN, RN CCNE; Kala Streibel, MN, RN CCSNE

Red Deer Polytechnic Nursing faculty members Dr. Juliet Onabadejo, Katherine Schepp, Carnelle "Raigne" Symes and Kala Streibel are exploring the overall impact of a new concept-based curriculum at the program level. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN) program has recently implemented a concept-based curriculum which is a response to the issues of content-laden curricula to encourage effective student outcomes. The experiences of faculty, staff, administrators, and students are being explored to understand the impact of the curriculum change. A qualitative research method will enable the researchers to gain an understanding of how the faculty, staff, and students construct meaning within their context. This study will assist with knowledge generation and quality assurance while promoting the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning research within the Collaborative BScN Program.  

Funding enables an undergraduate nursing student to participate as a paid research assistant, giving her a direct nursing education research experience with an opportunity to further develop a range of twenty-first century skills that will enhance her workplace readiness.


2022 Recognition of Scholarly Activity Award Winners

 In 2006, Red Deer Polytechnic and the Faculty Association created an annual fund of $10,000 to recognize significant scholarly undertakings by faculty members. Each year, a jury comprised of members from the Recognition of Scholarly Activity committee selects applications submitted by faculty members with a broad appreciation of scholarship.

Congratulations to the 2022 Recognition of Scholarly Activity Award Winners:  

Larry Steinbrenner, PhD 

Book: The Archaeology of Greater Nicoya: Two Decades of Research in Nicaragua and Costa Rica, University Press of Colorado, 2021. 

Dr. Larry Steinbrenner is the principal editor of and primary contributor to The Archaeology of Greater Nicoya, the first major collection of research papers on the archaeology of Pacific Nicaragua and northwestern Costa Rica to be published in more than twenty years. Dr. Steinbrenner wrote the introduction to this volume and contributed three chapters on the indigenous populations of Greater Nicoya, the radiocarbon-based chronology of the area, and decorated ceramic types. 

Jeffrey Wigelsworth, PhD 

Journal Article: “Male Embodiment of a Female Witch Body, a Hypothesis,” Magic, Ritual, & Witchcraft 16 (2021): 64-83. 

In the article, Dr. Wigelsworth reconciles two seemingly incompatible issues in the scholarship of early-modern witchcraft: the undeniable fact that men could be accused of witchcraft and the common belief that sixteenth-century demonologists conceived only of female witches. Through an exploration of texts and ideas, he illustrates the utility of considering “witch” as a concept distinct from the person categorized as a witch.  He suggests that the traits which characterized someone as a witch formed a theoretical witch body around them, the gender of which was always female. He supports this claim by employing an analogy from conceptions of royal power. The royal body, the invisible embodiment of sovereign authority, was always male. Just as the unseen body politic could transform a woman into a male ruler capable of acting in the role of king, the unseen witch body (the invisible personification of the concept of witch) could figuratively transform a Christian man into a female servant of Satan, able to act in the role of witch in their communities. Dr. Wigelsworth then explores how the adoption of sin caused a person’s soul to break its connection to God and for that person (male or female) to then acquire traits, which created around them the conceptual female body of the witch.  

Elaine Spencer 

Book Chapter: “Social Work Ethics and Child Welfare,” in Kufeldt, K., Fallon, B., & McKenzie, B., (Eds.), Protecting Children: Theoretical and Practical Aspects, Canadian Scholars Press, 2021. 

The chapter starts with a broad overview of social work ethics, and centres much of the rest of the chapter on current research on the challenges and supports available for ethical and competent child welfare practice in Canada. In a continuing quest to uphold the “nothing about us without us” approach to scholarship, Spencer includes the voices of children who have been in care in the form of the studies undertaken by the National Youth in Care Network.   

Choon-Lee Chai, PhD, and Jones Adjei, PhD 

Settlement Experiences and Needs of Recent Immigrants: Results from a Photovoice Study of Recent Immigrant Men in Central Alberta 

Immigrant settlement success hinges on the effective rebuilding of social life in the receiving society. This research investigated the extent to which racialized immigrant men construct their sense of sociability living as newcomers in a small urban center in Alberta, Canada, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Using a photovoice participatory research approach, this research calls attention to how places of immigrant settlement and race are inextricably linked. From a policy perspective, this research makes recommendations that promote the idea that settlement sociability needs to go beyond physical proximity to social closeness, emphasizing co-ethnicity and cultural familiarity, especially in the initial settlement stages. 

Robert Opoku, PhD 

Journal article: Adomako, S., Frimpong, K., Amankwah-Amoah, J., Donbesuur, F.  & Opoku, R.A. (2021). “Strategic decision speed and international performance: The roles of competitive intensity, resource flexibility, and structural organicity.” Management International Review 61, 27–55. 

This paper is one of the foremost works that investigates the relationship between strategic decision speed and international performance and how this relationship may be moderated by varying degrees of external and internal factors. The study also uses unique data from a sub-Saharan African developing country context that do not receive significant attention in the international business literature. The findings from the paper show strategic decision speed is important to international performance, and this relationship is dependent on several boundary conditions – competitive intensity in the domestic market, flexibility with which firms can repurpose the use of their resources, and degree of autonomy in decision-making by firms. These findings are important and extend our understanding of how decision-making speed influences performance. 

Journal article: Famiyeh, S., Opoku, R. A., Kwarteng, A., & Asante-Darko, D. (2021). “Driving forces of sustainability in the mining industry: Evidence from a developing country.” Resources Policy, 70, March 21, 101910. 

This study contributes to the sustainable mining framework which has previously only focused on how non-fuel mineral mining firms can reduce environmental impacts while ignoring other dimensions such as social and economic. It further provides empirical support to the framework for responsible mining. This study is one of the few in this area that has attempted to understand the driving forces of sustainability in mining organisations and a first of its kind to be published from a developing country perspective. 

Patricia A. Campbell, PhD 

Journal article: “Lay participation with medical expertise in online self-care practices: Social knowledge (co)production in the Running Mania injury forum.” Social Science and Medicine 227. 

Dr. Trish Campbell’s new article looks at self-care practices in which medical expertise is not passively consumed by the layperson, but shared and (re)produced in social groups. This research is particularly important with the advent of the internet, which provides instant access to mediated medical knowledge and a space for care communities to communicate about their experiences. The laypersons examined here are members of the Canadian online collective, Running Mania. Drawing from member interviews and website observations of the site's injury forum, the study examines collective injury management from two perspectives: the lay expert whose knowledge arises from experience and the expert patient whose knowledge parallels biomedical science. The findings indicate that these types of expertise often come together in actual self-care practices to create new knowledge as laypersons use whatever works in managing their health. This persistent, attentive tinkering with all kinds of expertise while listening to one’s body is theorized as a “logic of care”, a type of reasoning that doesn’t require differentiating between expert and lay knowledge. Further, this logic of care has the potential to bridge the expert/lay boundary and the potential conflicts arising between a patient’s and medical practitioner’s knowledge. In “good” care practices, multiple expertises are needed, both expert and lay, to hold the body together. 

Choon-Lee Chai, PhD 

Journal article: “Picturing Settlement Experiences: Immigrant Women’s Senses of Comfortable and Uncomfortable Places in a Small Urban Center in Canada.” Journal of International Migration & Integration (2021).   

Small cities tend to have modest immigrant settlement services and cultural amenities, engendering a distinct sense of place among immigrants and impacting their well-being differently from large cities. To study the impacts of place characteristics on settlement needs, Red Deer Polytechnic Sociology instructor Dr. Choon-Lee Chai’s photovoice research examines the sense of place among immigrant women through their attribution of meanings to places of comfort and discomfort as they settled in a small city in Canada. Findings indicated that these women appreciated the warmth and support extended to them by settlement services provider organizations, libraries, and faith-based organizations, attesting to the relational nature of the place. Nevertheless, immigrant women dreaded harsh winter conditions and felt unsafe in downtown areas. This study contributes to our understanding of the gendered and interwoven nature of the self, social, and physical spaces. The findings from this study call for settlement policies that attend to distinct characteristics of local places to better serve the settlement needs of immigrants. 


2022 Excellence in Teaching and Learning Capstone Projects 

The Excellence in Teaching and Learning (ETaL) program is a Career Development Certificate credentialed through the School of Continuing Education at Red Deer Polytechnic. This program is currently offered internally to Red Deer Polytechnic faculty as a voluntary program and is taught by the faculty Learning Designers in the Centre for Teaching and Learning

Following completion of the six Modules and Pre-Module, faculty engage in planning and carrying out a capstone project that draws upon elements of the modules and applies to their teaching and student learning.

Congratulations to the 2022 Excellence in Teaching and Learning Capstone Project Participants:

  • Sunny Mittelstadt, “Hyflex Learning and the APRO Student Experience” 
  • Stephen Brown, PhD, “The Persistence of Matching Teaching and Learning Styles: A Review of the Ubiquity of this Neuromyth, Predictors of its Endorsement, and Recommendations to End It” 
  • Tracy Kulba-Gibbons, PhD, “Assessing Online Learning in the Brave New World” 
  • Caitlin Ratcliffe, “International Students’ Experiences with Online Library Services” 
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