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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 2021 Recognition of Scholarly Activity Award Recipients and the 2021 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.”

“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).  

Choon-Lee Chai, PhD

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.

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.

“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.

Patricia A. Campbell, PhD

Red Deer Polytechnic Communications Studies instructor 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.

2021 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 2021 Recognition of Scholarly Activity Award Winners:  

Sandra MacDougall

Journal Article: “Designing wildlife-vehicle conflict observation systems to inform ecology and transportation studies.” Biological Conservation, 251. 2020.

Wildlife-vehicle collisions (WVCs) impact wildlife populations and pose a serious risk to the travelling public. In this project, a team of experts in road ecology review current systems for recording WVCs from around the world. To ensure that these programs best inform transportation planning and conservation research, the authors make recommendations regarding best practises for different user groups (e.g., volunteer and/or agency personnel), and considerations for data collection, management and visualization.

Stephen Brown, PhD

Journal Article: “Assessing New Methods to Optimally Detect Episodes of Non-metabolic Heart Rate Variability Reduction as an Indicator of Psychological Stress in Everyday Life: A Thorough Evaluation of Six Methods.” Frontiers in Neuroscience, 14. 2020.

In this project, researchers studied heart rate variability (HRV), the variation in time between successive heart beats. HRV is known to decrease when people are stressed, and chronic decreased HRV is a powerful predictor of cardiovascular disease. In this research project, healthy volunteers wore a heart monitor for 24 hours; the research team then developed and assessed new methods to detect episodes of reduced HRV that were associated with episodes of psychosocial stress. They hope to develop this into wearable technology that can warn the user of decreased HRV, in hopes of reducing stress while it is occurring.

Dustin Quirk, DBA

Journal Article: “Change is Possible: The Effects of a Corporate Social Responsibility Course on Business Student Attitudes.” International Journal of Innovation and Sustainable Development, 14(1): 49-66. 2020.

The aim of this study was to assess if fourth year undergraduate business students’ attitudes towards business ethics and corporate social responsibility changed because of taking an elective management course on the topic. Findings suggested that a course on business ethics and corporate social responsibility had significant impact on improving a business student’s attitudes towards the long-term benefits of sound business ethics and corporate social responsibility, the benefits of addressing stakeholders, the understanding of the social license to operate, and the use of social responsibility as a tool to address government regulations. The study also found that initial student attitudes (pre-course) were generally “favourable” towards business ethics and corporate social responsibility.

Roger Davis, PhD

Journal Article: “Addictive Appetites: Autophagy, Capitalism, and Mental Health.” Journal of Asia-Pacific Pop Culture, 5(1): 69-92. 2020.

This article examines how images of self-cannibalism, or autophagy, configure a subjectivity that emphasizes the internalization of precarious existential conditions resulting from contemporary neoliberal principles. With a focus on mental health, Dr. Davis argues that the combination of self-cannibalism and individual responsibility inculcates an individual rather than collective response to mental health pathologies. 

2021 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 2021 Excellence in Teaching and Learning Capstone Project Participants:

  • Jason Nevins, "Student-Athletes: A Review of Performance and Engagement in The Classroom"
  • Ryan Butler, PhD, "Utilizing Student-Designed Examinations as a Method to Enhance Student Learning and Performance"
  • Crystal Horne and Samantha Bailey, "Wellness Breaks - Pilot Project"
  • Erin Lowe, "The Effectiveness of Mobile-Based Drug Guides for Undergraduate Nursing Students"
  • Melynne Crawley, "Does Case-Based Learning Increase Critical Thinking in MLA Students?"
  • Michelle Gallais, "Are Student Success Rates Improved with the Addition of Objective Structured Practical Examinations (OSPE) Scenarios to Second Year Courses?"
  • Thea McDougall, "Motivation and Engagement of Post-Secondary Online Learners"
  • Adel Aktaibi, PhD, "The Effects of Online Teaching on Engineering Technology Students"

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