News Archives: New Funding Announced for Community Enhancement Research at GPRC
Tuesday, November 27th, 2018
GRANDE PRAIRIE – Grande Prairie Regional College (GPRC)’s newest Community Enhancement Research project has been approved for funding by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).
Titled Addressing Civic Belonging within a Northern Resource Economy Context: At-Risk Youth Re-connection in Northwest Alberta, the proposal was submitted by Project Director Dr. Connie Korpan and Researcher Dawn Moffat McMaster, both instructors at GPRC.
SSHRC will contribute more than $200,000 to the project over a two-year period under the Tri-Council College and Community Innovation Program.
The project is also receiving support in the form of in-kind contributions from community partners including the City of Grande Prairie – Community and Social Development, Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta, RCMP Grande Prairie Detachment, Sunrise House, and the Jasper Community Team for a combined value of around $18,000 with the College contributing an additional $19,000 in-kind.
The research project will address social engagement among youth in resource-dependent northern Alberta communities. Lack of engagement is associated with higher instances of poverty and crime, lower levels of education attainment and other poor social outcomes.
Korpan, Moffat McMaster, and their co-researchers will first seek input from several community stakeholders who serve youth in order to develop community-relevant research instruments and protocols. Next, they will perform interview research with engaged and disengaged youth in Jasper and Grande Prairie to identify factors that aggravate and mitigate community connection. They will use Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR), which involves recruiting GPRC students and other young people in the community to act as co-researchers.
“This research represents the first regional use of YPAR,” said Korpan. “Using YPAR will help us address biases and blind spots that can otherwise skew research. Our hope is that the young co-researchers will gain a means of contributing to social change and feel empowered by the experience.”
“Community Social Development is excited to partner in this project,” said Jeremy Landon, Youth Community Development Coordinator with the City of Grande Prairie. “Being part of a community collaboration like this allows us to strengthen our community partnerships and make sure that we collectively provide the best services to the youth of Grande Prairie.”
“It’s really exciting to be able to participate as a valued member on this project,” said Tracey Vavrek, CEO of the Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta. “With Grande Prairie’s current demographics, our city having such a young population, this research is key for all of us to understand our community.”
“The College is grateful to have been once again selected for this funding,” said Dr. Andrew Dunlop, Director of GPRC Research and Innovation. “The reviewers have clearly recognized the value of supporting community-partnered social innovation. This project will break new ground in social science methodology, and, for the first time, extend one of GPRC’s major research initiatives into the West Yellowhead area.”
“GPRC continues to demonstrate excellence in social innovation research, which we are proud to support at the executive level,” said Dr. Kazem Mashkournia, Interim Vice-President of Academics and Research at GPRC. “We would like to express gratitude to our community partners in Jasper and Grande Prairie and to SSHRC for their confidence in this project.”
The project is part of the Community Enhancement Research initiative at GPRC, a series of social innovation research projects led by Dr. Connie Korpan. Visit gprc.me/CER for more information.
GPRC is a comprehensive community institution, publicly supported to provide opportunities in post-secondary education in northwestern Alberta. Established in 1966 in Grande Prairie, GPRC now includes campuses in Fairview and Grande Prairie, and learning centres in Edson, Grande Cache, Hinton and Jasper. GPRC offers a wide variety of career certificates and diplomas, pre-employment and apprenticeship trades, university transfer studies, and several opportunities for on-campus degree completion at baccalaureate and master levels through collaborations with four-year universities. For more information, visit gprc.ab.ca.
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