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New Centre opens in the Faculty of Arts

The Centre for Social Science Research and Policy joins the UM community

February 3, 2021 — 

A new research centre at the University of Manitoba hopes to connect and serve social science researchers in the academic, private industry and non-profit communities.

The Centre for Social Science Research and Policy (CSSRP), as part of the Faculty of Arts, will provide training and professional development, help to advance public knowledge of social science research and policy, provide expert consultation to researchers of all levels and offer opportunities for social science research to maximize its impact on policy development. Acting Academic Director, Dr. Tracey Peter, said, “The CSSRP will not only be an ‘incubator of ideas’ but it will also act as a forum to build partnerships assisting researchers with fundraising, outreach and the building of further research networks.”

Dr. Jennifer Dengate has been named the CSSRP’s first Director. Dengate began her academic career at the University of Manitoba, completing both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Sociology in 2007 and 2008. She completed her PhD at the University of British Columbia in 2017 and then returned to UM for a post-doctoral fellow position. Dengate brings valuable experience in survey design and administration, qualitative data collection and analysis and the incorporation of qualitative methods into program evaluation design to the centre.

Academic researchers, students, private industry and non-profit organizations are increasingly interested in using social science research methods in their own work, such as administering surveys, conducting interviews and focus groups and designing program evaluations. However, many of these groups have not had the opportunity to receive training in these methods and may not have had the time to become experienced through the usual channels, such as university classes or degrees. “The CSSRP aspires to address this gap by offering social science and policy research expertise to those who need it, including collaborating with university and community members and organizations to conduct new research projects,” says Dengate.

Another objective for the centre is to foster increased knowledge and application of Indigenous research methodologies, or ways of knowing, and community-based participatory action research. Members of the CSSRP advisory board will help to further this goal.

The CSSRP is eager to engage with private industry and non-profit organizations across Winnipeg, Canada and internationally. Connecting with UM alumni now working in the industry is an important goal to both support alumni in their current work and also learn from their experiences.

Equity, diversity and inclusion initiative
The centre is currently designing equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) workshop and research consultation packages that emphasize evidence-based assessments of organizations’ unique EDI needs and the development of concrete, actionable recommendations based on these assessments.

Organizations will have the option to choose between several packages based on their particular research budgets, including evaluations of existing EDI initiatives to determine their impact and effectiveness.

The CSSRP is also currently collaborating with academic and community partners to conduct original research intended to better understand EDI in sport in Canada.

EDI research, including workplace climate surveys in academic contexts, has been a central focus of Drs. Peter and Dengate’s research over the last few years, making community EDI workshops and research consultations a natural fit and logical offering for the centre.

Certificate program for social science researchers
The centre is also working toward offering a certificate program in social science research and policy offering hands-on skills training that will help to increase the certificate holder’s employability. Workshop topics may include designing a survey, interview design, conducting a focus group or writing a research report. The program is planned to be flexible; offering everyone the option of participating in individual workshops if they have a specific interest or working towards completing a full certificate.

Dengate offers a glimpse into the overall vision of the CSSRP, “We strive to be a leader in social science research and policy by providing interdisciplinary training, consultation, support, shared infrastructure, promotion and collaboration at UM and to the wider community.”

Become a research affiliate
The CSSRP is now accepting applications for research affiliates. UM faculty, external individuals with academic affiliations and organizations are welcome. Benefits include discounts on training, opportunities to present your research at future speaker series events and the chance to increase your network. UM faculty affiliates also qualify for a discount on the use of Qualtrics software.

Join the CSSRP mailing list
To keep up to date on upcoming CSSRP news, training and events, join the mailing list at cssrp [at] lists [dot] umanitoba [dot] ca.

Donate to the CSSRP
The CSSRP gratefully accepts donations from individuals, corporations and other organizations to help support its vision, goals and objectives.

Contact the CSSRP
The CSSRP may be reached at cssrp [at] umanitoba [dot] ca.


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