Strategic research plan 2015-2018

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The Faculty of Education Research Plan is a living document reflective of the University of Manitoba’s and the Faculty of Education’s goal to support and promote a culture of inquiry and innovation in research and scholarship. 

The University of Manitoba has been a research-intensive university for over 135 years, contributing to the personal, social, cultural and political well-being of local, national and international contexts. Its vision and mission are as follows: 


To create, preserve and communicate knowledge, and thereby, contribute to the cultural, social and economic well-being of the people of Manitoba, Canada and the world. 


Our students, staff and alumni will have an association with the University of Manitoba that is transformative and their discoveries will be of the greatest possible benefit to their own lives, and to the lives of others. 

In 2009, the Board of Governors and Senate approved the University of Manitoba’s Strategic Plan that outlines four priorities for the institution: 

· Academic enhancement 

· Exceptional student experience 

· Aboriginal achievement 

· Outstanding employer 

These priorities shaped the development of the Faculty of Education’s Strategic Plan (2013-2018) and impact upon the goals and action strategies focused on inquiry and research that are presented in this document. 

On Nov. 25, 2014, the University updated its strategic plan for 2015-2020. The five institutional priorities are: 

· Inspiring minds through innovative and quality teaching; 

· Driving discovery and insight through excellence in research, scholarly work and other creative activities; 

· Creating pathways to Indigenous achievement; 

· Building community that creates an outstanding learning and working environment; 

· Forging connections to foster high-impact community engagement. 

Currently, the University of Manitoba is revising its Strategic Research Plan that “will serve as a roadmap to champion research excellence and increase its position within the top 15 research-intensive universities in Canada.” This document supports a full spectrum of research, and also identifies seven thematic areas: 

· Arctic System Science and Technology 

· Culture and Creative Works 

· High Performance Materials, Structures and Processes 

· Human Rights and Social Justice 

· Integrative Health and Well-being Research 

· Safe, Healthy, Just and Sustainable Food Systems 

· Sustainable Water Management Systems 

Three research themes cross-cut the seven thematic areas: Understanding and Communicating Information; Indigenous Research; and Sustainable Systems for Prairie and Northern Communities. In addition, the plan also identifies three “signature areas”, representing established areas of excellence: Arctic System Science and Climate change; Immunity, Inflammation and Infectious Disease; and Population and Global Health. 

Educational research and scholarship can contribute much to the advancement of the institutionally recognized themes, as well as other research pursuits in which our Faculty and students currently engage. 

Research in the Faculty of Education 

Lifelong learning, inquiry, innovation and creative activity are the cornerstones of educational research and scholarship. The expertise that faculty bring to the Faculty as they work independently or collaboratively with others utilizing diverse research methodologies and conceptualizations helps to inform our programs, strengthen our relationships with educational partners and/or community groups, and enrich our social, cultural and political worlds. Over the past five years, over 80 per cent of faculty members have applied for research funding. Currently 27 people are being supported in their research by multiple sponsors, including: the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Heart and Stroke Foundations of Manitoba and Canada, the International Development Research Centre, the Province of Manitoba, and the University of Manitoba. Although this does not encompass the full range of research endeavours in which our faculty members are engaged, these data suggest that faculty members are actively pursuing research funding to support their research agendas. 

This document provides a plan for strengthening the research culture of the Faculty of Education through the provision of institutional supports that encourage collaboration, inter- or multi-disciplinarity, and professional growth. 

These ideas align with the Association of Canadian Deans of Education’s Accord on Research in Education (2010), that suggests: 

the collective strength of educational research emerges from its diversity, in research foci, forms of research enacted, and ways of making contributions. ACDE emphasizes the importance of this diversity to addressing issues, mobilizing communities, advancing knowledge, and supporting change in the interests of human and societal development. (p. 2) 

This Faculty of Education document was crafted to reflect our own vision and mission: 


The mission of the Faculty of Education is to enhance the study and practice of education through teaching, research, scholarship and service. 


The Faculty of Education will be recognized as a leader in education for its contributions to teaching, research, scholarship and service. We will continue to provide students, faculty and staff with diverse learning experiences and support their professional growth and well-being. The Faculty will be known as a place for inquiry and innovation designed to encourage ongoing critical dialogue and action regarding education and learning across the lifespan. In pursuing this vision we will foster respect, reciprocity, relationships, and responsibility amongst all members of the University community and beyond. 

In December 2013, the Faculty of Education proposed four areas of research that highlighted the research foci of Faculty members after consultation with faculty members. The document outlined the following clusters representing areas of research strength: 

· Teaching and Learning 

o Early Childhood Education 

o K-12 Contexts and Curriculum 

o Adult and Post-secondary 

o Aboriginal Education 

o Inclusion 

o Well-being 

o Educational Administration 

o Peace Education 

o Globalized Teaching & Learning 

o Technology 

· Equity and Social Justice 

· Identity 

· Indigenous Peoples. 

The Research Plan of the Faculty of Education reflects three objectives: 

1. To affirm, support and promote a research culture of lifelong learning, inquiry, innovation and creative activity within the Faculty of Education, and; 

2. To build faculty capacity to support student growth and training to conduct and support research; and 

3. To plan for structural and institutional supports that demonstrate dedication to Faculty priorities, reflect responsible administration, acknowledge the various impacts of research and scholarship, and communicate a vibrant and successful research profile within the Faculty and beyond. 

Format of the Document 

The Faculty of Education Research Plan is designed to support the Faculty of Education’s five-year Strategic Plan (2013-2018). To that end, it is structured around the four Strategic Priorities set out by the University of Manitoba and includes some of the goals related directly to research that can be found within the Faculty of Education Strategic Plan. It is complemented by a detailed administrative action plan that includes strategies, timelines and responsibility for achieving the plan. The vision and mission of the Research Plan are articulated below. 


The mission of this strategic research plan is to: 

· Strengthen and promote the capacity of faculty members to conduct research; 

· Enhance the capacity of faculty members to develop successful research funding proposals; and 

· Foster research partnerships and collaborative opportunities within and external to the Faculty. 


· To be enthusiastically engaged in basic and applied educational research that informs, strengthens, and transforms our social, cultural and political worlds locally, nationally and internationally. 

In order to: 

· Contribute to the body of educational research locally, nationally, and internationally; 

· Inform, strengthen and transform educational practice; 

· Support student growth and training to conduct and support research; and 

· Create a reputation of excellence for faculty research. 



Priority #1: Academic Enhancement 

University of Manitoba Strategic Goal: The University of Manitoba will be nationally and internationally recognized for its teaching, research and creative excellence, sought after by students and faculty alike as their preferred site of study. 

Faculty of Education Goal: The Faculty of Education will be recognized for its relevant and innovative programming and responsiveness to educational partners while supporting the teaching/research interests of faculty members. 

Action Strategy #1: Support the development of research funding proposals by: 

a. Continuing to provide a research facilitator; 

b. Continuing to provide internal funds for research development; and 

c. Providing opportunities to discuss issues related to educational research. 


Action Strategy #2: Support the development of partnerships to generate collaborative research opportunities in local, national and international contexts by: 

a. Identifying clusters of research strength among faculty, and structuring research opportunities around them; and 

b. Engaging in cross-, inter-, intra- or multi-disciplinary research collaborations with other universities, faculties and/or organizations in local, national and international contexts. 


Action Strategy #3: Use University and faculty communications systems to actively promote research projects in which faculty members and students are engaged by: 

a. Developing an effective strategy for ensuring that we regularly communicate all of our research initiatives on the faculty website and via other forms of communication; 

b. Highlighting the following research interests: 

o New faculty members and their research, 

o Published research from funded sources, 

o Research that makes connections to practice, 

o Research across units and/or other institutions, 

o Student research; and 

c. Increasing nominations of faculty members and graduate students for research awards. 


Priority #2: Exceptional Student Experience 

University of Manitoba Strategic Goal: The University of Manitoba will be a student-focused research university from the time of recruitment: a life-long academic home where students contribute to a diversity of ideas and experiences. 

Faculty of Education Goal: The Faculty of Education will provide students with diverse research-based learning experiences, designed to foster an ongoing critical dialogue regarding the role of education in a just and democratic world. 

Action Strategy #1: Strengthen the student research experience by: 

a. Developing a process whereby interested students can be hired as research assistants to help faculty members conduct research in areas of common interest; 

b. Establishing research awards and research assistant opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students; and 

c. Highlighting and promoting student research. 


Priority #3: Indigenous Achievement 

University of Manitoba Strategic Goal: The University of Manitoba will work with a variety of partners to make Winnipeg the national centre of excellence in Aboriginal education, and in particular, to allow Aboriginal students to be prepared for and to achieve educational success in the full range of academic programs we offer. 

Faculty of Education Goal: Working collaboratively with others, the Faculty of Education will be a respectful and reciprocal centre of Indigenous education to support Indigenous communities and schools 

Action Strategy #1: Develop research that is responsive to, and respectful of, Indigenous people and communities by: 

a. Working with the Director of Indigenous Initiatives to consider ways of increasing Indigenous research possibilities; 

b. Ensuring that all Faculty members are familiar with, and sensitive and responsive to, the Tri-agency protocols related to the conduct of research in Indigenous communities and the ways of doing that are relevant for particular communities; 

c. Fostering current and new relationships with Indigenous communities regionally, nationally and internationally that could offer the potential for the development of respectful and reciprocal research collaborations; and 

d. Showcasing Indigenous research within the Faculty. 


Action Strategy #2: Develop the faculty capacity to conduct research that is responsive to, and respectful of, Indigenous people and communities by: 

a. Working with the Executive Lead, Indigenous Achievement at the University of Manitoba to increase the role that the Faculty of Education, its faculty, and students can play in the research context; 

b. Working to maintain and eventually increase the number of faculty members who are Indigenous and are committed to conducting research that is relevant to Indigenous education, including applying for a Canada Research Chair in Indigenous education; 

c. Facilitating graduate student program development and recruitment that will lead to an increase in the number of MEd and PhD students conducting Indigenous research; and 

d. Fostering relationships/partnerships with existing research bodies in and outside of the Faculty of Education in an effort to increase the possibilities for Indigenous research. 


Priority #4: Outstanding Employer 

University of Manitoba Goal: The University of Manitoba will be an employer of first choice, offering and expecting respect for all staff and faculty, providing opportunities for leadership, growth and development, and recognizing the contributions made at all levels of the organization. 

Faculty of Education Goal: The Faculty of Education will be a respectful, caring workplace of choice for all academic and support staff (full-time, part-time and sessional), providing opportunities for leadership, recognition, and development. 

Action Strategy #1: Provide Faculty members with opportunities to develop a culture of research by: 

a. Enhancing administrative and peer support for early career or pre-tenured faculty members who are establishing their research programs; 

b. Implementing support for researchers who supervise and train research assistants; 

c. Supporting faculty members to develop their programs of research; and 

d. Initiating faculty discussions on the nature of, and what constitutes, research for the Faculty of Education. 


Action Strategy #2: Facilitate the use of existing research resources in the Faculty and across the university by: 

a. Continuing to provide a Research Facilitator who supports faculty members in the areas of research development and grant application review; 

b. Continuing to provide a Financial Assistant who supports faculty members in post-award financial management; and 

c. Providing cash and/or in-kind contributions for relevant research grant applications, at the discretion of the Dean and as resources permit. 


Action Strategy #3: Develop a Faculty Recruitment, Retention and Renewal Plan by: 

a. Ensuring all policies and procedures on recruitment, retention and renewal include a statement to the effect that the research needs of the faculty are to be considered in the hiring process, and that all new faculty hires demonstrate strong research capacity; and 

b. Creating and attracting Research Chairs, either through established programs or endowed funds. 

Review of the Research Plan 

The Research Plan outlines the strategies and tactics the Faculty of Education intends to use to position it solidly as a leader in the local, provincial, national, and international arena of educational research. The plan will be subject to review and revision at the discretion of the Dean or his designate. 

Research Impact 

Given the stringent processes that have developed for the evaluation of research grants for the allocation of funds, university researchers are asked to consider the impact of their research. In faculties of education, impact often encompasses “research that supports teaching, contributes to the body of knowledge, changes practices, influences policymakers, and importantly, benefits society or the environment and contributes to economic development” (University of Western Ontario Strategic Plan, 2008-2011, p. 8). The measurement of impact is more contentious, and must be considered within the aims, scope and vision of faculties and universities, but also in relation to the aims of particular funders. It is therefore incumbent upon members of the Faculty of Education to initiate discussions about research impact and its measurement, in order to support the research efforts of faculty members, and to ensure that the Faculty of Education clearly communicates appropriate and meaningful expectations regarding research engagement. 

Though not an exhaustive list, the following benchmarks are commonly associated with the “measurement” of research impact and are drawn as examples from the Strategic Research Plan from Western University. Others may be added as members of the Faculty of Education engage in dialogue about what constitutes the impact of our collective educational research efforts. 

· Administrative reports 

· Awards and distinctions 

· Books 

· Chapters in books 

· Contractual funding 

· Contributed papers in published conference proceedings and abstracts 

· Development of sustainable partnerships with school boards, NGOs, governments, etc. 

· Expository and Review Articles 

· Facilitation of transformative change leading to higher quality and more equitable education in public, private, and other institutions 

· Invited lectures/Invited conference presentations 

· Papers in non-refereed professional journals 

· Papers in refereed journals 

· Participation on editorial boards for major journals 

· Practical application of research for practice (e.g., curriculum writing) 

· Presentations at conferences (non-invited) 

· Professional and Association Offices and Committee Activity Outside the University 

· Professional consulting work 

· Research Grants 

o Tri-Council Funding 

o Other Funding 

· Technical reports relevant to academic and professional field 

· Training of research personnel (e.g., RAs) 

· Translating research to the public and private sector through knowledge and technology transfer, policy formulation, or other mechanisms.