Current research projects

Top 50 Coll_date_2018.jpgThrough innovation and collaboration, our researchers, faculty members, external partners and students are improving quality of life and strengthening our community, our province and our world. Explore some of our current research projects below.

 

Internal funding

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Why are Women Under-Represented within Leadership positions in Corrections?
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Dr. Jeanine Webber
  • Funding for project: CARIF
  • Project duration:  July 1st, 2019 to June 30th, 2020
  • Lead Researchers: Dr. Jeanine Webber (Dean, Centre for Justice & Human Services) and Ibrahim Turay (Instructor, Centre for Justice & Human Services) 
  • News story:

We are exploring why women are under-represented in leadership roles within the Alberta Correctional Services Division despite the Division's commitment to diversity and inclusion. We hope to accomplish the following objectives with this study. Firstly, we seek to identify the barriers/perceived barriers, preventing women from ascending to leadership positions. Secondly, we seek to identify the key resources women require to support their leadership aspirations in the Division. Thirdly, we seek to identify the pathways that have proven effective for women to become involved in leadership experiences. Finally, we seek to document the experiences of women who are in leadership positions within the Division. The results of this study will provide direction and insights to the Division as they work to enhance the leadership opportunities for women. 

An Exploration of Possible Barriers to the Successful Completion of the APCAT and ACT by Police Recruit Applicants
  • Funding for project: CARIF
  • Project duration:  July 1st, 2019 to June 30th, 2020
  • Lead Researchers: Dr. Jim Urasaki (Instructor, Centre for Justice & Human Services) and Dr. Jeanine Webber (Dean, Centre for Justice & Human Services)
  • News story:

This research will examine the possible barriers which prevent the successful completion of the Alberta Police Cognitive Abilities Test (APCAT) and the Alberta Communication Test (ACT) by police recruit applicants.  The APCAT and ACT are part of the process to assess a candidate’s suitability for employment as a police officer in the province of Alberta and the tests are used as a screening tool to allow candidates to proceed to the next stages of recruitment.  This research will also explore other possible factors that may affect some applicants’ ability to work as a police officer in Alberta. 

Early childhood education accountability in Southern Alberta: teacher characteristics and classroom quality
  • Funding for project: CARIF
  • Project duration:  July 1st, 2019 to June 30th, 2020
  • Lead Researchers: Dr. Hanako Shimamura (Instructor, Early Childhood Education)
  • News story:

This proposed study has two aims: 1) to examine classroom quality (e.g., teacher-child interaction quality) and its trend in early childhood education settings in Southern Alberta over one academic year; and 2) to explore associations between teacher characteristics (e.g., teacher education, teaching experience) and the provision of classroom quality. Repeated systematic observation will be conducted to assess classroom quality using the CLASS observation tool (Pianta et al., 2008). A teacher questionnaire will be administered to gather basic teacher demographic information. Findings can highlight the current state of provision of quality programs in Southern Alberta and whether there is variation in quality provision in relation to teacher characteristics. 

Financial success predictions from artificial intelligence analysis of time-series data.
  • Funding for project: CARIF
  • Project duration:  July 1st, 2019 to June 30th, 2020
  • Lead Researcher: Stephen Graham (Chair, School of Information Technology)
  • News story:

This project will develop an artificial intelligence system to analyse financial spending patterns and attempt to predict what changes would lead to better financial health.

The needs of trans youth and the role of health care professionals in enacting social change
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Dr. Jennifer Davis
  • Funding for project: CARIF​
  • Project duration:  July 1st, 2019 to June 30th, 2020
  • Lead Researchers: Dr. Jennifer Davis (Instructor, General Studies)
  • News story:

Trans children are some of the most vulnerable members of society. They face both a pressing need tor timely access to health care and extraordinary difficulty accessing it, which can result in significant and sometimes permanent negative physical and psychological outcomes. The present study uses social action research methodology to (1) bring healthcare providers from across the province together to identify the main issues facing trans youth, understand their root causes, and take action for change and (2) study the group process and the document the core issues they identify that are faced by trans children.

The Green Antibiotics
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Dr. Sophie Kernéis
  • Funding for project: CARIF
  • Project duration:  July 1st, 2019 to June 30th, 2020
  • Lead Researchers: Dr. Sophie Kernéis (Instructor, Biological Sciences); Byrne Cook (Chair, School of Agriculture)
  • News story:

Since December 2018, Alberta meat producers face new major restrictions in how medical antibiotics can be applied.  Previously, antibiotics were included in animal feed to prevent infections and to promote growth.  However, with the urgent goal by the World Health Organization to reduce the threat of antibiotic resistant bacteria, the food industry requires new solutions to support animal production. Our project proposes to identify Green Antibiotics, which can replace medical antibiotics.  We will investigate plants, which are part of animal foods, for their antibiotic properties to develop a safe and economical solution to industrial use of medical antibiotics. 

 

External funding


NSERC

Measuring crop water use for precision irrigation

The water use of the irrigated production sector in southern Alberta is constrained by the finite volume of water that is present in rivers, lakes, and reservoirs in the region. In order to continue growing a diverse selection of crops, expand high-value cropping areas, and adapt to climate change within the boundaries of Alberta's water licensing system, irrigation farmers try to ensure that the majority of their irrigation applications is used by plants and not lost to the atmosphere or deeper soil layers. This requires measurements of the volume of water available in the soil, the volume of water applied via irrigation or rainfall, and the amount of water transpired by a field crop. Unfortunately, the latter is difficult to measure and in the majority of practical studies, a maximum potential crop water use rate is calculated instead from weather conditions and crop characteristics. However, due to the variability of water available for uptake by plants, the actual crop water use may be quite different from the potential. This introduces uncertainties in the determination of irrigation water use efficiency. With the purchase of an Eddy Covariance system, Lethbridge College will be able to measure actual crop water use rates in irrigation research projects. These measurements will help us develop precision irrigation management strategies and identify measures that increase irrigation water use efficiency.

 

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A Rotary Evaporator, an High Pressure Liquid Chromatograph (HPLC) and a Plate Spectrophotometer for the discovery of new antibiotics from native plants

Antibiotics are widely used in medicine and food production. They have saved many lives directly as treatments for infectious diseases or indirectly by giving access to surgical procedures, cancer treatments and so on. Antibiotics have also changed the way we raise animals for food. However, with the increase in the use of antibiotics there has been an increase in the number of antibiotic resistant bacteria present in food industries, hospitals and the environment. The World Health Organization (WHO) is taking measures to discover new antibiotic molecules. Lethbridge College through the Microbial Research Group has also engaged in this important research. The Microbial Research Group has developed the Antibiotic Alberta Plant Project (AAPP) in which they identify native plants with antibacterial activities and isolate antibiotic molecules. The ARTI grant will be used to purchase three pieces of equipment that will improve the quality of this research as well as its efficiency: A Rotary Evaporator to remove the solvents used in the extraction; a High Pressure Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) system that will permit a first analysis of the active extracts and to compare the active extracts with the goal to find unique molecules. These two instruments will be the first ones in place at Lethbridge College. The third piece of equipment is a microplate spectrophotometer that is essential to conduct antibacterial screening, and will join the one in the laboratory, which is already at capacity. This increased capacity will place our region on the WHO map of antibiotic partners. Moreover, the additional equipment will also position the Microbial Research Group favourably to attract partners in the natural product, food (especially beef production), and pharmaceutical industries. Finally, these pieces of equipment will significantly contribute to student-training, one of the main goals of Lethbridge College.

 

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Below The Surface: Using Soil Moisture Observations And Simulations To Optimize Installation And Operation Of Subsurface Drip Irrigation Systems In Southern Alberta

 

Subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) is an extremely water-efficient irrigation technology that delivers water at very low rates right into the root zone where plants can take it up. SDI systems can be used on irregularly shaped fields, can be fully automated, and can deliver nutrients as well as water, which creates an opportunity to increase crop yields without increasing water use. These aspects of SDI systems are fueling an increasing interest in SDI technology in southern Alberta. Lethbridge College and Southern Irrigation are partnering in a project that explores management of subsurface drip irrigation systems in terms of water and nutrient use efficiency.

The project combines laboratory, field, and computer experiments. In the extensive laboratory experiment, we will construct three wooden bins with common southern Alberta soils and seed alfalfa as a test crop. In each bin, two SDI systems with different emitter spacing will be installed at two depths for a total of four systems per bin. We will evaluate the ability of each system to deliver water to the crop under various irrigation management schedules with > 40 soil moisture sensors. In a second phase of the project, we will also evaluate the ability of the SDI systems to deliver P fertilizer to the crops. The insights gained in the laboratory experiments will be applied in the irrigation management of SDI systems in real fields during the growing season of 2018. Complementary computer simulations will help us explore what-if scenarios of irrigation water management in soils and weather conditions other than those experienced in the lab and field. The large setup in the laboratory creates a unique opportunity to test an irrigation technology destined for field crops in an indoor setting. Because of this, we can run experiments outside of the growing season and experiment with a large range of water management schedules without compromising a producer's yield and profit. The integration of the laboratory, computer model, and field results will allow us to generalize our findings into better SDI installation and management strategies for producers in western Canada.

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​​​​​​Advancing Commercial Food Production Through Integrated Fish and Plant Systems to Meet the Needs of Industry and Community
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Dr. Nick Savidov

 

With over 12 years of experience and expertise, Lethbridge College is a leader in Integrated Fish and Plant Systems (IFPS) research. Building on the success of its two-year CCI-IE, dedicated towards optimizing and expanding commercial aquaponics systems, the college has worked closely with aquaponics, aquaculture and greenhouse producers to identify critical issues facing the commercial food production sector in southern Alberta. To address these, Lethbridge College has taken a multi-disciplinary approach that also aligns with its strategic focus on agriculture. Accordingly, the objectives of the proposed activities centre on three main areas: food safety, consumer acceptance and economic return on investment (ROI). Each of these areas will drive projects that are specific to the needs of both industry and community that in turn will lead to commercialization opportunities.

The outcomes of the project will include knowledge transfer, skills development, and products and services. By year five, Lethbridge College fully expects to be able to adapt and transfer findings throughout the partnerships.

Agriculture and value-added agriculture are key aspects of the regional economy. If successful, funds from this proposal would bring tremendous impact to the community and would make southern Alberta a centrepiece of IFPS food production, demonstrating that rural communities can maintain a competitive advantage through economic diversification.

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SSHRC

The Emergence of the Transgender Child: Parent Politics and Social Change
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Dr. Jennifer Davis
  • Funding for the project: SSHRC Insight Grant​ ​
  • Project duration: 2017-2021
  • Principal Investigator: Dr. Jennifer Dyer, Memorial University.
  • Co-investigators: Dr. Jennifer Davis (Lethbridge College Instructor, General Studies); Dr. Julie James, Ryerson University; Dr. Ruth Koleszar-Green, York University; Dr. Kimberley Manning, Concordia University; Dr. Sarah Pickett and Dr. Julie Temple-Newhook, Memorial University; Dr. Annie Pullen-Sansfacon, University of Montreal

 

Recent research suggests that strong parental support of transgender youth dramatically reduces their otherwise extremely high risk of self-harm and suicide. The challenges that parents and caregivers face in supporting and advocating for a transgender child, however, are immense. This project is a national study of parent advocates of transgender children and youth. It has two objectives: 1) to explain both advocacy success and the ongoing challenges that parents face, and 2) to create new networks, organizational links, and templates for practice within rural and urban Canadian communities in which parents are advocating for their children.

Transgender children began to emerge in the Canadian public eye in 2013 when several originally independent initiatives simultaneously got underway in several parts of the country. In the space of a few short months, parents began speaking to the media, creating support networks, and lobbying to have laws changed. Resource mobilization theory, which focuses on external resources, and political process theory, which focuses on frames, offer partial explanations for this sudden burst in activity, but a shift in emotional response has also played a vital role. Many parents have moved from a position of anxiety, that gender non-conformity was a problem produced by parenting to a position of parental pride.

This project combines group auto-ethnography and participatory action research in four different regions across Canada. It involves qualitative interviews with parent advocates and a critical media analysis of representations of transgender youth and their families to better understand the phenomenon of parental advocacy. It approaches advocacy as a type of gendered work that involves a large commitment of time, energy, resources, and emotional labour and considers the many affective and ethically fraught challenges that parents of transgender children face, including public backlash. It also examines how gender and heteronormativity, whiteness, class, and urban privilege shape collective parental strategies. Thus it contributes to forging a new conversation about care work in social movements, and directly contributes to grassroots knowledge mobilization.

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Why are Women Under-Represented within Leadership positions in Corrections?
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Dr. Jeanine Webber
  • Funding for project: SSHRC Explore
  • Project duration:  July 1st, 2019 to June 30th, 2020
  • Lead Researchers: Dr. Jeanine Webber (Dean, Centre for Justice & Human Services) and Ibrahim Turay (Instructor, Centre for Justice & Human Services) 
  • News story:

We are exploring why women are under-represented in leadership roles within the Alberta Correctional Services Division despite the Division's commitment to diversity and inclusion. We hope to accomplish the following objectives with this study. Firstly, we seek to identify the barriers/perceived barriers, preventing women from ascending to leadership positions. Secondly, we seek to identify the key resources women require to support their leadership aspirations in the Division. Thirdly, we seek to identify the pathways that have proven effective for women to become involved in leadership experiences. Finally, we seek to document the experiences of women who are in leadership positions within the Division. The results of this study will provide direction and insights to the Division as they work to enhance the leadership opportunities for women.

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An Exploration of Possible Barriers to the Successful Completion of the APCAT and ACT by Police Recruit Applicants
  • Funding for project: SSHRC Explore
  • Project duration:  July 1st, 2019 to June 30th, 2020
  • Lead Researchers: Dr. Jim Urasaki (Instructor, Centre for Justice & Human Services) and Dr. Jeanine Webber (Dean, Centre for Justice & Human Services)
  • News story:

This research will examine the possible barriers which prevent the successful completion of the Alberta Police Cognitive Abilities Test (APCAT) and the Alberta Communication Test (ACT) as identified by police recruit applicants.  The APCAT and ACT are part of the process to assess a candidate’s suitability for employment as a peace officer in the province of Alberta and the tests are used as a screening tool to allow candidates to proceed to the next stages of recruitment.  This research will also explore other possible factors that may affect some applicants’ ability to work as a police officer in Alberta. 

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Cultural Assemblages: Using Creative Writing as Tool to Explore Questions of Contemporary Identity
  • Funding for project: SSHRC Explore
  • Project duration:  July 1st, 2019 to June 30th, 2020
  • Lead Researchers: Dr. Brent Cottle (Instructor, General Studies)
  • News story:

In this project, I will use the strategies of short fiction to address cultural questions about identity and its formation in the age of social media saturation and celebrity adulation. The creation of character, setting, and figurative imagery are uniquely intimate ways of exploring these questions. The deliverables of this project are two short stories (6000 - 10,000 words each) to be submitted for publication to notable literary journals. I have published short fiction in the past, and look on these anticipated publications to enhance and add dimension to those credentials.

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A Conversation About Homelessness in Post-Secondary Students
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Shaylene Wall, Instructor, General Studies
  • Funding for project: SSHRC Exchange​​
  • Project duration:  July 1st, 2019 to June 30th, 2020
  • Lead Researchers: Shaylene Wall (Instructor, General Studies)
  • News story:

Nobody should have to be homeless. Anything that addresses the needs of this vulnerable segment of our population is highly important and significant. The issues of post-secondary students facing homelessness, in particular, have not been carefully addressed, and are important to understand and alleviate. The workshop outlined in this proposal will help Lethbridge College to address this issue by deepening our insight into the challenges of poverty among our student population, increasing community awareness of the issues and barriers faced by our vulnerable student population, and mobilizing the community to creatively address the needs of our students.

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Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP)

 

 

 

 

Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI)

The Centre for Sustainable Food Production

The world needs to produce at least 50% more food to feed 9 billion people by 2050. However, climate change and the depletion of natural resources present significant challenges. There is urgent need to develop alternative sustainable food production systems, reduce organic waste and improve the efficacy of food systems at commercially viable scales. A CFI investment will enable Lethbridge College to create the Centre for Sustainable Food Production to help industry develop innovative technologies that: (1) convert manure and other wastes into highly efficient, soluble fertilizers; (2) improve the delivery of soluble fertilizers by optimizing fertigation systems; (3) improve organic crop production through optimized pest management (bio-pesticides); and (4) maximize greenhouse production through vertical aquaponics.

CFI funding will be used to construct a 10,000 sq. ft. research greenhouse and header house, purchase supporting laboratory equipment, greenhouse hardware, and fertigation technology. The greenhouse will provide a much needed validation tool, mirroring the exact conditions for commercial production and support research in the four identified pillars. This research aligns with the Alberta’s Research and Innovation Framework Action Plan 2017-2020, to reduce organic waste by 50% and support innovation targets to produce new, value-added products using agricultural waste. The outcomes will benefit Alberta’s farmers who produce 53 million tonnes of manure per year.

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Alberta Research Capacity Program (RCP)

 

 

Other Funding