Smart ideas

SMART IDEAS

#SmartIdeas researchers featured in University Affairs magazine 

  • Miao Song, Affiliate Assistant Professor, Department of Engineering and Computer Science, Concordia University (February 2017)
     
  • Marie-Odile Junker, Professor in the School of Linguistics and Language Studies, Carleton University (January 2017)
     
  • Yoko Yoshida, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology, Dalhousie University (December 2016)
  • Louis Raymond, Emeritus Professor, Research Institute for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (November 2016)
     
  • Jo-ann Archibald, Associate Dean, Indigenous Education, University of British Columbia (October 2016)
  • Joel Westheimer, Professor, Faculty of Education, University of Ottawa (September 2016) 

Stay tuned for more interviews with researchers at work for Canadians. 


The Federation has launched the Smart Ideas initiative to help articulate the value and role of the humanities and social sciences (HSS) in building a better future for Canada. An array of factsheets demonstrate how— through research, teaching and community engagement—Canada’s leading thinkers are helping explore profound questions about who we are as Canadians and what kind of future we want for ourselves and our country.

How do we realize reconciliation with Aboriginal peoples?
How do we tell Canadian stories?
How do we support youth and education?
How do we enhance productivity and innovation?
How do we strengthen citizenship and integration?
How do we build Canada’s future?

Feel free to download and use these resources! We hope these fact sheets can:

  • help members of the HSS community communicate the value of our disciplines
  • help Canadians at large better understand the work of HSS scholars
  • help parliamentarians and policy makers* connect with the experts they need


Click through the Smart Ideas fact sheets to learn about the issues and meet the researchers at work for Canadians.





  





Humanities and social sciences research in Canada
Canada’s humanities and social sciences researchers deepen our understanding of modern social, cultural, technological, environmental, economic and health issues. The Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences is a national, member-based organization that represents Canada’s professors, students and practitioners in the humanities and social sciences. We connect researchers to the media, the public and decision makers. We bring scholars to Parliament Hill to share insights on topical issues through our Big Thinking lecture series. We also organize Canada’s largest academic gathering every year, the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences.

See the fact sheet

Back to top


Enhancing productivity and innovation
Humanities and social sciences researchers are collaborating across disciplines and working with communities, businesses and governments to build Canada’s innovation agenda.

We’re making Canada a more innovative country by:

  •  Exploring and testing new methods of organization, creation and production
  •  Understanding the challenges of adapting to and adopting new technologies
  • Strengthening creative and problem-solving skills among entrepreneurs, workers and employers
  • Exploring social, environmental, economic and health issues
  • Expanding international collaboration to make Canada an innovation centre
  • Transforming government practices in the digital era

Meet the researchers at work for Canadians:

  • Suzanne Stein, Associate Professor, Strategic Foresight and Innovation, OCAD University
  • Louis Raymond, Emeritus Professor, Research Institute for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, Univeristé du Québec à Trois Rivières

Read a full interview with Louis Raymond in University Affairs magazine here.

See the fact sheet

Back to top


Strengthening citizenship and integration
Humanities and social sciences researchers are exploring how family sponsored immigrants fare and how that compares to the results for economic immigrants.

We’re finding better approaches to support new citizens by studying:

  • How to remove barriers to help refugees and immigrants become fully engaged in Canadian society
  • How to help groups that might face targeting for their connections to troubled regions of the world
  • Better ways to connect employers and immigrants with the skills they need
  • The role of faith communities in integrating newcomers 
  • Early experiences of skilled immigrants under the new Express Entry system 

Meet the researchers at work for Canadians:

  • Bessma Momani, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Waterloo
  • Yoko Yoshida, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology, Dalhousie University

Read a full interview with Yoko Yoshida in University Affairs magazine here.

See the fact sheet

Back to top


Reconciliation with aboriginal peoples
Humanities and social sciences researchers are asking bold questions as they work with Indigenous peoples on our toughest challenges.

We’re looking to improve progress on reconciliation by:

  • Promoting understanding and respect for First Nations, Métis and Inuit knowledge
  • Preserving and restoring Indigenous languages
  • Identifying how to end inequalities in health, education and employment
  • Sharing knowledge and ideas to address issues such as obesity, suicide and substance abuse
  • Using arts and culture to stimulate reconciliation
  • Learning how to make schooling more welcoming and supportive

Meet the researchers at work for Canadians:

  • Jo-ann Archibald, Associate Dean for Indigenous Education at the University of British Columbia
  • Marie-Odile Junker, Professor in the School of Linguistics and Language Studies, Carleton University 

Read a full interview with Jo-ann Archibald in University Affairs magazine here.

Read a full interview with Marie-Odile Junker in University Affairs magazine here.

See the fact sheet

Back to top


Telling Canadian stories
Humanities and social sciences researchers are helping artists and the public address identity and contemporary topics in a variety of new ways.

We’re helping Canadians explore and express identity by:

  • Using artistic processes in research
  • Relying on art and the creative process as a way of exploring identity
  • Mentoring and developing Canadians’ skills in writing, communication and design
  • Embedding arts and culture in curricula to reach at-risk students
  • Using new digital technologies to create interactive documentaries
  • Exploring social problems through literature, theatre and film
  • Using technology to expand the impact of artistic mediums such as dance and theatre

Meet the researchers at work for Canadians:

  • Aritha van Herk, Professor, Department of English, University of Calgary 
  • Miao Song, Affiliate Assistant Professor, Department of Engineering and Computer Science, Concordia University  

See the fact sheet

Back to top


Supporting youth and education
Humanities and social sciences researchers are asking bold questions about the factors that improve citizenship, beyond academic achievement.

We’re looking to improve results for youth by:

  • Encouraging critical thinking about our place in the world and in society
  • Preparing students to be lifelong learners and problem-solvers
  • Creating a broader menu of learning options, to suit all needs
  • Teaching history in ways that support Aboriginal reconciliation
  • Finding the best ways to combat bullying

Meet the researchers at work for Canadians:

  • Joel Westheimer, Professor in the Faculty of Education, University of Ottawa
  • Susanne Lajoie, Professor in the Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology, McGill University

Read a full interview with Joel Westheimer in University Affairs magazine here.

See the fact sheet

Back to top


Improving health care
Researchers are examining the impact that social factors such as education and housing have on health. Other focus areas include new funding models, the role of technology and the effects poverty and inequality have on health outcomes. 

We're looking for ways to deliver 21st-century health care by:

  • Preparing economic models to guide policy in areas such as home care
  • Understanding the implications of an aging population for health care
  • Reconciling competing visions of public and private funding models
  • Working with Indigenous peoples to use traditional practices to improve health outcomes 
  • Examining the health and social implications of using medical marijuana
  • Creating ethical frameworks to address assisted dying and palliative care
  • Learning to integrate new technologies and Big Data into health care
  • Sharing ways to reduce the impact of chronic disease
  • Assessing the health care needs of new Canadians

Meet the researchers at work for Canadians:

  • Neena Chappell, Canada Research Chair in Social Gerontology (retired), Professor Emeritus in Sociology and the Institute on Aging and Lifelong Health, University of Victoria
  • Françoise Baylis, Professor and Canada Research Chair in Bioethics and Philosophy, Dalhousie University

See the fact sheet

Back to top


Reducing inequalities
Humanities and social science researchers are tackling questions of social justice and inequality by exploring ways to reduce disparities. 

We’re looking for ways to reduce inequality by:

  • Focusing on children’s well being to break the cycle of poverty
  • Examining how discrimination, sexism and racism limit opportunity
  • Addressing inequalities in health, education and employment for Indigenous peoples
  • Learning how to integrate new Canadians into schools and jobs
  • Building economic models to help make the case for affordable housing
  • Assessing the impact of raising minimum wages

Meet the researchers at work for Canadians:

  • Patrick Turmel, Professor of Philosophy, Université Laval  
  • Krishna Pendakur, Professor of Economics, Simon Fraser University

See the fact sheet

Back to top


Tackling climate change
Humanities and social sciences researchers are developing ways to help Canadians mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change

We’re looking for ways to tackle the complexity of climate change by:

  • Exploring ways to design the urban landscape to mitigate climate change
  • Preparing economic models to help guide policymakers
  • Resolving tensions between carbon tax and cap-and-trade approaches
  • Working with Indigenous peoples to gain insights from traditional knowledge of the land 
  • Creating adaptive management approaches in Canadian agriculture
  • Understanding the implications of climate change for our health care system
  • Learning how to integrate new technologies into resource management systems
  • Sharing knowledge and ideas to change behaviour at societal scales

Meet the researchers at work for Canadians:

  • Barry Smit, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Geography at the University of Guelph
  • Imre Szeman, Canada Research Chair in Cultural Studies and Professor of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta 

See the fact sheet

Back to top