JESSICA BALL AND KIMBERLY SCHONERT-REICHL
2009 DISTINGUISHED ACADEMICS AWARDS RECIPIENTS
A University of Victoria professor whose research helps Aboriginal men to become better fathers and a University of British Columbia professor working with families, schools, and communities to find ways to promote children’s empathy, altruism, and well-being received the 2009 CUFA BC Distinguished Academics Awards on April 8th.
UVic’s Dr. Jessica Ball was named Academic of the Year for her work with Aboriginal communities in developing new understandings and resources to support fathers. UBC’s Dr. Kimberly Schonert-Reichl received the Paz Buttedahl Career Achievement Award for more than two decades of work on finding ways to promote positive emotional and social growth in young people.
These awards are presented annually by the Confederation of University Faculty Associations of BC (CUFA BC) to recognize faculty members at BC’s public universities who use their research and scholarly work to make contributions to the wider community.
“Dr. Ball and Dr. Schonert-Reichl are outstanding examples of faculty members at BC universities who not only use their research to benefit the wider community, but who also work in partnership with community organizations to identify and help fill research needs,” said Dr. Paul Bowles, President of CUFA BC.
“Dr. Ball’s work in creating research-based resources for Aboriginal fathers is unique in Canada and moves beyond stereotypes to help heal the wounds created by the residential schools,” Bowles continued. “Dr. Schonert-Reichl’s research on child and adolescent emotional and social development has resulted both in new theoretical insights and in practical programs used by schools and community organizations to develop healthier and happier kids.”
Mark Forsythe, host of CBC Radio One’s BC Almanac , emceed the awards dinner on Wednesday, April 8th at the Law Courts Inn in Vancouver.
The CUFA BC Distinguished Academics Awards are in their fifteenth year and receive generous support from Phillips, Hager & North Investment Management Ltd., CBC Radio One, University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, the University of Victoria, the University of Northern British Columbia and Royal Roads University.
SEGMENT FROM APRIL 9, 2009 EDITION OF CBC RADIO ONE’S BC ALMANAC ABOUT THE AWARDS
(MP3 FILE – 2.6 MB – 5 MINUTES)
2009 CUFA BC DISTINGUISHED ACADEMICS AWARDS RECIPIENTS
APRIL 8, 2009
ACADEMIC OF THE YEAR AWARD – 2009
DR. JESSICA BALL – SCHOOL OF CHILD AND YOUTH CARE – UNIVERSITY OF VICTORIA
How do you learn to be a father if you’ve never met your father, or if most of your interactions with him were negative? What kind of father will you be if you’re masking the pain of your residential school experience with alcohol or drugs? Where can you turn to find support to become the loving and supportive father you know you can be? University of Victoria professor of Child and Youth Care Dr. Jessica Ball has sought answers to these questions and many more.
For five years, Dr. Ball was the co-principal investigator in a SSHRC-CURA funded study into fatherhood in Canada. Her investigation into Indigenous fatherhood was unique in two ways. It was the first time a systematic study of Indigenous fatherhood had ever been carried out in Canada, and the study took place at a time when First Nations communities were wary of research agreements with non-Aboriginal researchers.
Her success in achieving agreements with five Aboriginal communities in BC for this study was the result of years of working with First Nations in ways that respected their cultures. It was through this approach that
Dr. Ball earned the reputation, as one of her nominees noted, “as one of only a handful of university-based academics who orients her role as a researcher to helping Aboriginal peoples to achieve social justice and to furthering their goals for children and families.”
The success of her work in the 1990s in developing training programs in partnership with First Nation communities for Aboriginal child and youth care workers led to requests from First Nations leaders for her assistance in seeking answers to numerous questions about supporting children and families. Out of these requests came research projects to find ways to support speech and language acquisition of Aboriginal children, and to document how First Nation communities are building their capacity to deliver child and family development programs.
Her Indigenous fatherhood study was developed in consultation with the five partner communities and carried out with an Aboriginal research team. Fathers in the partner communities decided that the best way to use this research would be to produce a DVD and print materials in which Aboriginal fathers would tell real stories of fatherhood in their own words. Thus was the genesis of the DVD Fatherhood: Indigenous Men’s Journeys. More than 3,000 copies of the DVD and the accompanying parenting and program guides have been distributed across Canada and internationally to Aboriginal fathers, community-based programs, government agencies, libraries and universities.
For her groundbreaking research into Indigenous fatherhood, for her acclaimed contributions on research ethics and cultural safety, and for her unstinting commitment to serve the communities she studies, Dr. Jessica Ball was awarded the 2009 CUFA BC Academic of the Year Award.
PAZ BUTTEDAHL CAREER ACHIEVEMENT AWARD – 2009
DR. KIMBERLY SCHNOERT-REICHL – EDUCATION AND COUNSELLING PSYCHOLOGY, AND SPECIAL EDUCATION – UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA
Dr. Kimberly Schonert-Reichl has spent more than 20 years looking for the good in children. From her time as a school teacher, to her work with at-risk adolescents, to her academic research, Dr. Schonert-Reichl has sought to understand how children develop their sense of morality and how parents, teachers and the community shape a child’s emotional and social development.
Although there is much we think we know about how to raise “good kids”, Dr. Schonert-Reichl puts such knowledge to the test. She applies the rigor of academic research to evaluate various approaches to promoting empathy, altruism and well-being in children.
One of the best-known examples of this work is her on-going evaluation of the Roots of Empathy program. Based on monthly visits by an infant and her/his parents, the program aims to facilitate the development of emotional and social understanding in children. Dr. Schonert-Reichl’s evaluation of the program consistently documents its positive impact and her research has played a critical role in the expansion of this program in British Columbia and around the world.
The scope of Dr. Schonert-Reichl’s work truly is global. She has studied the effects of political violence on adolescents in Israel. She has collaborated with researchers in Australia, Japan and New Zealand on evaluations of the Roots of Empathy program in those countries. She has shared the results of her research with His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Despite the international reach of Dr. Schonert-Reichl’s scholarship, her work is firmly rooted in BC school classrooms. As one of her nominators notes:
“Dr. Schonert-Reichl is seldom found in the ‘ivory tower’. Rather, she is typically found in the schools, working directly with teachers, administrators and with children and youth, turning research into practice within the arena of social-emotional development.”
A recent example of her turning research into practice is the United Way-funded study of the psychological and social worlds of children aged 9 to 12. Through surveys, children keeping diaries of how they use their time, and interviews, Dr. Schonert-Reichl paints a picture of the complex transition in every person’s life from child to adolescent.
The results of this research have been printed in booklet form and more than 2,700 copies have been distributed to community agencies, schools, governments and universities. This work has resulted in the creation of community-based efforts to support middle childhood in nine BC communities, and the United Way earmarking $2.6 million for middle childhood initiatives. Emotionally secure children make better adults and provide us with the hope and inspiration that the next generation will be able to live more peaceable and content lives. Dr. Schonert-Reichl’s work not only helps children today but contributes to a better society tomorrow.
For her long commitment to understanding and improving the lives of children and adolescents through her academic research and its practical application, Dr. Kimberly Schonert-Reichl was awarded the newly-named Paz Buttedahl Career Achievement Award for 2009.
2009 Distinguished Academics Awards Sponsored by