Professor awarded grant to study struggling students

Kevin Gosine will study a program that reaches out to at-risk kids in Regent Park, where he grew up.

Kevin Gosine will study a program that reaches out to at-risk kids in Toronto's Regent Park, where he grew up.

An assistant professor of Sociology has been awarded a federal research grant to study struggling students in low-income neighbourhoods.

Kevin Gosine has received a $69,569 Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) research grant, which he holds in partnership with Pathways to Education Canada. The grant is for “Toward A Better Understanding of Pathways Persistent ‘Strugglers’: A Pilot Study,” which he is working on with Stacey Young, director of research and evaluation with Pathways Canada.

Pathways to Education Canada is a charitable organization founded in Toronto’s Regent Park in 2001. It helps youth in low-income communities graduate from high school and successfully transition into post-secondary education or training.

Pathways aims to remove barriers to education by providing leadership, expertise and a community-based program proven to lower dropout rates.

“Pathways has had tremendous success in Regent Park,” said Gosine, who grew up in the Toronto neighbourhood. “They’ve performed some miracles there.”

But “there are a small proportion of students, who continue to struggle despite the programs and supports Pathways has provided. I’m hoping this study can yield insights that will enable Pathways to help these kids.”

Gosine will examine three questions:

  • What in-school and out-of-school factors shape the educational experiences and outcomes of young people from lower socio-economic communities?
  • What forms of agency and/or resistance do these young people exercise in negotiating these influences?
  • How well has the Pathways program responded to the needs of students most at-risk and in what ways can Pathways programming be improved?

A final report will be delivered to PHAC and Pathways by the end of May. Gosine also hopes to publish his findings.

Data will be collected through focus groups and individual, in-depth interviews with Pathways students and student-parent support workers in Regent Park.

Gosine’s grant is a significant achievement in a highly competitive environment, said Ian Brindle, Brock’s Vice-President Research.

“This contributes greatly to Brock University’s transformation as a research-intensive university.”

Pathways operates in 11 communities across Canada, with programs in Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and Manitoba.

Posted on March 31, 2011

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