Articles tagged with: Jeff Boggs

  • Brock-led poverty research project heads into second year

    A partnership between the Niagara Region and Brock announced last May is examining the Niagara Prosperity Initiative (NPI) and its impact on Niagara communities.

    Lori Watson, Director, Social Assistance and Employment Opportunities for Niagara Region, said the research project “will help the Niagara Region develop an updated report outlining the state of poverty in Niagara — an analysis on the impacts, outcomes and offer recommendations on best practices moving forward.”

    A Brock-led research project looking into poverty in Niagara is headed into its second year. Pictured are some of the researchers and students involved in the project.

    The three-year research project was funded through a nearly half-million-dollar grant from the Government of Ontario’s Local Poverty Reduction Fund and will culminate in a final report to be released in 2021.

    The NPI provides $1.5 million annually to support poverty reduction and prevention activities throughout the region. In its 10 years of operation, the NPI has funded some 365 projects delivered by 85 local agencies to help more than 100,000 individuals and families experiencing poverty across Niagara.

    Brock’s transdisciplinary research team is led by Jeff Boggs (Geography and Tourism Studies), Michael Busseri (Psychology), Darlene Ciuffetelli Parker (Teacher Education), Joyce Engel (Nursing), Tiffany Gallagher (Teacher Education), Kevin Gosine (Sociology), Felice Martinello (Economics), Dawn Prentice (Nursing) and Dennis Soron (Sociology).

    In 2018, the NPI evaluation team:

    • Formulated a communications strategy
    • Formed a community advisory team
    • Reviewed previous research, statistics and the landscape of poverty and poverty reduction efforts in Niagara and comparable regions
    • Interviewed people who were instrumental to the development and management of NPI, with a focus on NPI’s history and objectives
    • Spoke with NPI-funded project leads with a focus on the impact of NPI funding
    • Created a comparison of actual and expected outputs
    • Analyzed testimonials from NPI service users

    In 2019, the NPI evaluation team is aiming to:

    • Form a lived experience advisory group
    • Continue speaking with NPI-funded project leads
    • Measure the impact of NPI assistance on service user well-being
    • Survey a representative sample of Niagara residents affected by poverty
    • Evaluate NPI-funded literacy projects
    • Develop inclusive photo-reporting practices
    • Assess service user feedback mechanisms
    • Review the NPI request for proposal and review process

    The NPI evaluation team received contributions and support from a number of places, including Brock’s Social Justice Research Institute, which initiated the partnership and facilitated the grant application process, the Faculty of Social Sciences and the wider Brock community.

    Members of the Community Advisory Team, including Catherine Livingston, Diane Corkum, Jackie Van Lankveld and Jane LaVacca, reviewed and provided feedback on the project plan. Fourth-year Sociology students conducted 25 interviews with NPI-funded project leads. The Information and Analytics Team, a business unit with Niagara Region’s Information Technology Solutions division, identified and facilitated access to poverty-related data collected by the Niagara Region and its partners.

    For more information, visit the NPI Evaluation project website at brocku.ca/npi-evaluation.

    Story reposted from The Brock News.

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  • Congratulations to Senanu Kutor on the successful completion of his MA in Geography MRP

    The Department of Geography and Tourism Studies would like to extend congratulations to Senanu Kutor and his committee for the successful defense of his Master of Arts in Geography Major Research Paper entitled ‘Wisdom and cross-cultural interaction: a geographical perspective’ on January 14, 2019.

    Senanu’s research was supervised by Dr. Dragos Simandan and committee member, Dr. Jeffrey Boggs.

    We wish Senanu all the best for his future endeavours!

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  • Jeff Boggs participates in the 2018 Niagara Economic Summit panel on Tomorrow’s Reality

    Profesor Jeff Boggs (third from left) participates in the Niagara Economic Summit 2018 panel on Tomorrow’s Reality. Photo by Brock NCO.

    On November 2, 2018, professor Jeff Boggs joined five other panelists to discuss “Tomorrow’s Reality — Trends to Watch For”. The panel explored the contemporary global demographic and economic trends and considered their implications for Niagara, most importantly their effects on our competitiveness in the global market.

    The Niagara Economic Summit brings together individuals from across the Region to celebrate shared successes, strategize the way forward for our regional economy, and increase collaboration. Participants from academy, senior ranks of government, economists, organizational leaders and business owners explore the importance and opportunities presented by diversification.

    More information about the event can be found at gncc.ca/economicsummit/.

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  • Employees, students and research add up to Brock’s significant impact on Niagara

    Nearly half a billion dollars. Even on the conservative end of the measurement scale, that’s the economic impact Brock University has on the Niagara region each year.

    It comes in the form of Brock’s 19,000 students living in the region and spending their money here. It comes from hundreds of millions of dollars in capital and operational expenditures. And it comes from Brock’s 4,800 part- and full-time employees receiving more than $200 million in payroll each year.

    “I encourage you to look beyond the numbers,” said Brock University President Gervan Fearon. “There are individuals directly tied to each of those dollar values. The values reflect the outstanding work our staff, faculty, researchers, students and partners are doing in contributing to economic and community activities across the region and province.”

    A new policy brief released by the Niagara Community Observatory (NCO) Wednesday, Oct. 10 gives an updated snapshot of the University’s economic impact locally and beyond. The brief is a pilot project that will lead to more wholesome economic impact studies, as well as research examining Brock’s social and community engagement impact.

    “One of the things this paper does is show how the University can be a catalyst and a partner in Niagara,” Fearon said. “Brock is a community-based university and what we’re celebrating here is not just our achievements, but the achievements of the entire community.”

    Brock Associate Professor of Geography and Tourism Studies Jeff Boggs and master’s student Lauren Peddle (BA ’18) co-authored the report after spending months researching and poring through data using two separate accepted methodologies.

    Professor Jeff Boggs and MA in Geography student, Lauren Peddle posing with report

    Professor Jeff Boggs and MA in Geography student, Lauren Peddle, present the findings from their study, The Brock University effect: How thousands of students and millions of dollars energize the economy of Niagara communities.

    Using conservative assumptions as the basis, one method estimates Brock’s impact in Niagara to be more than $436 million and the other more than $450 million. When student and related spending are considered, this number jumps to nearly $640 million.

    Brock has an annual operating budget of $320 million and a payroll of more than $212 million. It’s one of Niagara’s biggest employers, and nearly 80 per cent of its employees live in the region.

    Brock Vice-President, Research Tim Kenyon said measuring and characterizing a post-secondary institution’s impact on its community is a “ferociously difficult challenge.” But Brock’s decision to take it on shows the University’s commitment to being a community partner.

    “What we learned is that the University affects the community, but the community also affects the University,” he said.

    He added that Brock’s more than $15 million in research grants received in the past year translates into equipment purchases, new hires and the enabling of research that positively impacts the community.

    The policy brief will become a foundation for future research and planning, said Fearon.

    “We’ll now be able to look at the numbers to say ‘how can we have the greatest financial impact at a regional level?’”

    Deputy St. Catharines CAO David Oakes, one of the panelists at Wednesday’s NCO event, said Brock’s impact on municipalities in the region is immense.

    “Brock is critical to the St. Catharines economy,” he said. “You look at something like the Steel Blade hockey game, where you have 5,000 students coming downtown — that has a direct impact on the downtown core that wouldn’t have been there otherwise.”

    Other panelists reflecting on the important role played by the University and the value added to Niagara communities included Mishka Balsom from the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce, Rino Mostacci from the Niagara Region and Peter Tiidus, Dean of Brock’s Faculty of Applied Health Sciences.

    Download the policy brief “The Brock University Effect” here.

    STORY FROM THE BROCK NEWS

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  • MA in Geography thesis defence scheduled for July 24: “A Domestic Geography of Money” by Adam Fischer

    Adam Fischer will defend his MA thesis titled “A Domestic Geography of Money: How Mortgage Debt, Home Prices, and Toronto’s Condominiums “Prop up” the Canadian Economy” on July 24, 2018 from 12:00pm to 2:00pm. The defense will take place in MC C-407 and is open to the public.

    Adam Fisher’s Examining Committee includes Dr. Alan Walks from the University of Toronto (External), Dr. Philip Mackintosh (Supervisor), Dr. Jeffrey Boggs (Committee Member), and Dr. Christopher Fullerton (Committee Member).

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  • Daniel Amoak completes MRP for MA in Geography

    Congratulations to Daniel Amoak on his successful completion of his Master of Arts in Geography major research paper titled “Combating desertification in Semi-Arid Ghana: An analysis of rainfall trends and resilience in the Upper East Region”. Daniel’s MRP was supervised by Dr. Anthony Shaw, committee member Dr. Jeff Boggs. As Daniel often reminds us, he has been a “cohort by himself”. Daniel has played a significant role in bringing two different cohorts together with his witty and kind personality. We wish Daniel all the best for his future endeavours.

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  • Students and faculty travel to New Orleans for AAG 2018

    On April 10-14, our graduate students and professors travelled to New Orleans for the 2018 American Association of Geographers (AAG) Annual Meeting. At this AAG Annual Meeting, Master of Arts in Geography student Jennica Giesbrecht was awarded the Glenda Laws Paper Award for her paper “Posthuman and Material-Discursive Examinations of the Geographies of the Dead Body”. Congratulations Jennica!

    Read more about the papers and sessions by Geography and Tourism Studies professors and students:

    Mobilities Research, Epistemic Justice, and Mobility Justice

    By: Drs. Nancy Cook and David Butz (Geography and Tourism Studies)

    Over the past decade numerous authors have called for the development of “mobile methods” (Büscher, Urry & Witchger, 2011) and the identification of suitable “methods for mobilities research” (Sheller & Urry, 2006), and a number of innovative approaches to studying mobilities have emerged. These often involve some form of embodied or kinaesthetic researcher involvement in the mobile practices and contexts of the social groups or in the spaces under investigation. More recently, mobilities and transport scholars have begun to trouble some of the claims and assumptions underpinning the turn to mobile methods on epistemological (e.g., Merriman, 2014) and ethical (e.g., Warren, 2017) grounds. Our presentation contributes to this methodological discussion by suggesting the notion of epistemic justice as a basis for assessing the adequacy of particular methods for conducting mobilities research. We argue that epistemic justice is a significant aspect of mobility justice itself, and should be an important consideration in the conduct of mobilities research. We develop our argument with reference to a self-directed photography project we conducted with members of a small community in the mountains of northern Pakistan in the wake of a locally-important road construction project.

    The skills-mismatch: the weak evidentiary basis of a fuzzy concept and the implications for public universities.

    By: Drs. Emmanuel Kyeremeh and Jeffrey Boggs (Geography and Tourism Studies)

    The English-language press promotes a thesis of an incompatibility between workers’ ‘skills’ and employers’ needs, a condition variously called skill(s) gap(s), horizontal (and vertical) mismatch, or over- (and under-) education. However, no single unambiguous definition exists which encompasses these terms in a unified framework. Furthermore, these concepts frequently conflate credentials, skill-level, skillset and habit. Given the implications of these claims for labour force policies in English-speaking countries, this ambiguity is problematic. Furthermore, scholarly literature finds claims of skills-mismatch to be inconsistent with existing data in Anglophone countries. With that said, what we collectively term a ‘skills-mismatch’ exemplifies Markusen’s (2003) ‘fuzzy concept.’ While our re-conceptualization of the skills-mismatch as a concept consisting of three analytically-distinct components (credential-mismatch, skill-level-mismatch, and skillset-mismatch, all as distinct from habits) provides a starting-point for investigating the existence and extent of a skills-mismatch in a given context, a larger popular discourse already frames the contemporary discussion about an alleged skills-mismatch. Regardless of its problematic empirical foundations, this larger popular discourse frames universities as the cause of a ‘skills-mismatch.’ Irritatingly, this discourse downplays or ignores the role of employers in training workers, especially given declines in-house training budgets. In term of public wealth, advocates of the skills-mismatch thesis call for the restructuring of public universities to provide “workforce-ready” workers at the expense of turning out well-rounded students, and ignore the repercussions of this putative solution which further externalizes firms’ training costs onto society at large.

    Not Quite A Free Space: The Role of Geography in Critiquing Liberatory Discourse on LGBT Life Online

    By: Dean Mizzi, MA in Geography candidate, Brock University

    LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) enclaves, also known as “gay villages” or “gayborhoods”, have been a subject of study by geographers for decades. Advancements in information and communications technology since the 1990s, particularly access to the Internet and later to mobile telecommunications, have changed the nature of LGBT communities. More interaction is taking place via online services, such as social networks or online discussion boards, in contrast to the traditional physical spaces associated with gay villages. Most current scholarship describes these new interactions in the context of their benefits such as increased accessibility of information, community-building for activism, or as a means of social support. In this study I present a review and analysis of literature both within and outside geography which contests the current liberatory discourse surrounding LGBT life online including reproduction of exclusions from physical spaces in online environments, the creation of “virtual closets” in the constant sharing environment of social media, and increases in mass surveillance and content restrictions. In addition, I examine several current conceptual frameworks used in virtual geographies: hybrid spaces, augmented reality, and mediated spatiality. The remainder of the paper is devoted to examining which conceptual framework(s) is/are most effective for geographers in articulating the critiques to the liberatory discourse of LGBT life online.

    Mobile ‘Homes’: An Ethnographic Study with American Vandwellers

    By: Stephanie Murray, MA in Geography candidate, Brock University

    At present, numerous studies exist which focus on the practices and mobility of “snowbirds” and other RV nomads travelling within North America. And yet, moving alongside these nomads is another group of highly mobile vehicle-dwellers who seem to have gone unnoticed by scholars. United under the “vanlife” hashtag, these individuals refer to themselves as “vanlifers,” “vandwellers,” and “van nomads.” In order to learn about the meanings that these vandwellers assign to their mobility, and the ways in which that mobility might change the way that geographers conceptualize the scale of the home, I moved into my van and attended a number of van gatherings in Colorado and Washington State between July 1st and August 20th, 2017. This paper presents the findings from 9 weeks of participatory ethnographic research, during which 10 face-to-face semi-structured interviews were conducted with 7 couples and 3 single “vanlifers.” By employing a “mobile metaphysics” in my analysis of the resulting participatory and interview data, I hope to contribute to recent efforts to expand geography’s focus beyond an ontology of fixity and place, and draw attention to the practices and meanings embedded in the movements of American vandwellers.

    Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Engagement: Teach-Ins – Panel Discussion

    Chair: Hilda Kurtz
    Discussants: Jenna Loyd (University of Wisconsin-Madison), Punam Khosla (York University), Ebru Ustundag (Geography and Tourism Studies, Brock University), Hilda Kurtz University of Georgia)

    This session is one of several organized for the purpose of providing grounded but critical discussion of public engagement and outreach opportunities, strategies, and challenges. Sessions build upon the experiences of panelists/facilitators and the sharing of perspectives from the audience to create a space where geographers can train each other, trade innovations and ideas, and negotiate practical and even political obstacles to public engagement in geography.
    This panel approaches public engagement in terms of process pragmatism and public pedagogy, and frame our session around both the nitty gritty of teach-ins as a mode of public engagement and thoughts on why this work is important in 21st century higher education. Jenna Loyd (University of Wisconsin) will share her experiences with co-organizing a series of community workshops on policing in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, called Transforming Justice. She will focus on creating shared knowledge and working with social movement organizers. Punam Khosla (York University) will speak to her experience doing workshops with women in low-income neighbourhoods in Toronto as well as a number of other public engagement/ outreach/ education workshops over the years in labour unions, anti criminalization gender based violence campaigns, and community radio. Ebru Ustundag (Brock University) will problematize what we understand as ‘public/community engagement’, inviting expanded institutional consideration of what community building and partnership might look like. Hilda Kurtz (University of Georgia) will consider public engagement in relation to public intellectualism as assemblage, and reflect on her work co-organizing a teach-in series on civic engagement called Solidarity Sundays.

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  • Policy brief by Geography and Tourism Studies professor explores youth employment in Niagara

    A joint research brief on youth employment in Niagara was launched by Brock University’s Niagara Community Observatory (NCO) and the Niagara Workforce Planning Board (NWPB) on March 20, 2018.

    The brief, “Youth in Niagara: Highly Skilled, Highly Mobile,” examines education and employment data from the 2016 census, as well as local job demand data, to build a snapshot of the work Niagara’s youth are doing.

    This policy brief was authored by Geography and Tourism Studies professor, Jeff Boggs and co-authors Adam Durrant and Thalia Semplonius.

    Read more in the articles below, or download the policy brief.

    Comprehensive youth employment strategy planned for Niagara (Niagara This Week)

    Youth report
    Photo from Niagara This Week.

    Youth employment research brief to launch Tuesday (The Brock News)


    Photo from The Brock News.

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