Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council grant supports EDI research

June 29, 2022 – Orillia, Ont.

Lakehead University professor Dr. Sandra Jeppesen is receiving $448,376 from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada under their new Race, Gender, and Diversity Initiative launched this year.

Dr. Jeppesen, professor in the Media, Film, and Communications program at Lakehead’s Orillia Campus, will be leading an international team of community-engaged scholars and community organizations to foster knowledge and build capacity around equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) practices.

“Institutional policies surrounding EDI have become commonplace, but have proven quite inadequate in improving inequality,” Dr. Jeppesen said. “We aim to develop more effective practices throughout organizations.”

Over three years, the research team that includes the Gilbert Centre in Barrie, Pixelles and We Are The Medium in Montreal, the Rungh Cultural Society in Vancouver, and the University of Virginia Equity Centre in Charlottesville, will investigate critical EDI work being done at the community level using an innovative assets-based approach.

“The partner community organizations have been doing equity, diversity and inclusion long before it became a catchphrase,” explained Dr. Jeppesen. “We have much to learn from them and we hope they will benefit through co-research to document their work, learn from one another, and see their practices utilized throughout many sectors of society for in-depth social and cultural transformation.”

Utilizing interviews, focus groups, meetings, and archival research the team will share, analyze, expand and systematize understandings of the work community organizations do around EDI. Results from that work will drive the development of toolkits and workshops that will be mobilized to support organizations across Canada through a proof-of-concept trial run.

"Our objective is to understand the deep EDI capacity and experience of small community organizations working across issues of race, gender, and LGBTQ+ as well as rurality, immigration, and age,” Dr. Jeppesen said. “And then make this experience available to larger organizations to support, improve, and amplify their on-going EDI efforts, which will have profound impacts across Canada and globally.

Dr. Andrew P. Dean, Lakehead University’s Vice-President, Research and Innovation, congratulated the research team and thanked SSHRC for their continued support of Lakehead’s important research.

“At Lakehead we value and put particular emphasis on partnerships and research collaborations with community-based organizations,” Dr. Dean said. “Recognizing the importance of EDI in today’s workplace, we know that the research results obtained through this grant will have tangible outcomes for our communities, both locally and nationally.”

In 2021/22, Lakehead University received nearly $2 million in assistance from the Research Support Fund to support the indirect costs of research, which includes costs for supporting the management of intellectual property, research and administration, ethics and regulatory compliance, research resources, and research facilities.

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Lakehead University is a fully comprehensive university with approximately 9,700 full-time equivalent students and over 2,000 faculty and staff at two campuses in Orillia and Thunder Bay, Ontario. Lakehead has nine faculties, including Business Administration, Education, Engineering, Graduate Studies, Health & Behavioural Sciences, Law, Natural Resources Management, Science & Environmental Studies, and Social Sciences & Humanities. Lakehead University’s achievements have been recognized nationally and internationally, including being ranked, once again, among Canada’s Top 10 primarily undergraduate universities in Maclean’s 2021 University Rankings; as well as included in the top half of Times Higher Education's 2022 World Universities Rankings for the third consecutive year, and the number one university in the world with fewer than 10,000 students in THE’s 2022 Impact Rankings (which assesses institutions against the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals). Visit

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