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Jan. 18, 2018
For Immediate Release

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Waterloo – Wilfrid Laurier University researchers are leveraging community and international partnerships to solve important problems, ranging from preserving Pakistan’s cultural heritage to understanding volunteer recruitment and retention for hospice care within the Waterloo Region.

Through federal funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Partnership Development Grants program and the inaugural Partnership Engage Grants program, Laurier researchers will conduct collaborative research projects that garner new knowledge and build on important community relationships.

“Engaging with the community is a unique strength of Laurier’s research ecosystem,” said Robert Gordon, vice-president: research. “This investment highlights the diversity of research happening at Laurier and the collaborative spirit of our university.”

One Laurier researcher is working with Hospice of Waterloo Region on the “Everyone Dies” project.

Cheryl-Anne Cait, an associate professor in Laurier’s Faculty of Social Work, and her research team are exploring changing volunteer demographics and the challenges of volunteer recruitment and retention in the context of hospice care in the Waterloo Region, specifically for ethno-cultural and rural communities.

Hospice care volunteers in Waterloo assist people in their homes who are at the end of their lives by providing services ranging from driving patients to medical appointments to sitting vigil.

Current research has not yet addressed the unique cultural needs and expectations of immigrant populations, nor has it analyzed the logistical challenges of volunteering in rural communities, which have larger distances between them.

“Hospice volunteers face a lot of challenges from compassion fatigue to stress to time commitment,” said Cait. “This research will address the changing needs of volunteers to help create policy around larger recruitment practices not only in hospice care but for larger volunteer-dependent organizations as well.”

Other funded Laurier research projects include:

  • Laurier Political Science Associate Professors Patricia Goff and Jörg Broschek, Canada Research Chair in Comparative Federalism and Multilevel Governance, are collaborating with political science experts and organizations to understand how sub-federal bodies of government variously participate in trade politics.
  • Alex Latta, associate professor in Laurier’s Department of Global Studies, will collaborate with the Dehcho First Nations to develop best practices for community-level strategic planning for land and water stewardship rooted in Indigenous language, culture and livelihoods.
  • Working alongside experts from the Royal Ontario Museum and with international collaborators, Laurier Religion and Culture Associate Professor Jason Neelis will preserve important cultural rock art and inscriptions on Pakistan’s Upper Indus River.
  • The City of Kitchener’s THEMUSEUM and Laurier Game Design and Development Professor Scott Nicholson will assess and improve THEMUSEUM’s current makerspace, creating an accessible and engaging game-based training space for youth.
  • James Popham, assistant professor in Laurier’s Department of Criminology, will partner with the Brantford Community Foundation in their Vital Signs report to strengthen research outcomes and knowledge dissemination.
  • Laurier Criminology Associate Professor Carrie Sanders will partner with policing scholars in Canada, Australia and New Zealand to examine current intelligence practices, focusing on recent technological challenges such as encryption, interception and digital information storage.
  • Laurier Faculty of Education Professor Colleen Willard-Holt and Associate Professor Julie Mueller will partner with Kitchener 3D-printing firm InkSmith to create a pilot program focused on teaching technology-enhanced design thinking skills in K-8 students.

Find more information about SSHRC’s programs. This research is supported through the Tri-Council Research Support Fund.

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Robert Gordon, Vice-President
Wilfrid Laurier University

T: 519.884.0710 x3601


Kevin Crowley, Director
Communications & Public Affairs
Wilfrid Laurier University

T: 519.884.0710 x3070



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