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Introducing the First Cohort of the PhD in Interdisciplinary Research on Contemporary Social Issues

In 2020, Saint Paul University welcomed 10 students into its new doctorate in Interdisciplinary Research on Contemporary Social Issues.

The new doctoral program is a unique opportunity for students to take an interdisciplinary approach to researching, understanding and tackling contemporary social issues.

The first cohort includes candidates from various professional and academic backgrounds. Below, they share their research objectives in their own words.

Kehinde Akintola
My doctoral research seeks to critically examine how the Canadian legal framework and its corresponding international legal instruments can enhance equitable social justice in Canada while bearing in mind the challenging contemporary social issues that exist. Ultimately, my PhD thesis intends to provide an empirical foundation for future research on legal jurisprudence as a viable tool for social justice in Canada.


Gabriel Bergeron
The ranking of human rights creates roadblocks for organizations that are trying to resolve conflicts involving their employees. It is a complex issue that is greatly influenced by internal and external factors such as the emotional aspect of those involved in the conflict, the context in which the conflict evolves and, in many cases, the concept of “white fragility” as described by Robin DiAngelo. (This concept of fragility may not be unique to white people; it can occur with anyone who is in a position of power.) In addition, intersectionality makes it more difficult to find concrete solutions that can be useful in the workplace. My research, as part of my work in a union-employer, will attempt to provide these concrete solutions that can be implemented to help the organization to modernize.


Gethro Borgelyn
My previous research studied the profile of women victims of violence, their aggressors and the characteristics of the violence they suffer; the research continues in this same gender and health thematic. My current research explores the creation of a new system of accompaniment and care for victims of gender-based violence in the existing migratory context. This system as a whole is triptych, in that it is designed to be i) interdisciplinary, ii) person-centred and iii) holistic.


Jennifer Bruce
My research is situated within the theories of organizational development, social change and disability justice. My research will focus on disability and inclusion organizations and how the organizational context (practices, processes and relationships) shapes the ability and potential to achieve their desired social transformation.


Marquis Bureau
In a union environment, which methods and strategies link the transformation of the individual to collective transformation? The expected outcomes of this research are to develop a transformative organizational union culture and to identify the specific components of leadership practices by managers in a union environment.


Sylvie Cardinal
Work occupies a central place in our lives. And yet our relationship with it is often contentious and for many people, work is no longer meaningful. How can we restore meaning to work, and what meaning do we want to give it? Although up to now we have emphasized the importance of boundaries between people’s various activities in the world, could this loss of meaning be inviting us today to see the individual as a whole and not split between these different roles and their personal and working lives?


Marisa Casagrande

I plan to research the role of authenticity and the faith community in an asocial and lonely world in order to contribute to discussions on authenticity, church renewal and the moral common good. My research sits at the crossroads of political theory, theology and transformational leadership.

Ernesto Cordero

A company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) goal is to establish its human, social, environmental and economic linkages. The primary purpose of CSR is to contribute in a meaningful way to the needs of society. Its shared value in a new reality and collaboration, even with its most prominent competitors, is increasingly prevalent. Likewise, it becomes systemic and significant in all industries and sectors. My dissertation features three closely linked essays in interdisciplinary on contemporary social issues associated with the aspect of CSR practices of the country’s extractive sector, and their influences and implications to the economic, social, and environmental well-being of the concerned sectors.


Andrei Davedianov

My research is devoted to scientific analysis of reasons, methods and results of social action of the Russian Wesleyan Church, planted by the North American Wesleyan leaders in 1992–2012. The subject of my work is a critical evaluation of the practical approach of the Wesleyan Church’s social activity in different locations in contemporary Russia, influenced by traditional and innovative methods of the North American Wesleyan Church.


Christopher Tan
The focal point of my research is the extent of access to the judicial system for ethnic minority groups through community dispute resolution. Using an interdisciplinary approach, I am interested in seeing which factors drive the success of community mediation and, at the same time, which factors hinder its progress. The research intends to use the City of Ottawa – a community that has been experiencing significant changes in its social makeup over the past few decades – as a case study.