A New Centre and Award-Winning Research
Under the Directorship of Dr. Timothy Haney, a new Centre for Community-Based Disaster Research (CCDR) will be established in the Faculty of Arts. The first of its kind in Canada, the CCDR will be a trans-disciplinary hub for research, education, and outreach related to natural, social, technological and economic disasters. The Centre is mandated with promoting rigorous academic research that is led by community need and involves university researchers, students, community groups, government stakeholders, and end-users of research as meaningful partners.
Following the catastrophic Southern Alberta flood of 2013, the CCDR grew out of widespread recognition that communities across Alberta, Canada, and the world will increasingly need to plan and prepare for extreme events. The Centre will strive to generate academic research, sustained discussions, programming, and policy recommendations that will help to mitigate disaster risk, lessen vulnerability, and contribute to community resilience.
The Centre is primarily funded by SSHRC’s Aid to Small Universities Fund and the Calgary Foundation’s New Initiatives Program.
Two major new SSHRC-funded projects, together worth over $250,000, underline the importance of the new Centre.
Dr. Haney received $103,000 under the SSHRC Insight Grant program for a project entitled “Evacuation Decisions, Displacement, and Network Activation during the 2013 Calgary Flood.” It will help us better understand residents’ reactions to the flood warning, decisions whether or not to evacuate (and where to go), experiences while evacuated, and eventual decisions to return home. The findings will help public officials better understand the needs of our community before, during, and after a disaster.
In addition to this, principal investigator Dr. Caroline McDonald-Harker, who was just appointed to a tenure-track position in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, along with Dr. Haney, received a $165,000 SSHRC Partnership Development Grant and nearly $20,000 from MRU’s Institute for Environmental Sustainability, for the project “The Effects and Implications of Environmental Disasters on the Family: Communicating, Coping, and Caring Among Families Impacted by the 2013 High River Alberta Floods” The project seeks to learn about family members' struggles, difficulties, coping strategies, and needs post-flood. The research will examine communication, coping, and caring in family life post-disaster in order to determine: 1) how family life is altered by the disaster context; 2) how experiencing a disaster influences family interactions, relationships, and functioning; 3) how immigrant families in specific are impacted by disasters; 4) how disasters impact the family-school life, dynamic, and relationship; and 5) what the primary needs of the family are, and how the family can best be supported and assisted post-disaster.
Dr. Caroline McDonald-Harker
Dr. Timothy Haney