The BCcampus Research Fellows Program: Supporting Research for Student Success

By Leva Lee and Gwen Nguyen, advisors, Learning + Teaching

BCcampus is pleased to be celebrating the fifth anniversary of our Research Fellows Program. Over the years, we’ve proudly supported 25 Fellows in their pursuit of small-scale research aimed at exploring and improving student learning in the B.C. post-secondary sector. As we reflect on this milestone, we are also excited to announce the launch of our next cohort, the 2024–2025 Research Fellows.

Our next group of Fellows, who started their fellowships in January 2024, will explore a wide range of topics, including equity, inclusion, and diversity; Indigenous pedagogy; sustainability; and artificial intelligence. The cohort includes:

For the first time in the program’s history, we engaged scholars from our sector to advise us in selecting the next cohort of Fellows. The thoughtful expertise of Tanya Manning-Lewis, Heather Saranczak, and Afsaneh Sharif added invaluable depth and perspective to our selection process. We would like to thank them for their contribution to our program and are delighted to shine a light on them and their research work:

Tanya Manning-Lewis, PhD, an assistant teaching professor at Thompson Rivers University, is renowned for her 20+ years in education, notably as a secondary school teacher, community-engaged researcher, and advocate for vulnerable populations. Her work is distinguished by a commitment to social justice, inclusivity, and decolonizing educational practices. Tanya was a key speaker in the BCcampus Research Speaker Series in Fall 2022, where she shared her insights on diversity, inclusion, and the experiences of racialized individuals in education research. Her international experience and research, particularly in decolonizing teaching pedagogies and fostering inclusive curricula, have significantly contributed to the development of anti-racism initiatives and inclusive educational practices in British Columbia.

Heather Saranczak (Simpson), MA, a senior advisor in the Office of Indigenization at Justice Institute of British Columbia and a member of the 2021–2022 BCcampus Research Fellows (BCCRF) cohort, has made significant contributions in her field. Her BCCRF project, “Thrivival: The Fire Within—Forming Strong Cultural Identities in an Intersecting Space of Indigeneity and Autism,” offers profound insights into the complexities of identity formation. This groundbreaking work was published in AlterNative: An International Journal of Indigenous Peoples in September 2021 and in November 2023.

Afsaneh Sharif, PhD, is a leading instructional designer and e-learning specialist at the University of British Columbia, recognized among the top Canadian researchers in online, blended, and distance education. Her role in implementing research into practical educational applications has been influential, particularly in areas of quality enhancement, accessibility, and universal design for learning. A prominent figure in the Canadian Network for Innovation in Education, Afsaneh has also contributed significantly to BCcampus, participating in the spring 2023 research speaker series as well as in other professional development offerings. Characterized by a commitment to open education, inclusion, and diversity, her work exemplifies the high calibre of scholarship supported by the Research Fellows Program.

As we eagerly anticipate the diverse explorations of our 2024–2025 Research Fellows, we extend our appreciation to everyone who has contributed to the program’s success. The collective efforts and passion for advancing education showcased over the course of these five years inspire confidence in the continued growth and positive influence of the BCcampus Research Fellows Program.