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SSHRC Insight Development Grant awarded to Crandall Education professor

September 22, 2021

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SSHRC Insight Development Grant awarded to Crandall Education professor

Moncton – Congratulations to Dr. Cathlene Hillier, who has been awarded an Insight Development Grant by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).

Each year, the SSHRC provides funding to researchers at institutions across Canada. Insight Development Grants (IDG) are awarded to individual scholars or teams of researchers with the purpose of supporting research in its initial stages.

For 2021, Crandall Faculty of Education member Dr. Cathlene Hillier is among the recipients, having been awarded $67,817 for two years for her project titled: “Emerging Digital Technologies and Digital Capital: Examining Technology Use amongst Children, Families, and Schools in New Brunswick and Ontario.” For this project, Dr. Hillier is partnering with Dr. Jessica Rizk of the University of Waterloo and collaborating with Dr. Janice Aurini (U of Waterloo) and Dr. Wendy Bokhorst-Heng (Crandall Research Fellow) to explore the use of digital technology as a learning tool among Canadian children. Dr. Hillier and her colleagues will conduct a comparative case study in urban and rural settings of New Brunswick and Ontario to explore children’s use of technology as a learning tool in home and school contexts.

When asked how she hoped her research would benefit others, Dr. Hillier shared, “one concern that has been discussed in the sociology of education is that the rise of the importance of technology use in education and employment will exacerbate already existing academic achievement and attainment gaps among students.” Continuing on, she explained that these “digital divides” can occur because of access (or lack of access) to technology, or differences in how technology is used as a tool for learning.

With this divide in mind, Dr. Hillier summarized the purpose of her research as a quest for empirical evidence to questions around digital divides stating, “we hope this project will enlighten our understandings of how technology is used by children and parents… and provide new insights into how to better leverage this tool to support learning and the strength of connections between families and schools.”

Dr. Jon Ohlhauser, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, said, “Research is an important consideration and expectation for our faculty at Crandall University. I appreciate that funding is such an important part of accomplishing many research agendas and I am excited that Dr. Hillier has received this grant from the SSHRC. I am looking forward to the valuable insights that will be gained through this funded research.”

Upon hearing the news of the grant, Dr. Roger Russell, Dean of Professional Programs (Education & Organizational Management) said, “We in the Faculty of Education are thrilled to extend our congratulations to our colleague Dr. Hillier on her receipt of a SSHRC Insight Development Grant! Cathlene’s success in this highly regarded competition speaks to the excellence and capacity of our scholars in the Faculty of Education.”


Crandall University is Atlantic Canada’s leading Liberal Arts University rooted in the Christian Faith, with undergraduate programs in Arts, Science, Business Administration, and Education, and graduate programs in Education and Management. To learn more, visit crandallu.ca or call 1‑888-968-6228.

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