Cathlene Hillier, PhD

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Cathlene Hillier, PhD Associate Professor of Education

Ph: 506-858-8970 Ext. 193
Email: cathlene.hillier@crandallu.ca

Dr. Cathlene Hillier is an Assistant Professor of Education at Crandall University. She received a BTh (Hons) from Master’s College and Seminary, a BA from the University of Waterloo, a BEd from the University of Windsor, a MEd from the University of Toronto, a MA from Wilfrid Laurier University and a PhD from the University of Waterloo. Dr. Hillier joined the faculty in 2020.

Cathlene’s research is focused on education, at-risk youth, inequality, technology in schools and homes, sociology of family and childhood, quantitative and qualitative methods, visual research, curriculum, and teaching and assessment. Her past projects, publications, and presentations relate to examining parent engagement in children’s schooling, inequalities in schooling relating to socioeconomic status and rural versus northern communities, and the role of digital media in home and schools.

Cathlene is currently the primary investigator on a project examining children’s use of digital technology as a learning tool and the role that parents and schools play in the process. This project is funded by a SSHRC Insight Development Grant. She is also currently co-investigator on a project funded by a SSHRC Partnership Engage Grant where she’s partnered with Beaverbrook school to provide math and science kits with the goal of allowing BEd students to practice and model hands-on math and science teaching. Prior to Crandall, Cathlene taught at Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Waterloo.


BTh (Hons), Master’s College and Seminary
BA, University of Waterloo
BEd, University of Windsor
MEd, University of Toronto
MA, Wilfrid Laurier University
PhD, University of Waterloo

Courses Taught

  • Theory and Practice: Elementary
  • Social Studies Education
  • Research Methods in Education

Honours & Scholarships

Postdoctoral Fellowship, Nipissing University, Department of Sociology & Anthropology (Statistics Canada, Research Data Centre) (2018–2020)

Outstanding PhD Student Award, Canadian Sociological Association (elected by the Department of Sociology & Legal Studies, University of Waterloo) (2018–2019)

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Doctoral Award (2014–2017)

Select Publications

Hillier, C. (forthcoming). A seasonal comparison of the effectiveness of parent engagement on student literacy achievement. Canadian Journal of Education.

Hillier, C., Y. Sano, D. Zarifa, & M. Haan (2020). Will they stay or will they go? Examining the brain drain in Canada’s provincial north. Canadian Review of Sociology, 57(2), 174–196. doi.org/10.1111/cars.12276

Rizk, J., & C. Hillier (published online first 2020, coming in-print 2021). “Everything’s technology now”: The role of technology in home- and school-based summer learning activities. Journal of Children and Media. doi.org/10.1080/17482798.2020.1778498

Hillier, C., E. Milne, & J. Aurini (2019). “It’s not just helping your kid with homework anymore”: The challenges of aligning education policy with parents and teachers. Canadian Public Policy, 45(4), 497–510.

Hillier, C., & J. Aurini (2018). What role does the ‘parent-effect’ play in child-centered research? A photo-interview study of home reading practices. Qualitative Research, 18(4), 492–509.

Hillier, C., & J. Aurini (2018). The summer reading blues: Children’s accounts of summer literacy practices.  In P. Albanese, L. Tepperman, & E. Alexander (Eds.), Reading sociology: Canadian perspectives (3rd edition) (pp. 64–68). Don Mills, ON: Oxford University Press.

Hillier, C., & E. Milne. (2018). “You’re an alien to us”: Autoethnographic accounts of two researchers’ experiences in an organizational setting. In S. Kleinknecht, L. van den Scott, & C. B. Sanders (Eds.), The craft of qualitative research (pp. 98–105). Toronto, ON: Canadian Scholars.

Aurini, J., & C. Hillier (2018). Re-opening the black box of educational disadvantage: Why we need new answers to old questions. In J. Mehta & S. Davies (Eds.), Education in a new society: Renewing the sociology of education (pp. 309–333). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Aurini, J., E. Milne, & C. Hillier. (2016). The two sides of ‘vigilance’: Parent engagement and its relationship to school connections, responsibility and agency. In W. Lehmann (Ed.), Education and society: Canadian perspectives (pp. 90–102). Don Mills, ON: Oxford University Press.

Hillier, C. (2014). “But we’re already doing it”: Ontario teachers’ responses to policies on religious inclusion and accommodation in public schools. Alberta Journal of Educational Research, 60(1), 43–61.

Contact Cathlene Hillier

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