Key Research Areas at Trent Durham
In the lab, throughout the community, and around the globe, Trent faculty, students, and alumni are conducting research that makes a difference. Trent’s growing community of researchers at its Durham GTA campus are spearheading research in several strategic disciplines.
Trent researchers in a range of disciplines are bringing about real transformation, addressing social challenges in the Durham Region, with many working closely with the Regional Municipality of Durham and City of Oshawa.
In our social work program, Marina Morgenshtern and Dalon Taylor are working on projects that support the integration of newcomers, including racialized immigrants, in the Durham Region.
Together with Alba Agostino, students in our Child and Youth Studies program are elevating the voices of young community members through the TeachingCity Hub.
Under the direction of psychology professor, Nancie Im-Bolter, fourth-year Trent Durham psychology students are working with Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences to support older adults who are experiencing chronic conditions associated with aging, including dementia.
In Trent’s School of Business, Ken Chen is leading other aging community work, providing insight into the pathways available to senior entrepreneurs in the Durham Region, while fellow professor Yi Liu is testing the effectiveness of pandemic-induced restrictions on financial institutions.
These world-class researchers are positioning Trent as a leader in collaborative community-based research, and we are continuing to strengthen partnerships between post-secondary institutions, businesses, and organizations in the region.
Trent Durham GTA’s research strength in the field of child and youth development and education reflects the University’s distinctive interdisciplinary and collaborative approach to research.
Dr. Nancie Im-Bolter and Brenda Smith-Chant are both leading researchers in Trent’s Psychology department. In the Trent Durham Language and Cognition Lab, Professor Im-Bolter is taking a closer look at the interplay between language and cognition and their relation with other domains of functioning in both normal and atypical development. This is a broad research area that includes numeracy and math, figurative and pragmatic language, executive function, social cognition, and psychopathology. Professor Smith-Chant is interested in cognitive development, with research focusing on how children acquire basic math and literacy skills, particularly how their cognition and behavioural development are influenced by preschool learning environment, social programs, and community-based initiatives.
Our Child and Youth Studies department boasts several sector-leading researchers. Christine Goodwin-De Faria is conducting research to better understand the experiences of youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities in interactions with the justice system. In 2021, Prof. Goodwin De Faria was awarded with an Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance Teaching Award, which recognizes educators who excel at unlocking the potential of Ontario’s young people and successfully engaging individuals in the learning experience so as to spark the desire to learn in students. Dr. Alba Agostino is focusing on the development of children’s early number sense and identifying early cognitive precursors of low math achievers to aid the development of early intervention programs. She is also working closely with the City of Oshawa through the TeachingCity Hub.
The Durham GTA campus boasts world-renowned experts in the arts as research within the liberal arts is embedded in the fabric of Trent University.
Dr. Scott Henderson, dean and head of Trent University Durham GTA, is Trent’s leading expert in film and popular culture. Professor Henderson’s research explores music and locality, youth culture, popular culture and identity, British cinema and popular culture, and Canadian popular culture. He also often examines how marginalized voices can find agency through pop culture texts.
Celebrated historian, bestselling author, and screenwriter, Dr. Robert Wright, focuses his research on North American cultural, political, and diplomatic history. He is one of Canada’s foremost authors on recent Canadian history, developing a greater understanding of the diverse meaning of the Canadian experience.
Dr. Stephen Brown is a professor of English Literature and a well-known expert on Shakespeare. His long list of achievements features leadership roles including 3M National Teaching Fellow, Honorary Fellow of the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, and Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, as well as visiting professor at the Centre for the History of the Book and the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Edinburgh. He has published widely in the field of print culture and literacy, receiving a Besterman McColvin Award and a Michael Von Poser Society Edinburgh.
The research of accomplished author and professor in the Cultural Studies department, Dr. Ihor Junyk, explores the complex relationship between cultural artifacts and the contexts of their production and reception. Professor Junyk is particularly interested in Victorian popular fiction, the modernist novel, magical realism and the postmodern fantastic, media history, early cinema, and the graphic novel, with his work appearing in publications such as Comparative Literature, Modern Fiction Studies, Grey Room, and Early Popular Visual Culture.
For over half a century, Trent has had one of the foremost Anthropology Departments in Canada, with Dr. Helen Haines leading the charge on our Durham GTA campus. Through excavation of the ancient Maya site of Ka’kabish, Belize, Professor Haines’ research focuses on understanding the development of early state societies. Her work has received support from the National Geographic Society’s Committee for Research and Exploration and the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Dr. Haines is also the principal investigator and co-director of the Henry House Historical Archaeology Project on Trent’s Durham Campus, where researchers are learning more about the local history.