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New research chair has indigenous focus

February 10, 2016 10:40 A.M.
Courtney Mason is TRU's new Canada Research Chair in rural livelihoods and rural communities. (TRU)

TRU has a new Canada Research Chair (CRC) focused on rural livelihoods and rural communities.

The university’s faculty of adventure, culinary arts and tourism announced the appointment Wednesday of Courtney Mason as a tier II research chair with long-term federal funding. Tier II CRCs are identified as exceptional emerging researchers, acknowledged by their peers as having the potential to lead in their field.

Mason’s role at TRU is to act as an engine of research, working to connect the university with the communities it serves in purposeful and meaningful ways. His research examines the historical impacts of abrupt changes in land use for rural Indigenous Canadians, and assesses how those communities negotiate the related challenges. Results of his research will influence policy decisions concerning the development of Indigenous lands and resources, which will have national and global relevance, as well as significance at grassroots levels.

“A lot of the research I do with indigenous communities in rural Canada — whether they be health initiatives, tourism development or food security research — requires working collaboratively with community members and band councils,” Mason said. “This appointment gives me the time to further develop these relationships to ensure projects meet the needs of communities and the responsibilities of ethical researchers.”

While the designation of a CRC is a significant professional achievement, the opportunity to relocate to TRU was attractive for personal reasons, he said.

“Kamloops is a great community that suits my lifestyle in a lot of ways. I appreciate how well I’ve been received here, both in the community and on campus.”

“Canada Research Chair holders at TRU not only impact the academic community, they also impact the Kamloops and regional communities,” said Alan Shaver, TRU president and vice-chancellor. “It says a lot about TRU when it makes investments like this in community-based research that solves local challenges and helps people. Dr. Mason is well positioned to be a research leader who, by working collaboratively with his colleagues, will conduct world class research to achieve these goals.”

“The CRC program is central to the growth of TRU’s research capacity, and this announcement from the federal government recognizes our role as a research–informed university. We are very proud to welcome such an exceptional young scholar,” said Will Garrett-Petts, associate vice-president of research and graduate studies.


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