The Institute for Child and Youth Studies is proud and honoured to welcome three new members to the core directorate.
New member biographies:
Dr. Afra Foroud
Afra Foroud is interested in how the developmental processes involved in the organization, expression, and function of movement in infants and young children shape learning, communication and language throughout the lifespan. Her research focuses on the analysis of movement structure, sequence, and quality during motor and language development in naturalistic settings. Outcomes of her work have characterized motor development in very young infants and demonstrated how early infantile movement patterns become expressed again in the elderly who have lost mobility due to stroke. During her tenure as a Killam Postdoctoral Fellow at Dalhousie University, Afra began an examination of gestural and body actions within the contexts of language and spatial awareness in young and older adults. She continued this line of investigation with a CIHR Fellowship at UBC in young infants. Upon her return to Alberta, Afra joined the nationwide SSHRC funded Art for Social Change project to study the effects of dance on motor learning and social communication in people with Parkinson’s disease at the University of Calgary.
Afra is a neuroscientist who draws on her background as a dancer and dance educator to integrate art and science in the study of human development. She is an adjunct assistant professor in the Departments of Neuroscience and Psychology at the University of Lethbridge where she continues her research and also enjoys teaching both inclusive and targeted dance classes for people with developmental disorders in the community of Lethbridge.
Dr. Janice Victor
Janice has her PhD in Cultural Psychology from the University of Saskatchewan. Broadly, her interests are on the interstices between cultural processes and subjective experience, particularly regarding how our wellbeing is influenced by our social and physical environments. Her research is interdisciplinary, often including research from anthropology (psychological & medical), psychology, Indigenous studies, sociology, and gender studies.
Her past research includes: a person-centred ethnography and narrative analysis on men's experiences of participating in sex offender treatment programming and their subsequent community integration, and an investigation into how the arts - specifically drama, photography, and filmmaking - facilitated identity development, leadership, and self-confidence for Nehiyaw (Woodland Cree) high school students. She is currently working on a program evaluation for ARCHES' I'taamohkaanoohsin (Everyone comes together) program and she is starting a new program of research titled, "Ai'aoskiikowaata (showing direction to youth): Bringing Blackfoot cultural knowledge into child welfare practices."
Dr. Robert LeBlanc
Dr. Robert Jean LeBlanc is Assistant Professor of ELA/Literacy in the Faculty of Education at the University of Lethbridge. A former high school English teacher, he holds a B.Ed. in Secondary Education from the University of Saskatchewan and an MA in Education and Society from McGill University. In 2016, he earned his PhD in Reading/Writing/Literacy from the University of Pennsylvania and his work with Catholic immigrant youth in Philadelphia went on to receive the Outstanding Dissertation award from the AERA Catholic Education SIG.
As an ethnographer of literacy in classrooms and communities, his research addresses the everyday language and literacies of marginalized youth—their robust cultural and linguistic practices, often unrecognized by policy—and how these interact with the official literacy policies and practices of schools and English classrooms. Through close analysis of talk and text, Robert’s work examines the strategic means by which youth mobilize a range of linguistic, community, and institutional resources to navigate challenging school contexts, notably by drawing on their community resources and literacy practices. His work has appeared in journals such as Linguistics & Education, Research in the Teaching of English, Written Communication, Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, Journal of Catholic Education, Language Arts, International Journal of Critical Pedagogy, and English Journal.
We thank Dr. Sergio Pellis, Dr. Louise Barrett, and Dr. Erin Spring for their work as part of the directorate and wish them the best in their future endeavours.