Supporting MA Students as Researchers

September 6, 2016

The following was sent to faculty members via email by Dr. Perry Klein on Friday, Sept. 2, 2016.

This week, we are welcoming a new cohort of students to the Research Intensive MA program. Recently, Pam Bishop and I have been discussing ways of increasing research and leadership opportunities for students in the Research-Intensive Master’s program. This would provide them with valuable learning, and increase the success of Western students in competing for external awards.

In the message that I gave to students at orientation, I encouraged them to think of themselves as researchers from the time that they enter the program. Particularly for students who are planning to proceed to the doctorate and academic or research careers, it will be important to become involved in publishing during the MA years. This will allow them to compete for scholarships, gain admission to doctoral programs, and launch academic or professional careers.

We are asking your help in supporting the growth of research and leadership opportunities for MA students. Here are some practices that are already normal in doctoral education, and many supervisors already also follow these practices with MA students.

What students can do:

  • Talk with your supervisor early in the year about your initial research ideas. This will help you to prepare for the OGS application.
  • Let your supervisor know if you are interested in research assistantships or volunteer opportunities in her or his research projects.
  • If you are interested in being a co-author on publications in your RA ship, talk with your supervisor about this early in the year.
  • Consider writing a review of a recently published book.
  • Watch for announcements about the upcoming Graduate Research and Professional Careers Series,  including the session on Strategies for Planning Publishable Masters Research (Feb 1).

What faculty members can do:    

  • To help students prepare for the OGS application, talk with them about their research ideas early in the year. Once they have a near final draft of the proposal, if you wish, send it to Justin or Perry in the Research Office for feedback.
  • Consider hiring an MA student as a Research Assistant.
  • Consider including Research Assistants or volunteers as co-authors on conference presentations and publications.
  • If a student is interested in becoming involved in your research, and you do not have funds to pay them, consider taking them on as a volunteer research intern for a limited number of hours, and recognizing their contribution by adding them as a co-author on conference presentations and publications.
  • When writing grant applications, consider budgeting to hire MA students as research assistants. Also, consider budgeting so that research assistants can travel to conferences as co-presenters.  This will help students, and demonstrate that you are providing training.
  • Publicize MA student successes, such as conference presentations, journal publications, and awards; these can be forwarded to Cory Habermehl for eCast.
  • As an ARC, consider providing funding to MA students in the form of 0.5 Research Assistantship.  This would be an ARC decision that would be implemented in the following year.
  • Support adding MA and PhD student representatives to the Research Committee, providing them with learning experiences in academic governance and leadership.

Thanks  to the Research Committee and the Program Chairs for their feedback on these ideas.

Ministry of Research and Innovation Early Researcher Awards (ERA)

June 3, 2016

The Early Researcher Awards is a provincial programme that provides up to $100,000 in funding over five years, primarily for students. It is available to faculty members who have received a PhD no earlier than July 1, 2006 and a first academic appointment no earlier than July 1, 2011. Health-related, parental and other leaves extend the window in some cases.

This is a programme that must be matched with a 50% contribution from the host institution. It is therefore essential that applicants contact Justin Patton (, 519-661-2111 ext. 88561) in the Research Office before submitting an NOI, to discuss the possibility of a match.

Here is the link to the ERA programme:


-June 13 from 3 to 4pm: Early Researcher Award presentation with tips at Somerville House, room 2316

-June 14th: A Notice of intent (NOI) is due to Western Research Services and to Justin Patton (, 519-661-2111 ext. 88561)

-July 15th: Internal Education deadline for full applications – a review of your application will be provided along with details of the match

SSHRC Storytellers contest

November 25, 2015

SHHRC has recently launched its fourth annual Storytellers contest, challenging postsecondary students to show Canadians how social sciences and humanities research affects our lives, our world and our future prosperity.

The contest is open to all students, graduate and undergraduate, enrolled at Canadian postsecondary institutions. Their task is to tell the story, in 3 minutes or 300 words, of a SSHRC-funded research project—their own or a professor’s—taking place at their institution. We will select 25 finalists to receive a $3000 cash prize and specialized training in research communications. For details on this year’s Storytellers contest, please follow us on Twitter, watch the #SSHRCStorytellers hashtag, and visit the SSHRC website.

We encourage you to spread the word to faculty who may wish to encourage a student to profile their SSHRC-funded research. Don’t hesitate to be in touch should you have any questions. Please note that participant questions should be addressed to