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Advancing knowledge

Memorial sociologist, political scientist elected to Royal Society of Canada

By Jeff Green

Two award-winning researchers from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences are receiving one of this country’s highest academic honours for emerging scholars.

Dr. Rose Ricciardelli, professor, Department of Sociology and co-ordinator for criminology, and co-coordinator for police studies, and Dr. Alex Marland, professor, Department of Political Science, are among the latest inductees to the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists of the Royal Society of Canada.

They join a cohort of this country’s top mid-career researchers, announced on Sept. 10.

“Election to the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists is among the highest honours for academic excellence in this country,” said Dr. Neil Bose, vice-president (research).

“Drs. Ricciardelli and Marland are talented and respected social scientists whose impressive track records enhance Memorial’s reputation for leading-edge research. We are fortunate to have them among our university community and I offer both sincere congratulations on their individual achievements.”

‘Shocked and rather surprised’

Dr. Ricciardelli’s research is centered on interpretations of gender and experiences of vulnerabilities within criminal justice systems. Her expertise includes prison culture and the coping strategies, risk perception, mental health and lived experiences of prisoners, correctional workers and police officers.

Dr. Rose Ricciardelli
Dr. Rose Ricciardelli
Photo: Rich Blenkinsopp

“I was shocked and rather surprised,” Dr. Ricciardelli told the Gazette.

“It’s such an honour to be elected and to be recognized alongside some of the most inspiring scholars in the country.”

Dr. Ricciardelli’s groundbreaking work informed the creation of presumptive mental health legislation in Newfoundland and Labrador and is recognized by Correctional Services Canada. She’s also an associate scientific director with the Canadian Institute for Public Safety Research and Treatment.

“Much of the work I do is underpinned by advocacy and giving voices to persons whose voices are too often silenced.” — Dr. Rose Ricciardelli

The institute is a coast-to-coast-to-coast team of researchers dedicated to working with public safety personnel, leaders, government and key stakeholders to recognize, prevent and treat the mental health concerns facing public safety personnel and their families.

Dr. Ricciardelli has developed a comprehensive research program on correctional living and work in Canada, supported by funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and Correctional Services Canada.

“Much of the work I do is underpinned by advocacy and giving voices to persons whose voices are too often silenced,” said Dr. Ricciardelli, who leads a longitudinal study following correctional officers from recruitment through training to 10 years post-deployment.

“I’m a qualitative researcher and all of my work is rooted in the experiences shared by hundreds and hundreds of people, each of whom I will always be deeply indebted. Being recognized for this sort of work is also recognizing the voices of all those who have shared their stories and thus made my work possible, but also make change possible. I feel this award is much larger than me, and I couldn’t be more proud.”

‘Humbled’ by honour

Dr. Marland is recognized as a leading scholar whose work focuses on how Canadian politicians and governments manage communication. He leads diverse groups of academics in public policy projects that connect with journalists, politicians and the public sector. His innovative research revealing the inner workings of politics in this country has won several awards.

Dr. Alex Marland
Dr. Alex Marland
Photo: Rich Blenkinsopp

Dr. Marland, who holds an MA degree from Memorial, says he was “humbled” when he found about the honour.

“Then a remarkable coincidence struck,” he told the Gazette during a recent conversation.

“I found out in June, while at the Congress of Humanities and Social Sciences conference at the University of British Columbia. I received the news while at a book launch in a nondescript campus restaurant. I happened to look up, and in the distance I spotted Dr. Sean McGrath of Memorial’s Department of Philosophy standing in a lineup. He was the RSC nominator. I had no idea he was in Vancouver. The timing was amazing. I jumped out of my seat to tell him the news. He saw first-hand my burst of excitement and gratitude.”

Dr. Marland’s book, Brand Command: Canadian Politics and Democracy in the Age of Message Control, won the Donner Prize for best public policy book by a Canadian and an Atlantic book award for scholarly writing.

“Interacting with people a lot smarter than me will be a great opportunity.” — Dr. Alex Marland

He’s currently the lead investigator of a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Insight Grant project., Crossing the Floor and Crossing Lines: Parliamentarian Party Switching and Media Coverage in Canada. He also has a book manuscript about party discipline out for review that is based on 131 in-depth interviews with politicians and political staff across Canada.

Dr. Marland says it’s “empowering” to be elected to the prestigious College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists.

“Interacting with people a lot smarter than me will be a great opportunity,” he said.

The recognition is important, he adds, because “it signifies that strong research is occurring at Memorial University and in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, and in particular the Department of Political Science.”

Drs. Ricciardelli and Marland join five other Memorial researchers who have been elected Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists. Both will be honoured by the RSC during a celebration in Ottawa in November.


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