SEPN Graduate Students

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Sustainability Education Research Institute

College of Education/School of Environment and Sustainability

DESCRIPTION: The University of Saskatchewan is offering several Master’s and PhD fellowships for students to conduct their thesis research with the Sustainability and Education Policy Network (SEPN).  SEPN is a national study on sustainability in educational policy and practice in early childhood to grade 12 education (EC-12) and post-secondary education (PSE) in Canada.   This is an exceptional opportunity to gain experience working with an active and vibrant group of graduate students, researchers, and community-based organizations at a national and international scale.

PROJECT:  SEPN is a large-scale research project on sustainability education policy and practice in Canada (EC-12 and PSE).  SEPN is led by Dr. Marcia McKenzie and housed in the Sustainability Education Research Institute (SERI) at the University of Saskatchewan, a research centre with the overarching goal of furthering research and action on land, place, environment, and sustainability in relation to educational research, policy, and practice. 

Potential thesis topics include (1) in-depth site analyses at the PSE level to examine existing place and community practices as they inform understandings of the impact and gaps of sustainability policy in education in relation to multiple sectors; (2) analysis of national survey data to examine the relationships between sustainability practices and communities and sustainability policy in EC-12 or PSE in Canada; or (3) an examination of the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) policies, community and/or First Nations schools’ policies, and/or Aboriginal PSE institutional policies in relation to sustainability education, potentially including a historical examination of Indigenous philosophical principles of environmental stewardship and interconnectedness in relation to education.  One or more students may be paired to work closely with lead partner organizations. 

More information on the Sustainability and Education Policy Network (SEPN) and Sustainability Education Research Institute (SERI) may be found at and


Education: A Bachelor degree is required and students must be currently enrolled or applying to a graduate program at either the Master’s or PhD level at the University of Saskatchewan.

Experience: Knowledge and experience in conducting research; Familiarity with a range of research methods; Experience interacting with collaborators and working with multidisciplinary teams; Background in critical policy analysis and/or community-based research an asset.

Skills: Excellent interpersonal skills; Excellent communication skills (written and verbal); Strong research skills; Ability to work productively, both individually and in groups; Ability to work independently, following timelines to complete work in an efficient manner. 

CONDITIONS:  Students will undertake research assistant work on the project, as well as undertake their thesis research on one aspect of the project.  Graduate student researcher stipends are $15,000 (Master’s) and $18,000 (PhD), plus benefits, or as negotiated in terms of contract.  Current hiring is for positions commencing September 2014, with up to two years of funding for Master’s students and three years of funding for PhD students. Students are expected to complete their thesis research on the project during this period.

Research assistant responsibilities will vary but may include: (1) data collection, (2) data entry and management, (3) conducting background research and report writing, and (4) other clerical and organizational duties as required.

ACADEMIC STUDY: Students will work with faculty in Educational Foundations or the School of Environment and Sustainability (SENS) at the University of Saskatchewan (with a preference for the Master’s student to work out of Educational Foundations and the PhD student to work out of SENS).  If not current students, students will need to also apply to one of those units by the application deadline of February 15th (applications submitted past that deadline may be reviewed).

Successful applicants will need to meet the admission requirements and be admitted to a graduate program at the University of Saskatchewan, as well as fulfill all program requirements upon entry. Please see the following websites for information on admission and program details and requirements: and

Interested individuals are asked to contact Nicola Chopin, SEPN Project Manager, for further information.

Upon indication of interest, individuals will be provided with an application package.

Application review will begin February 15, 2014.  Applications submitted past this date will be reviewed. 

Only individuals to be interviewed will be contacted.