The PhD in Social Practice and Transformational Change operates at the intersection of rigorous, transformative scholarship that cuts across conventional disciplinary boundaries. Notable areas of strength among the core faculty include community engaged scholarship, disability studies, feminist and gender studies, Indigenous studies, global studies, and teaching and learning.
Director and Graduate Program Coordinator
Graduate Program Assistant
Lisa MacDonald (111 MINS, Ext. 54753)
This list may include Regular Graduate Faculty, Associated Graduate Faculty and/or Graduate Faculty from other universities.
BA, MA Toronto, PhD Guelph - Associate Professor
BA Wilfrid Laurier, MA, PhD OISE Toronto - Assistant Professor
B.Sc. Queen's, MES, MA York, PhD Clark - Associate Professor
BA, MA National University of Ireland, PhD York - Associate Professor
BA Toronto, MA, PhD Dalhousie - Professor
BA Keio, MA Minnesota, PhD Pittsburgh - Professor
BA Carleton, MA, PhD Toronto - Professor
BA Acadia, MA, PhD New Brunswick - Associate Professor
BA Victoria, MA, PhD York - Assistant Professor
Thomas (Tad) McIlwraith
BA Toronto, MA British Columbia, PhD New Mexico - Associate Professor
BA Carleton, MA, PhD York - Associate Professor
BA, PhD Guelph, MA Waterloo - Assistant Professor
B.Sc. Witwatersrand, B.H.Sc, PhD Adelaide - Professor
B.A.Sc. McMaster, M.Sc., PhD Toronto - Associate Professor
BA Harvard, M.Ed. Toronto, PhD York - Professor
BA Victoria, PhD Clark - Professor
Saba F. Safdar
BA McMaster, MA, PhD York - Professor
BA Tata Institute of Social Sciences, MA, PhD Eramus (Rotterdam) - Associate Professor
BA Alberta, MA, PhD York - Professor
BA Wilfrid Laurier, MA, PhD Toronto - Associate Professor
B.A.Sc. Guelph, MSW Toronto, PhD Guelph - Associate Professor
The objective of the PhD in Social Practice and Transformational is to build competency in research, practice (as a specific kind of professional activity) and engagement across these areas:
- the critical theorization of social practice and its relationship to policy, programs and service delivery and to transformational change;
- the design and implementation of practice-based research projects and research-based practices; and
- the development of principled, ethical and sustainable frameworks for collaborative, community-engaged initiatives.
Applicants to the PhD program should have a recognized course or thesis-based master’s degree with a minimum average of at least 78% average in their postgraduate studies. Applicants who have not completed a masters’ degree but have considerable relevant professional experience outside the academy may be considered for direct entry into the doctoral program. Applicants must submit a statement of their research interests including evidence of experience in their chosen research field. It is essential that applicants contact potential advisors in the department prior to submission of an application. Students are admitted in September. The program office should be consulted for admission deadlines.
The PhD in Social Practice is comprised of 1.5 credits of coursework, a qualifying examination (QE), and thesis. Individual students may elect to take courses offered as part of other University of Guelph programs that are relevant to their research interests and development, as determined by students and their advisory committees.
The QE involves four components:
- a letter of promise, addressed to the Program Director, signed by all members of the advisory committee, evaluating the student’s research performance to date and the student’s potential as a researcher;
- a QE proposal approved by the student’s advisory committee which includes area(s) of specialization, proposed form of presentation, and proposed oral examination format;
- the presentation of literature related to, but broader than, the student’s specific area of research to be pursued in the dissertation, including preliminary thesis statement; and
- an oral examination of c) the presentation including the following components to be determined in b) the proposal: student reflections on the presentation (oral or other formal); committee questions about the presentation (shared ahead of exam or during the exam); and discussion of preliminary dissertation research focus.
The QE is evaluated as pass or fail. The student passes the QE if no more than one member of the QE committee votes unsatisfactory. An abstention is considered an unsatisfactory vote. If the QE has been deemed by examiners as a fail, the QE committee will provide clear feedback to the student through the advisor on the quality issues that need to be addressed in a second examination no later than six months from the failed attempt. Failure of the QE oral the second time constitutes a recommendation to the Board of Graduate Studies that the student be required to withdraw.
Students engage with key theories of social practice, ethical community engagement, ways of knowing, reflexivity and change processes, social praxis and orientation, and the role of policy in social change, from inter- and transdisciplinary perspectives.
Students build upon core concepts explored in SOPR*6000 (Social Practice and Transformational Change) moving beyond analysis and discussion of scholarly contributions, into engagement activities working with or as practitioners on externally identified questions and community needs.
Students treat methodology as critical research design connected to epistemology and ontology, investigating what counts as knowledge, as data and scholarship, the role of the researcher, issues of representation, and the implications of these for research.