Dr. Graham Strickert (far right) and SENS students at a Redberry Lake field course.

Protecting Our Water by Sharing Diverse Voices

Dr. Graham Strickert will use community-engaged scholarship to help address water security threats in his new SENS faculty position.

Dr. Strickert was recently appointed as a SENS Assistant Professor in Community Engagement, Learning, and Entrepreneurship.

He has been teaching at SENS since 2012, but this tenure-track position will help him to address water security problems for years to come. “I am really delighted to have the opportunity to be a part of SENS for the long-term,” said Strickert.    

“For the type of work that I do, which is related to community engagement and water science, the U of S is the place to be, and SENS in particular is an ideal fit,” he added.

Strickert studies how people can be better stewards of water, from drinking water to water as it moves through the landscape.

His research addresses large, interdependent questions, including: How do people think about water? How does the way they think about water influence the way they manage water? How do people respond to different forms of evidence about water from empirical evidence to stories or even theatre?

“I want to help society make decisions about water that we won’t regret,” he said.

His research aims to include the voices of lots of different people in the decision-making processes related to water. This includes co-creating knowledge with Indigenous communities and sharing their voices with researchers and policy makers.

“I work to understand the values and decisions of various stakeholders to see how these diverse groups can work together harmoniously. These groups include Indigenous water stewards, food producers, civil servants, and politicians. I look to see what happens if we insert different forms of evidence into the decision-making process,” he stated.

Strickert uses a wide range of social science tools that bridge multiple ways of knowing and zero in on solutions to complex water problems. He uses conventional social science interviews, focus groups, and fuzzy cognitive maps as well as new tools like interactive games, forum theatre, and art installations.

He is involved in a number of projects that will help with water science and water governance in the Prairies and beyond.

Strickert’s new position will also have a greater focus on teaching in SENS’ professional programs. In particular, getting students involved in community-engaged scholarship, social and environmental entrepreneurship, and social innovation & design labs to develop sustainable solutions to the world’s most pressing problems.

“We do an excellent job of training scholars in SENS. In this new role, I am excited to help train professionals who are going to go out and shape the world around them,” he said.

He is proud to work on research that helps to engage communities in safeguarding water in its myriad of forms for future generations.

Strickert said, “The work we will do together at SENS is for the benefit of future generations. Water is life for every species on the planet and for every generation – water is life.”

Sunny Boy Carriere guiding Dr. Strickert through the Saskatchewan River Delta via Airboat.
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