Message from the Vice-Dean Research (2012)
One of the core duties of a university professor is to carry out research. Research is crucial to the development and testing of knowledge, and the kind of independent and objective research that can be carried out in a university environment plays an important role within our society. Research contributes as well to a professor’s other main role, which is teaching. Research pushes our thinking and knowledge in our areas of expertise and this enhances what we share with our students in the classroom context. A vibrant research culture within a law school is a sign of its strength not just as a research institution but as a centre for teaching excellence as well.
At the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Common Law, we have a diverse and dynamic faculty, and this diversity and energy is evident in our impressive collective research record. The research carried out by our faculty members is about the law in Canada and abroad, and about international law. It ranges from historical research to contemporary and cutting edge issues. Our researchers engage in both legal and interdisciplinary research. They collaborate with other researchers at local, national and international levels. Their work may be aimed at theoretical or critical legal studies, understanding law’s social or historical context, law reform, or social justice.
Of course, those who engage in research ultimately seek to share and communicate the results of their work. At the Faculty of Common Law, our researchers disseminate their work through traditional scholarly publications, but also via new and innovative technologies, in reports to government, in court proceedings, and in submissions to consultations and to Parliamentary committees. We also disseminate our results to the broader public through a variety of public fora including traditional and new media outlets. Our faculty members have also shown a strong commitment to open-access publication and research dissemination, and some have been leaders in this field.
Although traditional legal scholarship has often required little funding, research funding has become increasingly important to meeting scholarly objectives. Legal scholars now seek funding to conduct more elaborate, multi-year projects, to engage in quantitative research, to support networks of scholarly collaboration across borders and disciplines, to fund workshops and conferences, to publish books or journals, and to support innovative modes of research dissemination and public outreach. Much of the grant funding obtained by faculty researchers translates directly into employment for students. In turn, this enhances the students’ law school experience by giving them hands-on training with research sources and methodologies. Research funding is crucial as well to supporting students in a time of rising tuition and mounting student debt. Our faculty members seek research funding from a wide range of agencies which include the Tri-Council, the Law Foundation of Ontario, private foundations, government, and international organizations, to name just a few.
It is the role of the Vice-Dean Research and the Research Office to facilitate and support these scholarly efforts. Through the Research Office, support is provided to faculty members by assisting in identifying appropriate funding opportunities and through guidance in applying for funding. This website is a good starting place, with key links and many resources available to assist faculty in preparing grant applications. The Research Office also helps to profile the impressive research output of faculty. Helene Dragatsi, the Research Facilitator, brings a wealth of experience to her position, and is an invaluable resource for faculty. Research at the Faculty is also supported by our financial services personnel, led by Nicole Desnoyers. I am very pleased to have been given the opportunity to join this team. During the course of my term I look forward very much to becoming more familiar with the diverse and exciting work of my colleagues, and to providing them support and assistance with their endeavours.Adam Dodek