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Rhonda Breitkreuz, MA, PhD


Agricultural Life and Environmental Sciences

Human Ecology

About Me

Origins of My Work

I have been at the U of A since 2007, first as an Assistant Director/Research Associate at the Community-University Partnership for the Study of Children, Youth and Families (CUP), and then as a faculty member in the Department of Human Ecology, ALES, where I am a social policy scholar. Before I became an academic, I worked with disadvantaged populations in a range of positions: as a Support Worker for a home for homeless men (summers, 1985-1989); as a Probation Officer in two Northern First Nations communities (1990); and most notably as the Executive Director of Lurana Shelter, a shelter for abused women and children (1994-1999). After completing my PhD in 2005, I worked as the Senior Manager of Policy Research for the Alberta Ministry of Children’s Services where I co-chaired the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Social Research and Information Working Group with a federal government counterpart in Ottawa. 

Selected Awards

2019. Inspirational Educator Award. Rhodes Trust. Oxford, England. Awarded to professors who have provided exceptional mentorship to Rhodes Scholars. 

2019. Teacher of the Year. Faculty of Life and Environmental Sciences. University of Alberta. 

2013. Faculty Teaching Award. Faculty of ALES. Awarded to one faculty member per year for excellence in teaching. 

2012. President’s Achievement Award. “Dare to Discover” – Learning, Discovery and Citizenship (staff category, team award). For contributions  to Student Engagement in the Faculty of ALES as Co-Coordinator    of ULead Leadership Program. University of Alberta.

2012. Teacher of the Year. Faculty of Agriculture, Life and Environmental Sciences. University of Alberta. 

2010. Teacher of the Year. Faculty of Agriculture, Life and Environmental Sciences. University of Alberta. 

2006. President’s Achievement Award. University of Alberta President's Achievement Award: “Dare to Discover ” (staff category, team award). Granted to the Community-University Partnership where I was an Assistant Director/Research Associate. 


Focus of Scholarship

I lead the Gender, Family and Policy Research Initiative in the Department of Human Ecology. In all my research, I ask this broad question: under which circumstances, and to what extent, is the state responsible for the well-being of citizens? As a result, many of my research projects explore the relationship between individuals and the state, focusing particularly on the ways in which specific policies affect wellbeing, social equality, and access to resources for individuals and families. My current research interests focus on the impact of child care policy on family well-being and maternal employment. I also do international work, exploring the impacts of social policy on marginalized citizens in developing countries. My previous research on the gendered nature of welfare-to-work, the work-family integration of those in marginalized employment, and parenting program implementation in family support centres has been published in leading inter-disciplinary social science journals, including Critical Social Policy, Community, Work & Family, Social Services Review, and Development Policy Review. 

In addition to my position in the Department of Human Ecology, I am also a Lougheed Adjunct Professor at the Peter Lougheed Leadership College at the University of Alberta. 



My teaching load consists of three courses: HECOL 440 (Family Policy Issues), INT D 306 (Topics in Leadership), and HECOL 601 (Ways of Knowing in Human Ecology). INT D 306 is taught in conjunction with the Peter Lougheed Leadership College. 

Graduate Student Supervision

Laurel Sakaluk, PhD. Completed 2017. Work-family integration during the transition to parenthood: Longitudinal processes and ideological influences. 

Laura Cadrain, MSc (thesis). 2019-present. Women and Policy. 

Kareema Batal, MSc (thesis). 2018-present. The Employment of Women. 

Julia Roy, MSc (thesis). 2016-present. Program development and evaluation for families of children with disability.

Rebecca Horne, MSc (thesis). Completed 2017 (Co-supervised with Matt Johnson). A Labour of Love? Male and Female Partners’ Emotion Work in Intimate Relationships. 

Ropa Mamutse, MSc (course-based).Completed 2017. Aging out of the family. The experiences of youth aging out of youth services.

Vanessa Ostapchuk. MSc (course-based).Completed 2016. Canadian Provincial Child Care Subsidies and their “Fit” within the Lives of Working Poor Families.

Iryna Hurava MSc (thesis). Completed 2015. Institutional Child Care in Belarus.  

Roxana Marin, MSc (course-based). Completed 2013. Cell phone use and parent-child relationships in families with adolescents. 

Hannah Goa, MSc (thesis). Completed 2010. Outside the city walls: The construction of poverty in Alberta’s income and employment supports act.