BU CARES research centre retunes name, retains mission

Michelle Lam, director of BU CARES

It’s not too often that you can change a name and still stay the same. It’s even less often that what you stand for changes, while not changing at all. But that’s the reality for the BU CARES research centre at Brandon University.

Long known for its mission of advancing education-related research with rural and Indigenous communities, the research centre is retaining that focus while slightly changing its name to better reflect its current approach. Not changing is the CARES acronym, although the words that make it up have been slightly modified.

“The BU CARES name is so evocative of who we are and what we do, and it’s a name that means a lot to the many people we’ve worked with over the years,” said Dr. Michelle Lam, director of BU CARES. “It is a little bit funny that in one way, we’re changing what CARES stands for, literally, but in a deeper way, we wouldn’t dream of changing what we actually stand for.”

The new name now stands for Centre for Applied Research and Education in Indigenous, Rural, and Remote Settings. This replaces the previous acronym, which used outdated and less-applicable terminology. But a language refresh was not the only change.

“I like including the phrase ‘Applied Research,’ because it emphasizes research with immediate applications. We do research in partnership with communities to address issues that are of interest to them,” Lam said. “Our research should be useful and practical, and I like that that is now reflected in our name.”

There was also a practical element to reworking the CARES acronym, rather than starting completely fresh.

“Keeping the acronym allows us to maintain all our current signage, logo, and website address,” Lam said. “It also allows us to continue referring to the centre as “BU CARES” and maintains our reputation within the institution and community.”

Founded in 2008, the BU CARES Research Centre is a vibrant and innovative space dedicated to research with rural, northern, and Indigenous communities, school divisions, and related organizations. Housed in the Faculty of Education at Brandon University, BU CARES provides a supportive environment where students, faculty, and researchers can collaborate and develop their ideas. Their research initiatives cover a broad range of interests and methodologies, including arts-based research. Overall, BU CARES strives to be an open, welcoming space where the exchange of ideas and knowledge thrive.

For more about BU CARES, visit their website at bucares.ca. There, previous and current research is featured, including recent major anti-racism work and a regular podcast. The website is also home to supports and free resources for community members, educators, faculty, and students, including video tutorials on research software like NVivo, opportunities to book research space on the BU campus.

Membership in the centre is free and available for students, faculty and people in the community. Members receive information about and invitations for BU CARES activities (including workshops, seminars, training, talks, and more) and permits use of both the centre’s research space and equipment (as available). 


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