PROFILE: Elaine is committed to student enrolment strategies and civic engagement that shapes fairness, equity, diversity, and inclusion. She leverages her scholarly work, lived experiences, and knowledge to support marginalized students—and university communities-at-large, to build inclusive educational landscapes. She has an extensive background in communications. This encompasses the investigation and reporting of challenges facing private- and public-sector organizations. Thus, she is known for her creativity in identifying problems/opportunities and developing effective solutions.

She is known as an empathetic, active listener and leader who is sensitive to the complexity of how lives are shaped by the intersection of multiple social characteristics. Her activities focus on addressing systemic inequality and inequity. Elaine is known as a community builder and connector of people. Elaine is respected for her abilities to identify needs, negotiate and facilitate conflict resolution, navigate complex institutional structures and policies, and communicate with multiple stakeholders. She has extensive experience in sponsorship and fund-raising, facilitation, public speaking, teaching, communications, and project management.

Graduate student support:

As a second-term PhD student representative, Elaine will address student-informed areas to support graduate students so they complete their programs—and, within a time frame that works for them:

  • Fairness, diversity, equity, and inclusion
    • Community
    • Changes to the Canadian PhD dissertation
    • Funding
    • Family responsibilities
    • Communication
    • Transparent policies and procedures
    • Employment prospects and career trajectories
    • Mentorship, supervision, and support
    • Mental, emotional, and physical well-being
    • Experiential learning opportunities
    • Transformative educational and research experiences
  • 10+ years lived experiences and knowledge supporting marginalized students—and, university communities-at-large, to build inclusive educational landscapes
  • 15+ years of experience in communications, investigating and reporting of challenges facing private- and public-sector organizations
  • Known for identifying problems/opportunities and developing effective solutions
  • An empathetic and relational leader who is sensitive to the complexity of how lives are shaped by multiple social characteristics. Known as a community builder and connector of people
  • Respected for abilities to identify needs, negotiate and facilitate conflict resolution, navigate complex institutional structures and policies, and communicate with multiple stakeholders
  • Acknowledged for ongoing applied activities to foster fairness, equity, diversity, and inclusion in Canadian universities and colleges         
  • Known for a commitment to knowledge mobilization for social change

Research focus:

Elaine’s narrative-based research, knowledge mobilization, and advocacy focuses on advancing socioeconomic diversity in Canadian universities.

About Elaine:

UVic contributions:

  • 2018 – 2019      Doctoral Student Representative

                                    Faculty of Graduate Studies Council

  • Led the creation of the Shoestring Initiative. This is a grassroots activist initiative to build community, support, learning, mentorship, and advocacy among UVic community members who identify as: (1) From poverty and/or living in poverty; (2) From/in foster care; (3) From working class backgrounds; (4) First-generation. www.shoestringinitiative.com
  • 2019        Co-organizer – Ideafest: Living in the Margins of Higher Education​

Presenters: Jamie Dopp (English), Elaine Laberge (Sociology), Catherine Léger (French), Lisa Ordell (Interdisciplinary Studies), Colette Smart (Psychology), Su Urbanczyk (Linguistics), Sarah Potts (City of Victoria Councilperson)

  • 2019        Newsletter Editor

                           Educational Problems Division, Society for the Study of Social Problems

  • 2018 – Present   UVic Speakers’ Bureau

                                    Faculty of Graduate Studies Council

  • 2018                 UVic Strategic Enrolment Management contribution

Goal 1c, Strategy 4: Enhancing and developing initiatives for low socioeconomic status students

  • 2018 (Fall)          Graduate Student Representative

                                    Sociology Department Chair Hiring Committee

  • 2019        The stories we (don’t) tell

                           Poster presentation

                           AGES Weaving connections: Collaboration & mentorship conference

                           Association of Graduate Education Students

  • 2018        Echoes of poverty: Composing lives in higher education &

                Caste in a box: Silencing poverty-class university diversity policies

                           Educational Developers’ Caucus 2018 Conference

                           Educational Developers Gaining an Edge

  • 2017        Echoes of poverty: Composing lives in higher education

                           Poster presentation of research findings         

                           Teaching and Learning Conference

                           Hosted by the Teaching and Learning Centre

Elaine’s education and career journey