Supervisors: Dr. Diane Tye, Folklore; Dr. Kelly Vodden, Environmental Policy; Dr. Ursula Kelly, Education.
Research: Sharon Halfyard was a school teacher at the high school level for eight years starting in 1978. Much later, in 2006 she returned to teaching as a substitute teacher for five years. In her second career, she was an educational video producer/director at Memorial University of NL for nine years. After that she started her own production company producing documentaries for television. Her work largely focuses on stories of ordinary people of Newfoundland and Labrador. They include documentaries on everything from the archaeological history of Port au Choix, breastfeeding babies, dropping out of school, and reading to pre-school children. Her last independent venture was the production an adult learners text titled, To Be My Father's Daughter (2008) which she co-authored with Carmelita McGrath and Marion Cheeks. It is the story of William Coaker, the visionary who fought to reform the Newfoundland fishery in the early part of the 20th century. The creative non-fiction text, that she calls a documentary in a book, tells the story of Coaker through the eyes of his estranged daughter Camilla. Sharon has received numerous award her documentary productions. They continue to be used in schools across the province.
For her research Sharon will be conducting a social history narrative case study to investigate the interrelationship between educators, leadership and rural community development in post-Confederation NL. The primary goal of Sharon's research is to contribute to a better understanding of the multiple roles played by rural educators in community development during the post-Confederation years with the aim of providing insight for present day educators and community stakeholders. The study will be a multi-disciplinary examination of rural education, place, identity, community development, grassroots leadership, social history and socio-economic development in the White Bay/Green Bay area of the province. Using her father's life history as a case study, Sharon will examine the following question:
What insights for rural NL can be gained about educational leadership and the characteristics of community leaders by conducting a life history case study of A. Job Halfyard and his work as an educator in the White Bay/Green Bay area from 1949 – 2012?
As an Interdisciplinary Ph.D. candidate Sharon is thrilled to have the opportunity to return to her passion for research and education about Newfoundland and Labrador, its people, culture and history. It has always been her goal to seek out, examine and present knowledge and stories that may be loss, if not recorded and presented in a fashion that will engage young and old alike, both, in the academic or educational world, as well as in the everyday world of ordinary citizens. Sharon is especially excited about conducting research, for the first time, in the part of the province where she grew-up - the White Bay/Green Bay area including the communities of La Scie, Tilt Cove, Roberts Arm and Port Anson.
Discipline: Education, Folklore and Social Geography