Rhonda Breitkreuz, MA, PhD

Professor, Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sci - Human Ecology Dept
Chair, Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sci - Human Ecology Dept


Professor, Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sci - Human Ecology Dept
330 Human Ecology Building
8905 - 116 St NW
Edmonton AB
T6G 2N1

Chair, Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sci - Human Ecology Dept



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

Great Supervisor Award. (2020). Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research. University of Alberta. 

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

Teacher of the Year. (2019; 2012; 2010). Faculty of Life and Environmental Sciences. University of Alberta. 

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

President’s Achievement Award. (2012; 2006). “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, 2012, and the Community-University Partnership, 2006. University of Alberta.


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 child care policy has been published in leading inter-disciplinary social science journals, including Critical Social Policy, Community, Work & Family, Journal of Family Issues, and Development Policy Review. I currently have funding from the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council and the Worldwide University Network to explore barriers to women's employment.

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. 


Graduate Student Supervision

Natalie Schmitt, MSc (thesis). 2020-present. Women and Policy. 

Semhar Berhe, MSc (course-based). 2020-present.

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

Kareema Batal, MSc (thesis). 2018-present. Social Enterprise. 

Julia Roy, MSc (thesis). Completed, 2020. Program development and evaluation for families of children with disability.

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

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. 


HECOL 440 - Family Policy Issues

Analysis of current policy issues faced by Canadian families and the examination of policies and programs affecting family well-being and relationships. Prerequisite: HECOL 300.

Fall Term 2021
HECOL 640 - Development and Analysis of Family Policy

An examination of the elements of policies and policy issues that affect contemporary Canadian families. The elements of policies and policy issues studied include: their origins and underlying ideologies; their institutional frameworks and foundations; and their substance, nature, and impact on families. Prerequisite: HECOL 300. Not to be taken if credit received for HECOL 440.

Fall Term 2021
HECOL 692 - Professional Seminar 2

This professional development seminar is one in a series that provides an introduction to graduate study in the Department of Human Ecology, and to career development and professional issues in human ecology. Topics include: critical reading of the research literature; ethical issues in conducting research; preparing a submission for the research ethics review board; preparing and reviewing conference submissions; preparing a poster; and preparing a research proposal. Fulfills part of FGSR's mandatory ethics training requirement. Typically taken in the second semester of the graduate program.

Winter Term 2022
HECOL 694 - Professional Seminar 4

This professional development seminar is one in a series that provides an introduction to graduate study in the Department of Human Ecology, and to career development and professional issues in human ecology. Topics include: developing an academic career; obtaining teaching experience and developing a teaching dossier; developing a program of research; working in research teams; authorship; intellectual property issues related to research data; preparing for candidacy exams; surviving your dissertation; preparing a curriculum vita; and applying and interviewing for jobs or post-doctoral fellowships. Typically taken in the fourth semester of the doctoral program.

Winter Term 2022

Browse more courses taught by Rhonda Breitkreuz

Scholarly Activities

Other - The Long Road Home Documentary Film, Writer & Director, Rhonda Breitkreuz, Executive Producer, Steven Brese

2018 - 2018

Adeline Froehlich and Ewald Breitkreuz were born in a German settlement in Volhynia, Poland. In 1915, when Germany invaded Poland, the Russian government required German-speaking citizens of Volhynia to leave their homes. The vast majority of them were sent to Siberia in freight trains. The first part of this film documents the journeys of Adeline and Ewald during this forced migration. The second part of the film discusses the day-to-day life of Adeline and Ewald and their nine children in Onoway, Alberta, as German-speaking immigrants from 1935 onwards.

World Premiere of Film


Producing the Patchwork: The Hidden Work of Mothers in Organizing Child Care
Author(s): Breitkreuz, R., Colen, K., & Horne, R.
Publication Date: 7/5/2021
Publication: Journal of Family Studies
Volume: 27
Issue: 3
Page Numbers: 436-459
External Link: https://doi.org/10.1080/13229400.2019.1635038
Child, Parent and Worker Vulnerabilities in Unregulated Child Care
Author(s): Goodall, Z., Cook, K., & Breitkreuz, R.
Publication Date: 3/10/2021
Publication: Social Policy and Society
Volume: 22
Issue: 2
Page Numbers: 247-263
External Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1474746420000263.
Paying the price: Constrained choice and the consumption of unregulated child care in Alberta
Author(s): Colen, K., Breitkreuz, R.
Publication Date: 2020
Publication: Community, Work & Family
Volume: 23
Issue: 4
Page Numbers: 457-473
External Link: https://doi.org/10.1080/13668803.2019.1584088
Critical Policy Analysis: Using Focus Groups to Explore Social Policy in India.
Author(s): Breitkreuz, R. & Swallow, B.
Publication Date: 2019
Publication: Sage Research Methods Cases: Politics & International Relations.
External Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.4135/9781526478252
It all comes out in the wash: Family policy, ideology, and the pathway to contemporary mothering
Author(s): Sakaluk, L., Breitkreuz, R., & Kushner, K.
Publication Date: 2019
Publication: Journal of Family Studies
Volume: Published Online, Dec 29, 2019
External Link: https://doi.org/10.1080/13229400.2019.1705875
Who Cares? Motivations for unregulated child care use.
Author(s): Breitkreuz, R. & Colen, K.
Publication Date: 2018
Publication: Journal of Family Issues
Volume: 39
Issue: 17
Page Numbers: 4066-4088
External Link: https://doi.org/10.1177/0192513X18806025
The Motherhood Sacrifice: Maternal Experiences of Child Care in the Canadian Context
Author(s): Horne, R., and Breitkreuz, R.
Publication Date: 2018
Publication: Journal of Family Studies
Volume: 24
Issue: 2
Page Numbers: 126-145

Adults’ knowledge of child development in Alberta, Canada: Comparing the level of knowledge of adults in two samples in 2007 and 2013
Author(s): Botey, A. Vinturache, A., Bayrampour, H., Breitkreuz, R. Bukutu, C., Gibbard, B., & Tough, S.
Publication Date: 2017
Publication: Child Care in Practice
Volume: 23
Issue: 4
Page Numbers: 404-416
External Link: http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/bRQYvYv53XzAtC6EZprT/full
On shifting ground: First-time parents ideal support for integration of family and paid work
Author(s): Kushner, K., Sopcak, N., Breitkreuz, R., Pitre, N., Williamson, D., Rempel, G. Stuart, M., & Letourneau, N.
Publication Date: 2017
Publication: Community, Work, & Family
Volume: 20
Issue: 2
Page Numbers: 119-141

The Framing of Australian child care policy problems and their solutions
Author(s): Cook, K., Corr, L., Breitkreuz, R.
Publication Date: 2017
Publication: Critical Social Policy
Volume: 37
Issue: 1
Page Numbers: 42-63
External Link: DOI: 10.1177/0261018316653952.
The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme: A Policy Solution to Rural Poverty in India?
Author(s): Breitkreuz, R., Stanton, C.J. Brady, M., Pattison, J., King, O., Chudhury. M., & Swallow. B
Publication Date: 2017
Publication: Development Policy Journal
Volume: 35
Issue: 3
Page Numbers: 397-417
External Link: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/dpr.12220/full
Sustainable family care for children with disabilities
Author(s): McConnell, D., Breitkreuz, R., Savage, A., & Sobsey, R.
Publication Date: 2016
Publication: Journal of Child and Family Studies
Volume: 25
Issue: 2
Page Numbers: 530-544

Anticipating parenthood: Women’s and men’s meanings, expectations, and idea(l)s in Canada
Author(s): Kushner, K.E., Pitre, N., Williamson, D., Breitkreuz, R., & Rempel, G.
Publication Date: 2014
Publication: Marriage & Family Review
Volume: 50
Page Numbers: 1-34
External Link: doi/abs/10.1080/01494929.2013.834026#.Uzmf76hdXTA
Resilience in families raising children with disabilities and behaviour problems
Author(s): McConnell, D., Savage, A., & Bretkreuz, R.
Publication Date: 2014
Publication: Research in Developmental Disabilities
Volume: 35
Issue: 4
Page Numbers: 833-848
External Link: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0891422214000195
Rethinking resilience in families of children with disabilities: A social-ecological approach
Author(s): Breitkreuz, R., Wunderli, L., Savage, A. & McConnell, D.
Publication Date: 2014
Publication: Community, Work and Family
Volume: 17
Issue: 3
Page Numbers: 346-365

Theories from Family Science
Author(s): Jennings, J. Breitkreuz, R., & James. A.
Publication Date: 2014
Publication: The Sage Handbook of Family Business
Page Numbers: 25-46

Parent needs and family support service outcomes in a Canadian sample
Author(s): McConnell, D., Breitkreuz, R. & Savage, A.
Publication Date: 2013
Publication: Journal of Social Work
Volume: 13
Page Numbers: 447-470
External Link: http://jsw.sagepub.com/content/early/2012/02/08/1468017311434819
When family members are also business owners: Is entrepreneurship good for families?
Author(s): Jennings, J. Breitkreuz, R., & James. A.
Publication Date: 2013
Publication: Family Relations
Volume: 62
Page Numbers: 472-489
External Link: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/fare.12013/pdf
Independent evaluation of the Triple P Positive Parenting Program in family support service settings
Author(s): McConnell, D., Breitkreuz, R. & Savage, A.
Publication Date: 2012
Publication: Child & Family Social Work
Volume: 17
Page Numbers: 43-54
External Link: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2206.2011.00771.x/pdf
The Self-Sufficiency Trap: The Promise and Reality of Welfare-to-Work
Author(s): Breitkreuz, R. & Williamson, D.
Publication Date: 2012
Publication: Social Service Review
Volume: 86
Page Numbers: 660-689

Using theories of family to expand the scope of family business research
Author(s): James, A. Jennings, J. & Breitkreuz, R.
Publication Date: 2012
Publication: Family Business Review
Volume: 25
Page Numbers: 89-110

From financial hardship to child difficulties:Main and moderating effects of perceived social support
Author(s): McConnell, D., Breitkreuz, R. & Savage, A.
Publication Date: 2011
Publication: Child: Care, Health & Development
Volume: 37
Page Numbers: 679-691
External Link: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2214.2010.01185.x/pdf
Integrating Triple P into Existing Family Support Services: A Case Study on Program Implementation
Author(s): Breitkreuz, R., McConnell, D., Savage, A. & Hamilton, A.
Publication Date: 2011
Publication: Prevention Science
Volume: 12
Page Numbers: 411-422
External Link: http://download.springer.com/static/pdf/264/art%253A10.1007%252Fs11121-011-0233-6.pdf?auth66=1380924678_b55f9ee2c38c28bca9a2eec2026db97f&ext=.pdf
Interpreter-facilitated cross-language interviews: Explicating processes and assessing validity
Author(s): Williamson, D., Choi, J., Charchuk, M., Rempel, G., Pitre, N., Breitkreuz, R., & Kushner, K.
Publication Date: 2011
Publication: Qualitative Research
Volume: 11
Issue: 4
Page Numbers: 381-394
External Link: http://qrj.sagepub.com/content/11/4/381.full.pdf+html
Disintegrated policy: Welfare-to-work participants’ experiences of integrating paid work and unpaid family work
Author(s): Breitkreuz, R., Williamson, D, & Raine, K
Publication Date: 2010
Publication: Community, Work and Family
Volume: 13
Page Numbers: 43-68

Engendering citizenship? A critical-feminist analysis of welfare-to-work policies and the employment experiences of lone mothers
Author(s): Breitkreuz, R
Publication Date: 2005
Publication: Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare
Volume: 32
Page Numbers: 151-169