As Co-ordinator of Niagara College’s Human Resource programs, Holly Catalfamo brings both experience and enthusiasm to the Niagara Research table.
Holly has made applied research and innovation a major focus during her time at the college, acting as a faculty lead on projects while involving students in the Business Administration — Human Resources (Co-op) and Human Resources Management Graduate programs in course-based research projects.
Ventures in which Holly has played a lead role include a course-based project for her students that saw them participate in a partnership between Niagara College and the Mulheres Mil program in Brazil. Mulheres Mil is a poverty alleviation program that seeks to assist socially disadvantage women transition to formal employment. By designing training materials for Brazilian researchers, students have identified and designed learning solutions that make a difference in supporting an impact assessment process.
Another course-based project that Holly’s students participated in was designing a strategic human resources plan for Chas E. Ramson, a food distribution company based out of Kingston, Jamaica. By providing insights into best practices in human resources, students have provided human resources solutions that will contribute to capacity-building for this Caribbean firm.
“In my opinion, when students engage in real-world problems with industry partners, it provides them with a unique opportunity to prepare them for the world of work,” Holly says. “Students have an opportunity to apply their learning in a very meaningful way. It is absolutely exciting to see how hard they work and the quality of the output that they produce.
“It is a win-win-win experience; for the industry partner, for the students and for the faculty members. All stakeholders benefit through this rich approach to learning.“
Holly has also been a faculty lead on several standalone projects at Niagara Research, including ”Applied Research in the Postsecondary Classroom,” an evaluation of applied research, and “A Second Career and a Second Chance,” an examination of Ontario’s Second Career program. She also received funding through the International Development Research Council to lead the Mulheres Mil Impact Assessment project, a bi-national research project with Brazilian partners to assess the impact of a national poverty alleviation program in Brazil.
She has presented findings from her research to the International Society for Educational Planners, the Organizational Behaviour Teaching Conference, the College Degree Operating Group and the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. She has been published in the Journal of the International Society for Education Planning and various other publications.
Holly’s experience with research began while she was studying for her Doctorate of Education from the University of Toronto, which she received in 2009. She has taught at Niagara College since 2003.