Jessica Ruglis

Academic title(s): 

Associate Professor

Jessica Ruglis
Contact Information
Email address: 
jessica.ruglis [at]
Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology

Dr. Ruglis' work centers on participatory, critical race/ethnic, social justice, feminist, and inclusive approaches to research and teaching in the areas of public education, public health, justice, and youth development. Professor Ruglis' research program is organized around three main axes: 1) Contexts and institutions of youth development, 2) Social determinants of health (SDH) and education, 3) Participatory and community engaged approaches to research, policy and professional training (e.g. participatory action research, PAR; youth participatory action research, YPAR; community based participatory research, CBPR; community engaged participatory action research, CEPAR; participatory policymaking).

Dr. Ruglis conducts mixed methods research, with a special love for qualitative and mixed methods. She is particularly interested in the nexus of social determinants of health, education and human development; especially as it concerns policy. She is interested in school, institutional and community-based approaches to child, adolescent and family health, health education and health promotion across the lifecourse. Dr. Ruglis also has expertise and interests in interdisciplinary curriculum development that is rooted in public health (K-12, and higher education), in interdisciplinary cohort models of graduate education for healthy adolescent development, and policy advocacy. She is increasingly interested in exploring the role of art as a practice central to research, policy, community and individual health. Dr. Ruglis' research and teaching takes seriously "all policy is health policy" and "health in all policies" (WHO, 2014), and her research, thinking and teaching is principally organized by a focus on education as a social determinant of health. She is also a former middle and high school science teacher. 


Dr. Ruglis is core faculty in the Human Development and M.Ed. programs. Professor Ruglis also supervises students and teaches complementary and elective courses in programs across the department, including School/Applied Child Psychology, Counselling Psychology, Health Professions Education, Learning Sciences, and certificate programs.


Postdoctoral Fellowship, W.K. Kellogg Health Scholars (Community Based Participatory Research - Community Health Track), Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, USA (2009-2011)

Ph.D., Urban Education (Education Policy), Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY), New York, NY, USA (2009)

M.P.H., Community Health Education (Urban Public Health), Hunter College (CUNY), New York, NY, USA (2009)

M.A.T., Secondary Science & Biology Education, Union College, Schenectady, NY, USA (2002) * 

* Hold permanent New York State teaching certification in these areas.

B.S., Human Biology (Combined double major: Biology & Biological Anthropology), University at Albany (SUNY), Albany, NY, USA (2000)


Research areas: 
Child Development
Social justice theories and practice
Areas of expertise: 

School leaving (school dropout), school dis/engagement, human development, urban education, community health, education policy, health policy, inequity, youth health and development, schooling and health, social determinants of health, social policy, health promotion, community health education, program development, interdisciplinary and community based professional and graduate training models, participatory and community engaged approaches to research(e.g. PAR, CBPR, YPAR), and training models, methods and pedagogies for participatory research.

Office hours: 

Please email to request a meeting. 

Current research: 

Dr. Ruglis recently received funding for a storytelling for education policy project (2018-2021, $48,000 CAN, “Raconter le décrochage scolaire: Une recherche communutaire participative." Fonds de recherche du Québec – Société et culture (FRSCQ) and La Fondation Antoine-Turmel, Soutien à la recherche pour la relève professorale. PI: J. Ruglis). This project will conduct interviews and document and share stories of students, teachers, staff, counsellors, and families as a foundation to create publicly engaged policy. More information to come in Summer/Fall 2019. 

Dr. Ruglis continues on-going research (2016 - present) of the Sampling Youth Development (SYD) project (Co-PIs: Drs. Jessica Ruglis & Naomi Nichols) that is a collaboration with No Bad Sound Studio and Chalet Kent. SYD is an intergenerational participatory action research project exploring youth (and adult) experiences in public institutions and spaces (e.g. schools, health, housing/neighorhood, police) and the impact on development and health, along with youth and community led solutions for disrupting structures shaping inequity.

Dr. Ruglis is also currently engaged in supervising student research on sexual violence, gender and masculinity, youth development and health, sexuality education and teacher preparation, community based research and teaching, teaching and longitudinal evaluation of participatory action research, and school counselling in contentious social and political climates.  

Dr. Ruglis is also been working with an interdisciplinary and interfaculty team (Faculties of Medicine & Education) to develop a new certificate program in health professions education.

Dr. Ruglis has previously served as legal consultant for United States state and federal Supreme Court cases on issues of educational equity, high stakes testing, diploma denial and child welfare, and recently (2016-2018) for US state legislature on policy for racial and gender equity.

Awards, honours, and fellowships: 

Please see link for curriculum vitae at top of page.

W.K. Kellogg Health Scholars (Community Based Participatory Research - Community Health Track) Postdoctoral Fellowship, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, USA (2009-2011)

Graduate supervision: 

Dr. Ruglis is currently supervising graduate students in programs across the Department: M.Ed Inclusive and General Education (Research Project), M.A. and PhD Human Development, M.A. Learning Sciences, Ph.D. Counselling Psychology, M.A. Health Professions Education, and Ph.D. School/Applied Child Psychology. Dr. Ruglis also serves on dissertation committees of students across the university and internationally. 

Dr. Ruglis primarily teaches the following graduate courses: Qualitative Research Methods in Educational Psychology (EDPE 687, Winter), Gender Identity Development (EDPE 515, Fall), Theories of Human Development (EDPE 502, Fall), Group Processes and Diversity (EDPC 502, Fall); and undergraduate course Adolescence and Education (EDPE 377, Winter).

At McGill, Dr. Ruglis has previously taught Human Development Seminars 1 & 3 (EDPE 683 & 672, Fall 2016), Human Development Research Seminar (EDPE 632, Fall 2016), Instructional and Curriculum Adaptation (EDPE 654, Winter 2012), and Diverse Learners (EDPI 309, Winter 2016); and special topics courses: Rethinking 'Risk': Understanding Healthy Development (EDPI 643, Winter 2013) which focused on social determinants and lifecourse health approaches applied to education and human development and dismantling discourses about structural inequity and exclusion, and Participatory Approaches to Research (and Teaching and Policy) (EDPE 595, Winter 2017).

Selected publications: 

Peer Review Journal Articles & Book Chapters

* Note: underlined names indicate graduate student authors

Henson, A., Ruglis, J., Fitzpatrick, M & Lanteigne, D. (under review). Self-compassion for youth in rural settings: A community based participatory research approach to a school-based prevention program. Counselling and Psychotherapy Research, Special Section: “Interventions for Children and Young People” (Ed: P. Vostanis).

Ruglis, J., Nichols, N., Saoula, M., Viger, S. & McLarnon, M. (under review). Intergenerational community based participatory research in Montréal: Critical praxis for youth development, health promotion and wellbeing. Health Promotion International.

Guishard, M.A., Ahmed, T., Brown, J.T., Cabana, A., Dill, L.J., Harris, M., Hart, B., Hassan, P., Heyward, D., Ilieva, R.T. Jones, L., Kreuger-Henney, P., Phillips, L.M., Ruglis, J., Williams, M.G., Williams, T., Strelnick, A., Greene, A. (under review). "Rethinking patient engagement: #NoResearchAboutUsWithoutUs The Community Engaged Research Academy digital curriculum." Community-Engaged Scholarship for Health (

Nichols, N. & Ruglis, J. (forthcoming, 2020). “Institutional ethnography and youth participatory action research: A praxis approach.” In (P. Luken & S. Vaughan, Eds.). Handbook on Institutional Ethnography. Palgrave McMillian.

Krueger-Henney, P., & Ruglis, J. (2020). “PAR is a way of life: Participatory action research as core re-training for fugitive research praxis.” Education Philosophy & Theory, Special Issue: “Living the Dystopian-Utopian Tension as Praxis: Transformative Dreaming with/in/for Education and Educational Research.” T. Kress & R. Lake (Eds.).

Vallée, D., & Ruglis, J. (2017). Student disengagement among English-Speaking youth in Montreal. Educational Studies, 53(3), 285-314.

Ruglis, J. (2016). Theorizing participatory action research and outdoor experiential education: Pedagogy for engagement and well-being through social justice. Pathways: Ontario Journal of Outdoor Education, (29)1, 4-9.

Ruglis, J., & Vallée, D. (2016). Student disengagement as/and unfairness: Re-reading schools through photos. Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies, 14(2), 186-216.

Fine, M., & Ruglis, J. (2015). Circuits and consequences of dispossession: The racialized realignment of the public sphere for U.S. youth. Open Anthropology, 3(2), Special Issue: Approaching Youth In Anthropology (Eds: J. Antrosio & S. Han).

Ruglis, J., & Freudenberg, N. (2011). Towards a healthy high schools movement: Strategies for mobilizing public health for educational reform. In T. Wright & J. Richardson (Eds.). School-Based Health Care: Advancing Educational Success and Public Health (Chapter 27, pp. 671-687). Washington, DC: APHA Press.

Ruglis, J. (2011). Mapping the biopolitics of school dropout and youth resistance. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 24(5), 627-637.

Ruglis, J., & Freudenberg, N. (2010). Towards a healthy high schools movement: Strategies for mobilizing public health for educational reform. American Journal of Public Health, 100(9), 1565-1571.

Ruglis, J. (2010). Conversations with PAR and public health: Response to ‘fat bodies, qualitative research and the spirit of participatory action research.’ International Review of Qualitative Research, 3(3), 351-354.

Fox, M., Mediratta, K., Ruglis, J., Stoudt, B., Shah, S., & Fine, M. (2010). Critical youth engagement: Participatory action research and organizing. In L. Sherrod, J. Torney-Purta & C.A. Flanagan (Eds). Handbook of Research and Policy on Civic Engagement in Youth (pp. 621-649). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Fine, M., & Ruglis, J. (2009). Circuits and consequences of dispossession: The racialized realignment of the public sphere for U.S. youth. Transforming Anthropology, 17(1), 20-36.

* Cited in Brief of Amici Curiae to the Supreme Court of the United States, Graham & Sullivan vs. State of Florida. (No. 08-7412, No. 08-7621) which examines the legality of juvenile sentencing on adolescent development

Freudenberg, N., & Ruglis, J. (2008). Reframing high school dropout as a public health issue [Response to Letters]. Preventing Chronic Disease, 5(2), A69.

Freudenberg, N., & Ruglis, J. (2007). Reframing school dropout as a public health issue. Preventing Chronic Disease, 4(4), 1-11.

Ruglis, J. (2007). Dropout. In S. Mathison & E.W. Ross (Eds.) Battleground Schools, Volume 1 (pp. 194-203). Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing.


Professional activities: 

Dr. Ruglis currently serves as the Academic Representative of McGill's Joint Board Senate Committee on Equity (2015-2021). Recent activities include serving on the McGill Association of University Teachers (MAUT) Consultation Committees for the McGill University Sexual Violence Policy, and the Harassment and Discrimination Policy; as an MAUT Council Member (2016-2018); and as the faculty mentor for the Social Equity Undergraduate Research Award (SEURA) program (2017 & 2018).

Dr. Ruglis currently serves on the Board of Directors of Chalet Kent (2017 - present), a youth organization in Montréal, and on the International Advisory Board of the Collaborative Indigenous Research Archive (2019 - 2021, PI: Dr. Eve Tuck, Canadian Research Chair, OISE, University of Toronto).

Dr. Ruglis serves as Review Editor of the Editorial Board of Social Inclusion for Frontiers in Sustainable Cities (2019 - present), and on the Editorial Boards of Cogent Education (2016 - present) and the Editorial Advisory Board of Journal of Global Education and Research (2017 - present).

Dr. Ruglis continues to serve as a peer reviewer for publishers and journals in interdisciplinary fields of her areas of expertise, recently these include: University of Toronto Press, Journal of Critical Race InquiryTeachers College Record, Educational Philosophy & Theory, American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Journal of Adolescent Health, Journal of Urban Health, Progress in Community Health Partnerships, Social Science & Medicine, Canadian Journal of Community Mental Health, and Children & Society. 

Dr. Ruglis is a founding member of the Public Science Project (NY, USA) and has conducted participatory action research training institutes in the USA and Montreal.

Selected talks and presentations: 

Please see link for curriculum vitae at top of page.




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