Dr. Tara Ney

Dr. Tara Ney
Associate Professor
Office: HSD A316

PhD (Southampton), MA, BA (Hons)

Professional Information & Research Interests

Professional Information

Dr. Ney holds a PhD in Psychology from Southampton University, and a BA (Hons) and MA in Dispute Resolution from the University of Victoria. Her main expertise is in designing inclusive but effective decision-making processes in organizations and communities. She is currently focused on applying these processes to accelerate just transitions to climate change initiatives in local government, as well as improving access to justice to ensure more equitable and accessible public sector organizations. 

Prior to her faculty appointment at the School of Public Administration, Tara worked in government, non-profit, and private sectors as a clinical and forensic psychologist, and has extensive experience in community development, both locally (restorative justice programming) and internationally (post-conflict zones). She is the author of over 40 journal articles and reports, as well as two edited volumes. In 2008 she was elected to political office as a municipal councillor in Oak Bay.

Dr. Ney is currently involved in two major research projects. The Vancouver Island Climate Action Leadership Plan: A developmental evaluation, involves elected local government politicians and First Nations leaders on Vancouver Island who have responded to the state of emergency on climate change. Together, with this research team, they aim to build capacity in local governments to identify, coordinate, and accelerate just transitions to climate change actions on Vancouver Island. Her second project, supported by SSHRC funding, Co-constructing Justice: Citizen-centered design for public services complaint systems is intended to make the justice journey more manageable and accessible to users of public sector services. This project asks, “How can citizen voice be brought more prominently into the design of 21st century public service complaint systems?”

Full CV

Research Interests

  • Collaborative governance regimes
  • Discursive approaches to policy analysis
  • Complaint system design and redress

In my research I am curious about ways of promoting more socially-just decision-making processes that will ensure those whose interests that are affected by public policies are important actors in the decisions that affect their lives. I want to challenge and improve upon the way we ‘do’ and ‘argue’ about our public policies, and critically engage innovative governance mechanisms and deliberative technologies. But to be clear, I do not accept that interactive policymaking and participatory forms of democracy are a panacea for contemporary political problems. And so I am especially interested in more sophisticated ways to examine the way we do our policy arguments by exposing power, self-serving rhetorics, and the way particular knowledge is used to advance those arguments.

As such, my recent research papers move beyond the limitations of the dominant technocratic, positivist strategies of policy analysis and decision making and employ interpretive and Foucauldian analytics to problematize the promise of government policies and to show how difficult it is to contest them. I am impressed with how these discursive methodologies are able to expose the way arguments come to shape particular deliberative processes.

Selected Publications

Journal Articles

Books, Chapters, Monographs

  • T.Ney (2015) "Can Family Group Conferencing engage indigenous families in child protection work?" (with C. Richardson and M. Maloney) In: J. Carrière and S. Strega (eds.) Walking This Path Together: Anti-Racist and Anti-Oppressive Child Welfare Practice, 2nd edition (Toronto: Fernwood).
  • T.Ney (2014) "Dane zaa Traditional Decision-Making in contemporary child welfare." (with V. Currie, M. Maloney, C. Reeves, J. Ridington, R. Ridington and J. Zwickel) In: A. Adebayo, J. Benjamin, and B. Lundy (eds.) Indigenous Conflict Management Strategies: Global Perspectives (New York: Lexington Books, Rowman & Littlefield).
  • T.Ney (2013) "The metaphor of dance and peace building." (with E. Humber) In: M. LeBaron, C. MacLeod and A. Floyer Acland (eds.) The Choreography of Resolution: Conflict, Movement, and Neuroscience (Chicago: American Bar Association).
  • T.Ney (2005) "Critique of conflict resolution, community peacemaking, and dispute resolution theory and process: Perspective from the margins." in: D. Turner (ed.) Challenge for Change: An Anti-oppressive Approach to Conflict Resolution (University of Victoria: Institute for Dispute Resolution).
  • T.Ney (ed.) (1995) Allegations in Child Sexual Abuse: Assessment and Case Management (Brunner/Mazel Press, New York).
  • T.Ney and A. Gale (eds.) (1989) Smoking and Human Behaviour (John Wiley and Sons, London).

Other Publications (book reviews, reports, etc)

  • Dahlstrom, E., & T. Ney (5 Feb 2009) Trades, Toxins, and Tobacco Health Canada. (Facilitator Handbook, Participant Handbook, PowerPoint, and Videos).
  • Newspaper Article: (2009) "Glacial pace of justice system frustrates Virks" by T. Ney; Opinion Article, Victoria Times-Colonist.
  • Dahlstrom, E., & T. Ney (2002) bc.tobaccofacts: 8-12 Tobacco Prevention Kit. BC Ministry of Health.

Grants & Awards

  • BC Law Foundation (with Nena Dane zaa Deh Zona, and Children Services, SFU, and IICRD), 2011, $75,000
  • BC Law Foundation, 2008-2013, $195,000

Recent Speaking Engagements & Event Participation

Paper, Lectures, Addresses

  • “Designing Consumer Redress Workshop” June 11-12, 2015, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, Scotland.
  • “Humanizing instutional responses to conflict.” Annual Conference of the International Association of Conflict Management, July 4-7, 2014, Leiden, The Netherlands.
  • “A discursive analysis of restorative justice policy.” Interpretive Policy Analysis, July 4-7, 2013, Vienna, Austria.
  • “Exploring strategies to revive traditional decision-making in the context of child protection in northern British Columbia.” Indigenous Conflict Management Strategies, April 21, 2012, Kennesaw University, Georgia, USA.
  • “Neoliberalism and Family Group Conferencing: Time for critical reflection.” Presented to Panel on 'Ethnographies of Neoliberal Governance' Interpretive Policy Analysis, July 5-8, 2012, Tilberg, The Netherlands.
  • “Constructing conflict: A discursive analysis of family law conflict.” Interpretive Policy Analysis, July 4-8, 2013, Swansea, Wales.
  • “Children’s participation in family justice processes — How power usurps voice in family group conferences.” Invited presentation to the Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia, UBC Robson Square, November 9, 2011 Vancouver, BC.

Courses Taught

  • PADR 501: Collaborative Engagement
  • CD 518: Strategic Communications, Engagement and Community Relations
  • DR 505: Theory and Conflict
  • DR 510: Dialogue, Civic Engagement and Public Policy
  • DR 512: Ethics and Reflective Practice in Dispute Resolution
  • LAW 380/DR 502: Law, Dispute Resolution, and Public Policy
  • PSYCH 380: Peace Psychology

Recent Professional Appointments and Memberships

  • BC College of Psychologists (1991-2013)
  • Oak Bay Official Community Plan Planning Committee (2011-2014)
  • Oak Bay Parks and Recreation Commission (2011-2014)
  • CRD Solid Waste Advisory Committee (2011-2014)
  • CRD Water Commission (2011-2014)
  • Regional Housing Trust Fund Commission (2015-
  • Royal & McPherson Theatres Society (2015-
  • CRD Arts Committee (2015-