Dr. Gillian Squirrell joined the Humane Society University (HSU) faculty in 2012 to teach courses in research methods and critical thinking, and to supervise student projects. She has a long academic career, bringing to HSU expertise as a lecturer from undergraduate through PhD levels, and research experience in various areas of social policy development.
Gillian is a broad-based social scientist with a background in organizational development. She has worked within higher education and research institutes, designing and leading over thirty-eight funded research, evaluation, and consultation programs. Many of the programs informed social policy developments in the UK in social justice areas of homelessness, employment, education, offending and substance abuse. She has worked with the non-profit sector both as social entrepreneur and evaluator. Her rich background informs her research and business development teaching.
Gillian has had a long-term interest in linking academia to day-to-day life, and vice versa. This interest motivated her to create and direct an action-based residential project for offenders. The project culminated in the design and delivery of several programs to help scientists and engineers engage with public groups, talk about their work, and listen to public concerns. Dr Squirrell’s two recent books, Engagement in Practice (2011) and Evaluation in Action (2012) focus on bridging the gap between theory and practice.
Arriving in New York City from the UK, Gillian discovered, the dog over-population problem, and began volunteering with various animal rescue organizations, which were quite unlike anything she experienced in the UK. The experience prompted Dr. Squirrell to become increasingly involved as a social scientist in thinking about animals in society. Dr. Squirrell works to further the development of research, evaluation, and public engagement methodologies in the fields of animal advocacy and management. She is currently writing a book on research and evaluation methods specifically on these concepts.
As an active and action-based researcher Dr. Squirrell has been combining her past work with socially-excluded adults with her passion for working with dogs to develop cognitive behavioral-based canine facilitated group work. Discussion of the "Working Dogs Working Lives" project for substance abusing women will be presented at two conferences this summer: Minding Animals in Utrecht, The Netherlands and the 3rd Canine Science Forum in Barcelona, Spain. Dr. Squirrell is a member of faculty at Bergin University of Canine Studies, in California and is building research capacity there.