School of Child and Youth Care
University of Victoria
Tel: 250-472-4128
Fax: 250-721-7218

Brief Biography

Jessica Ball is a professor in the School of Child and Youth Care at the University of Victoria, Canada. She is Co-Coordinator of First Nations Partnership Programs based at the University of Victoria. She has worked extensively in innovative programs to sustain cultural diversity and support community development in the interests of children and families. Dr. Ball completed three post-graduate degrees at the University of California, Berkeley, including a Doctorate in developmental-clinical psychology, a Master of Public Health in international health planning, and a Master of Arts in clinical psychology. Her undergraduate degree in Psychology is from the University of British Columbia.

Dr. Ball spent 12 years, from 1984 to 1996, in Southeast Asia, working as a consultant to community service agencies and government ministries in education, health, and social services. The majority of her work involved research, program development, and training to strengthen policies and services in the areas of mental health, youth development, and all levels of education from preschool to post-graduate programs. Upon returning to her native country of Canada, Dr. Ball joined the First Nations Partnership Programs (www.fnpp.org). This work has broken new ground in reconceptualizing early childhood education and training and advancing the incorporation of indigenous knowledge into our understandings of how to protect and promote child well-being while sustaining culture, traditional languages, and community social structures.

Dr. Ball has taught in universities in Asia and North America for over twenty years, primarily in the areas of developmental psychology, education, health and human service development. She has been an architect of several new training programs that have been implemented successfully in Canada and Southeast Asia. These include programs that further community-consultative and participatory approaches to early childhood education, residential care of children orphaned by war, mental health services, holistic developmental approaches to teaching in primary and secondary schools, and leadership training in graduate education.

Dr. Ball is the author of over 40 refereed journal articles and book chapters. Her most recent publications elaborate the concept of 'generative capacity building.' This concept has evolved through evaluation research demonstrating the effectiveness of community-university partnerships that bring indigenous knowledge and the ecologies of communities into the foreground when assessing and addressing the needs of children and youth.

In addition, Dr. Ball's research with First Nations partners has documented the process and outcomes of innovative work in rural First Nations communities that have created inter-sectoral and integrated community-based children’s services. To represent these promising practices, she has elaborated the concept of ‘hook and hub’ and has received international recognition for her recent book about this approach: Early Childhood Care and Development Programs as Hook and Hub: Promising Practices in First Nations Communities. This report, and others based on her program of research on Indigenous Early Childhood Care and Development can be found at www.ecdip.org.

Recent Publications

Ball, J. (2005). Nothing about us without us: restorative research partnerships involving Indigenous children and communities in Canada. In A. Farrell (Ed.). Ethical research with children and those around them. London: Open University Press/McGraw Hill.

Ball, J. (2004). Early childhood care and development programs as hook and hub for inter-sectoral service delivery in First Nations communities. Journal of Aboriginal Health, 1 (2), 36-50.

Ball, J. (2004). Transformative education in First Nations communities in Canada. American Indian Quarterly, 28 (3/4), 480-498.