This issue of illuminate is devoted to the theme of literacy—after celebrating READ IN Week with partners across the city in early October, we wanted to keep the conversation going and ask our faculty members, instructors and illustrious alumni to reflect on the role literacy plays in their teaching, their research and their everyday lives.
The Faculty of Education will celebrate its 75th anniversary next year, and we're in the mood to pay tribute to our past and present, while looking forward to the future.
For this issue’s Class Notes, we wanted to capture some of our alumni’s memories from their time in the Faculty of Education. We asked for anecdotes about campus life and reflections on favourite professors who may have influenced their career path.
Submissions have been edited for length and clarity.
Many Faculty of Education graduates come from families with generations of teachers. For this issue’s Class Notes, we asked: “Would you say that education is in your DNA?”
Here are some of our alumni’s stories:
Marion Kasha, BEd ‘58, sent us a note looking back at her career from her early days as a teacher in the 1950s to the present. She writes, “My training as a teacher and my many experiences while teaching gave me the basis for appreciating my life over the last 81 years.” Marion recalls teaching eight grades of students in a rural Alberta school in the early ‘50s, where “[t]here was no running water, no duplicating machines, not even a phone in the school.
Gwen Molnar, BEd ’49, has enjoyed exceptional success in recent years with the publication of several works of poetry for children, teen mysteries and, most recently, a book about Edmonton history.
Joyce Cutts, BEd 1954, “I graduated from U of A with a Physical Education degree in 1954. I did most of my teaching in the province of Quebec. I earned a Sabbatical in 1971 and went to the University of London, England and earned a Graduate Diploma in the Education of the Handicapped.
Alvin Anderson, ’67 BEd, , ’70 MEd, ’79 PhD tells us, “I taught elementary education in Edmonton (1967-69) then went North to Beaverlodge, AB as a VP of an elementary school, from there my wife and three children went to Lahr, West Germany with the DND. Upon return I assumed a Mathematics Consultant position with Alberta Education. My last years were as a Superintendent of Schools, where I was able to continue a passion which continues even into retirement. It is research into improvement practices regarding learning.
Jeannine Abrams, BEd ’09. Jeannine graduated with her Bed degree in 2009 and was able to secure a FT job with the Evergreen Catholic School Division within 9 months of graduating. “They offered me a permanent position the following year and that’s where it started 4 years earlier. I have taught grade 1 my first interim year and then was offered permanent in grade 2 for the past 3 years (with the exception of 10 months maternity leave that I just returned from in January).
Clarice Hansen, Dip(Ed) ’54 & ’56, BEd ’75 writes in: "In 1952 a group of girls from around Alberta and Saskatchewan met for the first time at the University of Alberta in the Faculty of Education. They were eager to take on the challenge of becoming teachers. It wasn’t long before many close friendships were formed and these friendships have continued over the years. There have been group trips to Jasper, and to Victoria, lunches on a regular basis and a yearly dinner at the Faculty Club. Many went teaching after two years when they received their diplomas.
Dan Vandermeulen, '68 BEd, '89 MEd, recently stepped into the role of Deputy Minister of Executive and Secretary to Cabinet with the Government of Nunavut. Dan, formerly President of Northern Lakes College (1987-2005) and President of Nunavut Artic College (since 2007) has many years experience serving the town of High Prairie as a Councilor. He also served as Chair of the High Prairie School Division Board of Trustees. With his background as an educator, administrator and superintendent Dan continues to share his expertise with the community.