This issue of illuminate echoes the theme of the Faculty of Education’s 75th anniversary by focusing on engagement. We asked some of our alumni to reflect on how teacher education at UAlberta prepared them to engage with communities both inside and outside the classroom, and why it’s important for educators to find inventive ways to connect with the public.
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.
When Linda Cook (‘74 BA, ‘75 BLS, ‘87 MLS) started as the Edmonton Public Library’s CEO in 1997, no new libraries had been built in 14 years. Libraries were considered old and tired—full of outdated, dusty books that were quickly being replaced by digital technology.
But Cook saw an opportunity. She saw EPL’s branches as community meeting places that could benefit from new technology rather than be threatened by it. That vision led to five new libraries, three rebuilt branches, countless new programs, and a complete overhaul of the EPL brand.
Retired teacher Margaret Epoch (‘77 BPE, ‘97 BEd, ‘02 MEd) picks up a binder and leafs through it, stopping several times to point to news articles that detail global projects her former students took part in. They did everything from random acts of kindness—driving into a town and sweeping the walk or handing out flowers—to fundraising for students in other parts of the world.
University of Alberta alumna Carla Cuglietta (’01 BEd, ’01 BPE) says helping people has been woven into her sense of purpose from early on, which informed her childhood notions about what she wanted to be when she grew up.
“I’ve always wanted to be a teacher,” Cuglietta says. “The reach, the platform a teacher has to encourage others to get involved in serving others is pretty big. That was quite appealing to me at a young age.”
For the second year in a row, the University of Alberta Alumni Association’s gift to new graduates at convocation will be an art print created by a Faculty of Education alumnus.
Last year, popular local illustrator Jason Blower (’03 BEd) was commissioned to create two different prints: an illustration of the core buildings on North Campus for students in Edmonton and a print of Founders’ Hall on the Augustana campus for students in Camrose.
When we first planned this issue of illuminate celebrating “enterprising educators”, we could not have imagined that we would be publishing a week after the worst natural disaster in Canadian history hit the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo.
We know that many of our students, alumni and colleagues, both past and present, have ties to Fort McMurray and our thoughts are with all who have been affected by the wildfires.
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.
By day, Sheldon Durstling (BEd ‘12), Cheryl Lyster (BEd ‘13) and Angie Barron (BEd ‘04) are elementary school teachers. But when they’re not in the classroom, they become online ninjas, putting their skills and experience to killer use developing a website for fellow educators called Ninja Plans.
When Dan (BEd ‘87) and Carla Cavanagh (BEd ‘94) purchased Delmar College of Hair and Esthetics in Calgary in 2010, the numbers were promising.
It was a thriving business, and the husband and wife team were excited about the prospect of owning a company that required many of the skills they’d honed over several years as educators.