Celebrating teaching and research excellence

The Teaching and Research Awards ceremony scheduled for March 26 has been postponed. And though a global pandemic might have kept us from gathering, nothing can keep us from celebrating the faculty, sessionals and graduate students honoured with teaching and research awards in the Faculty of Education this year.

Congratulations to the following award and grant recipients, who are exemplary of the teaching and research excellence that have made the UAlberta Faculty of Education one of the top faculties of education in Canada and the world.

Teaching Awards

Undergraduate Teaching Award: Kathy Robinson (Elementary Education)

Along with her passion for music and music education, Kathy Robinson’s devotion to her students’ pursuit of their professional ambitions and ongoing learning beyond the classroom have made her both a mentor and a role model to countless undergraduate students.

“Dr. Robinson is an exceptional educator and scholar who has made significant contributions to our undergraduate program, graduate program, and the music education community locally and globally,” said Jerine Pegg, professor and chair of Elementary Education. “Students value her pedagogical approaches and the ongoing support that she provides for students long after the courses have ended. What is particularly impressive about Dr. Robinson’s teaching is her commitment to infusing culturally responsive approaches and musical works from diverse cultures, periods, and styles into her courses.”

Graduate Teaching Award: Tami Oliphant (School of Library & Information Studies)

The Faculty of Education Graduate Teaching Award recognizes excellence in teaching at the graduate level. Recipients are shown to effectively integrate theoretical knowledge, research and expertise with their own teaching; demonstrate excellent planning and organizational skills; create a climate of mutual respect and academic excellence while fostering a critical analysis of research and practice; and consistently demonstrate a concern for student progress, among other factors.

"Master teachers dedicate themselves to the discipline of teaching involving an enduring philosophical quest through: pedagogy and assessment explorations; development of open-minded subject expertise that engages one in learning, unlearning and relearning; respect for the human right to education; respect for the human right to dignity; respect for the human right to freedom of opinion and expression; understanding that talent is everywhere, but not everyone has access to the academy; a thirst for knowledge development for the public good; and, the courage to protect quality and to act with sustained rigour," said SLIS professor and chair Toni Samek. "Dr. Oliphant demonstrates all of these conditional qualities."

Sessional Teaching Award: Riki Kuropatwa (Elementary Education)

The Sessional Teaching Award is awarded to candidates who have achieved an average rating of 4.5 or higher on most of the Faculty of Education-required USRI criteria, along with other expressions of support.

“Riki Kuropatwa is an accomplished artist and exceptional instructor,” said Jerine Pegg, professor and chair of Elementary Education. “In addition to teaching on campus, she has taught numerous courses in the BEd collaborative programs and the Aboriginal Teacher Education Program (ATEP). She has a passion for art education and strives to implement pedagogical approaches that make art education inclusive and meaningful for all learners.”

Graduate Student Teaching Awards: Domenique Gadsden (Educational Psychology); Jodi Harding-Kuriger (Elementary Education); Danielle Lorenz (Educational Policy Studies)

Since starting her PhD in Special Education in 2014, Domenique Gadsden has been actively involved in teaching in the Faculty of Education’s Undergraduate Teaching program as a graduate teaching assistant or as a primary instructor, with positive ratings and authentic appreciation from students.

“Domenique describes caring and relationships as both a fundamental aspect and goal of education,” said Educational Psychology professor Veronica Smith. “As such, she values and encourages a strong relationship with her students and takes time to share her life experiences as a person with learning disabilities to highlight and illustrate many of the concepts, ideas, theories and classroom considerations addressed during courses. She also endeavours to create a community environment where students feel safe to make personal connections to the material to maximize deep processing and meaningful learning they may apply to their own practice.”

Jodi Harding-Kuriger has received provincial and national health and physical education awards, and brings extensive K-12 experience to her university classrooms.

“Ms. Harding-Kuriger approaches her pedagogy with a high degree of preparation and thought,” said Elementary Education professor Doug Gleddie. “She readily assimilates new ideas and research evidence into her teaching, assessments and interactions with students. She is a collaborative instructor and takes time to learn from others in the program area as well as to share her own practices. She is committed to using innovative, creative structures and methods to challenge her students in the classroom and the activity environments. Above all, Ms. Harding-Kuriger is relational and has her students' best interest at heart as she strives to help them be the best physical education teachers they can be.”

Danielle Lorenz is a graduate student in the Social Justice and International Studies specialization. She was nominated for the Graduate Student Teaching Award by Educational Policy Studies professor Makere Stewart-Harawira.

“As a TA for me last semester, Danielle found herself suddenly having to take over my undergrad class of 35 or so, and did an amazing job,” said Stewart-Harawira. “She had undertaken all kinds of available training on campus and utilized all of it to the full. She was well prepared, had excellent resources and strategies, elicited feedback constantly and adjusted where necessary, and was humorous to boot. I am hugely impressed with her dedication, determination and skills.”

Research Awards and Grants

Larry Beauchamp Senior Researcher Award:

Martin Mrazik (Educational Psychology) received the Larry Beauchamp Senior Researcher Award, which recognizes outstanding research and contributions of senior scholars. Mrazik is currently a co-investigator on the Surveillance in High School to REDuce Concussions (SHRED) study—a Canada-wide project that looks to study concussions in high-school athletes.

As a clinical neuropsychologist specializing in concussions and closed-head injuries, Dr. Mrazik has a positive reputation as an excellent diagnostician and clinician,” said Educational Psychology professor and chair George Buck.

“During his time as a full-time practitioner, and as an academic scholar, Dr. Mrazik has focused his research on concussions, especially those related to sports. His research in this realm is world-renowned. It is clear why he was selected as the latest Larry Beauchamp Senior Researcher Award recipient. The award is especially relevant since the late Dean Beauchamp was a professional hockey player and later a physical education teacher, and was personally knowledgeable about concussions and their effects.”

Coutts-Clarke Research Fellowship:

Darryl Hunter (Educational Policy Studies) is the recipient of the 2019/2020 Coutts Clarke Fellowship for his project “Themes on a Variation: Educational Administrator Values and Statistical Variability.”

“Dr. Darryl Hunter refers to himself as a former teacher, school administrator and civil servant with education/public administrative experience. In my experience working with Darryl, it is clear that these experiences have informed his research program in unique and meaningful ways. He has an impressive track-record of research and knowledge mobilization activities,” said Educational Policy Studies professor and acting chair Jorge Sousa.

“Darryl is always ready with a question, and it is that attribute that has led him to undertake a study that is timely and will make a significant contribution to theory and practice in Educational studies.”

Alberta Teachers’ Association Educational Research Award:

Educational Psychology professor George Georgiou was selected as the recipient of the 2019 Alberta Teachers’ Association Educational Research Award. His award-winning submission was a three-year, dual-site quantitative study conducted in Alberta and Quebec called “Response to Intervention: Schools Where All Children Learn to Read.”

“When it comes to research on the process of reading, reading disabilities and their treatment, Dr. George Georgiou is most closely associated with that field,” said professor and chair of Educational Psychology George Buck. “His research impact has been recognized by his receipt of several awards and recognitions, including being made a member of the College of the Royal Society of Canada. Considering Dr. Georgiou’s research and its impact on the understanding of reading disabilities and their treatment, it is no surprise that he is the latest recipient of the ATA Educational Research Award.”

UAlberta-ATA Signature Research Collaboration Grants

These grants provide support for the co-development of research collaborations between University of Alberta researchers and certificated teachers in the province of Alberta.

Lia Daniels (Educational Psychology) & Morgan Klevyer (Westbrook Elementary School): Students’ understanding of mindsets: Its implications for emotions and well-being

Kent den Heyer (Secondary Education) & Shaun Lafferty (Hillcrest Junior High School): Towards healthy school and community futures: A study into what constitutes foundational knowledge for preferable Canadian-Indigenous futures and Treaty relations

Rebecca Hudson-Breen (Educational Psychology) & Amy Badger (Hilwie Hamdon School): Nurturing Hope Together: A Collaborative Strengths, Hope, and Resourcefulness Program for School Mental Health (SHARP-SMH)

Feature image:  Undergraduate Teaching Award winner Kathy Robinson (Elementary Education), photo by Kateryna Barnes.