Dean’s Message Spring 2020

I want to start by expressing my hope that everyone in our community is safe, healthy and finding time for self-care in our current circumstances. I also want to thank our incredible educators, administrators and staff across the education spectrum—including those here in the Faculty of Education—who have continued to support learners through the uncertainty and constraints imposed by this public health emergency.

The coronavirus pandemic compounds a challenge we were already facing in the education sector given the budget cuts to K-12 and post-secondary recently handed down in two successive provincial budgets.

But the pandemic has also demonstrated how committed education professionals can rise to challenges and find creative solutions, turning crisis situations into opportunities to innovate and think flexibly. They bring us together as a community to advance what we believe to be transformative work in our Faculty and institution.

You’ll find examples of this in the spring issue of illuminate: in the amazing work done by our Field Experience associates to create an alternative learning experience for student teachers who were unable to go into the classroom because of school closures; in our Clinical Services unit, where staff and students quickly pulled together new protocols to ensure clients could continue to access counselling services and mental health supports remotely; in the advice of researchers and alumni who have found public platforms to share their expertise on adapting to the pressures created by social isolation and the disruption of the school year.

We’re also pleased to share the story of the important work led by the Office of the Vice-Provost (Indigenous Programming and Research) to help Indigenous language speakers bridge into the Bachelor of Education program with the aim of increasing the representation of Indigenous teachers in Alberta classrooms.

The Honour Roll section of this issue celebrates the numerous awards and accolades earned by our talented faculty and graduate students, including the Faculty of Education’s own teaching awards and UAlberta’s Awards of Teaching Excellence, as well as national and international recognition for research and publication excellence. Our Class Notes section is full of wonderful stories shared by alumni of the exciting and diverse careers they pursued and the contributions they’ve made as educators and citizens following their time at UAlberta.

You can also find out about new opportunities for education professionals to enhance their school leadership skills through the Faculty’s online summer course offerings, and a new certificate program for teaching learners with complex communications needs.

I wish everyone in our community good health as we continue taking the time and precautions necessary to minimize the impact of coronavirus. As always, I’m grateful to the faculty members, staff and students and their integrity and resourcefulness in supporting the Faculty of Education’s commitment to education for the public good.