Dean’s Message Spring 2021

It’s hard not to feel discouraged by where we find ourselves more than a year into the coronavirus pandemic here in Alberta. Soaring infection rates and the corresponding public health measures recently introduced to bring them under control make it seem like we’ve made little progress in emerging from the conditions that have constrained our activities and kept us apart from colleagues, friends and loved ones.

But, as ever, spring brings with it a renewed sense of hope, not just in a return to normalcy but in the Faculty of Education’s mission of pursuing transformative teaching and research. The Faculty will play (virtual) host to the Conference of the Canadian Society for the Study of Education (CSSE) from May 27 to June 3, an opportunity to showcase research-based in the Faculty and to share in learning and discussion with leading education scholars from across Canada.

As the rollout of vaccinations to Albertans proceeds apace, so grows the likelihood of a return to in-person classes in the fall. We’re excited to welcome the new Aboriginal Teacher Education Program (ATEP) on-campus cohort, which for the first time allows ATEP students direct entry to the four-year bachelor of education program. ATEP’s online direct-entry cohort will also commence in fall 2021.

Another forward-looking initiative we’re excited about is the Alberta Curriculum Analysis website, sponsored by the Association of Alberta Deans of Education. This resource brings together diverse, non-partisan, research-informed scholarly and expert advice on the development of Alberta’s K-12 curriculum, across all subject areas, with the intent of elevating public dialogue about a robust 21st-century curriculum that inspires students and lay the foundation for a brighter future.

Hope is at the core of the Strengths, Hopes and Resourcefulness Program for School Mental Health (SHARP-SMH) based at the Faculty, which is working with classroom teachers to infuse lessons about hope and resilience into the existing curriculum. Earlier this year, the project team led by Educational Psychology professors Rebecca Hudson-Breen and Denise Larsen mounted the #TeachersGrowHope campaign to celebrate the way educators inspire and encourage students, which you can read about in this issue of illuminate’s In brief: Research news.

Also, in this issue of illuminate, we salute Education’s Alumni Award winners, whose work has and continues to positively impact learners from central Alberta’s Indigenous communities to Canada’s north to rural Guatemala, and beyond; we’ll hear about alumna Carol Ann Page, who is commemorating a remarkable act of generosity by Education dean H.T. Coutts more than 50 years ago by endowing a scholarship in his name; and we’ll explore some of the Faculty’s opportunities for professional learning this coming summer.

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