I am so honoured to return to the University of Alberta, and to serve as Dean of such a dynamic Faculty of Education—one that has played a significant role in my formation as a teacher, researcher, scholar and leader.
It has been a productive and rewarding fall in the Faculty of Education! In early September, we celebrated the 75th Anniversary of the Faculty with a wonderful event attended by past and present faculty, staff and students. We were moved by the stories shared by a panel of current and former students who so graciously shared their experiences with us at the event. We honoured alumni who graduated 50 years ago at a special ceremony in Convocation Hall and hosted an alumni homecoming lunch that featured Lewis Cardinal as the keynote speaker. His message of truth and reconciliation was an important one given the significant role of education in creating new paths for us to walk together as non-Indigenous and Indigenous peoples.
As you will read in this issue, we welcomed the first Urban cohort to the Aboriginal Teacher Education Program, a program that does tremendous work to educate Indigenous (and some non-Indigenous) teachers who are equipped with important cultural knowledge, understandings and experiences. Because of ATEP, these future teachers are positioned to make a difference in the lives of young people, supporting them to achieve educational success. We also honoured four Faculty of Education Alumni Award winners, all of whom have made meaningful contributions to education, within and beyond the classroom.
As a Faculty, we are embarking on a strategic planning process that will allow us to set our strategic priorities for the next five years, build on our current work, and undertake new and important initiatives “For the Public Good.” The perspectives of our alumni and our partners in education will inform the creation of this plan, so please look for opportunities to contribute. We are also beginning a review and renewal of the undergraduate teacher education program mindful of the need to educate teachers who have strong technical skills but also deep understandings of the complexities of classrooms, commitments to truth and reconciliation work, and the ability to support the needs of diverse learners in meaningful ways.
Community, collaboration, commitment
Inclusion, equity, advocacy and diversity are themes of this issue of illuminate. Organizations like FNCARES, now situated within the Faculty of Education, call on us to always put the needs of children and youth at the forefront of all that we do. Alexis Hillyard’s innovative and creative Stump Kitchen is illustrative of what is possible when difference is embraced as a strength, and Dr. Myer Horowitz’s incredible legacy of leadership to the faculty and university reminds us of what can be accomplished when we work together with open minds and open hearts. We are so proud of Faculty of Education researchers Dr. Denyse Hayward, Dr. Linda Phillips, Dr. Kris Wells, Dr. Jaqueline Leighton and Dr. George Georgiou, featured in this issue, whose research and advocacy are making real differences in the lives of children and youth, particularly those who live at the margins. Finally, the stories of our alumni that are included in this issue offer insight into the value of community, collaboration, and commitment to impactful teaching and learning. They stand as examples of the past and present efforts of faculty, staff and students in the Faculty of Education to create a better, more inclusive world.
I am so deeply proud to be your Dean and hope that you will stay connected with us as we continue our journey into the next 25 years!