An early childhood education researcher who works ardently with schools and communities to support the classroom success of newcomers to Canada and an educational measurement expert who envisions a future where students can access instant feedback to support their learning objectives any time are among seven University of Alberta faculty selected as Killam Annual Professors.
Anna Kirova is a professor of early childhood education in the Department of Elementary Education who helped establish the faculty’s Early Childhood Education Certificate program in 2017, and also serves as the co-director of the Centre for Global Citizenship Education and Research (CGCER). She has drawn on her research into creating learning environments for young immigrant learners to develop, with educational psychology professor Sophie Yohani, the Creating Welcoming Learning Communities project, a webinar series designed to provide teachers and administrators with resources to help students with refugee experiences settle into their schools and communities.
One of her current collaborative research projects is focused on developing an intercultural early learning program for newcomer children who maintain their home language and culture as they learn English. Recently, Kirova also taken on the role of editor with the Alberta Journal of Educational Research.
Mark Gierl is a professor in the Department of Educational Psychology and director for the Centre for Research in Applied Measurement and Evaluation (CRAME). He holds a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Educational Measurement. His research is focused, in part, on finding ways to make testing more efficient though automatic item generation, which uses computer-based algorithms drawing on the expertise of content specialists to produce testing items and detailed feedback.
In 2015, Gierl helped launch the Learning Assessment Centre in Education North, where more than 20,000 tests in education, arts and science are administered every year. Gierl’s objective is to give learners access to individualized formative feedback whenever they need it in the learning process, rather than just when they’re being tested for a grade.
“Dr. Kirova and Dr. Gierl are widely regarded for their respective research and scholarly contributions. The commitment each demonstrates to impactful research, student success and improving the educational environment for learners and teachers alike is tremendous,” said Dean of Education Jennifer Tupper. “Their recognition with Killam Annual Professorships is well deserved, and reflects the breadth of transformative educational research taking place in our faculty.”
The Killam Annual Professorships were established in 1991 and are granted to faculty members at five Canadian universities, including the U of A and the University of Calgary, based on the quality of scholarly activities such as teaching, research, publications, creative activities, presented papers, and supervision of graduate students. Previous recipients in the Faculty of Education have included Andre Grace, jan jagodzinski (both 2011) and Rauno Parrila (2010).
Feature image: Anna Kirova