The Diversity, Equity, and Respect (DER) Committee is pleased to introduce a new initiative we are calling “Have you met students in the Faculty of Education?” DER graduate student representative Jane Sewali-Kirumira spoke about the value of sharing student experiences as a part of the Dean’s regular meetings with Black and Indigenous students. DER wondered how we might further share the experiences of students in the Faculty of Education. It’s particularly important to connect with students given the challenges of teaching and learning remotely.
Danielle Allard and Tami Oliphant, professors in the School of Library and Information Studies, characterize patron-perpetrated sexual harassment of library workers as an invisible problem—so invisible that when they conducted an environmental scan of research on the topic, they found almost no research about it in their field.
The pandemic has caused many education jurisdictions to pause their large-scale assessment activities, which provides an unprecedented opportunity to reimagine how assessments and accountability are undertaken. A summer course presented by the Faculty of Education held in conjunction with the annual Educational Leadership Academy sponsored by the Alberta Teachers’ Association, invites school leaders and classroom teachers to reimagine assessment practices at the school and system level by looking at case studies from around the world.
We asked Faculty of Education alumni to reflect on their teacher journeys, offer advice to their younger selves, and salute the educators who had an impact on them professionally and personally. Here’s what they told us.
The iconic image of a student staring out the classroom window daydreaming of anything but the lesson at hand might be a reality that teachers try to avoid. David Lewkowich, a professor of Secondary Education, doesn’t see these moments as a distraction but as an important part of what is happening in the classroom.
“Every student and every teacher, while we are all focusing on a lesson, a topic or a concept, there is still so much else happening in that classroom,” explains Lewkowich.
Leith Campbell (‘73 Dip(Ed), ‘78 MEd) says there wasn’t much research to fall back on when he began working in the early 1970s as a counselor with students from the Enoch Cree Nation who were attending Edmonton schools. In fact, he felt like he was starting from scratch.
“I had no list of children, I had no files, and I didn’t have a clue what I was going to do,” Campbell recalls.” There was nothing on paper at all about how to work with Indigenous children at all when I started.”
One of the first lessons Karen Barnes (’93 MEd, ’03 EdD) learned when she took a job at Yukon College in 2008 was that the North didn’t need assistance to become self-sufficient. It needed tools.
And, as vice-president of academics, she knew education was the key to that tool box.
Danielle Skogen says she just wanted to see a bit of the world and work on her Spanish when she decided to take a short break from her new career as an elementary school teacher in Calgary to travel to Guatemala. “I thought I’d follow that passion for six months, get it out of my system, and come back to Alberta ready to settle down and move forward as a teacher,” said Skogen, who completed her bachelor of education degree at Campus St-Jean in 2011.
Audrey Ochoa was already establishing herself as a working musician in high school when her parents sat her down for the talk.
“Both my parents were adamantly like, ‘Play music, have fun, but we really need you to get a real education, Audrey,’” Ochoa recalls. “The U of A has a BMus/BEd combined degree, it’s a five-year program and you end up with a music degree and an education degree, so it was like a no-brainer. And it was a good idea.”
Davey Thompson says, looking back on her career, she can see how she’s always been moving toward a mental health support role in education. But it was three years as an assistant principal in an Edmonton high school that affirmed her decision to enroll in the University of Alberta Faculty of Education’s School Counselling Master’s Program.