BEd Graduate Tianying (Sky) Li Receives Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation Faculty of Education Award

Congratulations to Tianying (Sky) Li (BEd graduate, 2024), who has received the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) Faculty of Education Award. This award is granted to a graduating Intermediate/Senior Teacher Candidate who exemplifies award criteria, including engaging in social activism to promote the professional nature of teaching and demonstrating leadership among Teacher Candidates.

Tianying (Sky) demonstrated dedication to social activism and leadership throughout his time in the BEd program. In course work and teaching placements, he has advocated for equal opportunities for all students, including international students and those who speak English as a second language. He has facilitated communications between parents, school boards, students, and teachers to promote an inclusive environment for students from diverse cultures, and those who identify as 2SLGBTQ+. He has also privileged Indigenous ways of learning in the classroom by inviting Indigenous guest speakers and holding sharing circles with classes.

“Respect and dignity are values I hold dear,” Tianying (Sky) explains. “In my classroom, I encourage students to reflect on social justice issues and political systems, express their voices, organize events, and think about their contributions to their local community. I strive to foster a sense of community and encourage students to advocate for themselves.”

One of his Associate Teachers, who provided a reference letter to OSSTF, noted: “I am especially impressed with Mr. Li’s skill at promoting mental health, wellbeing and community building in our school. He has developed and implemented daily routines and practices of mindfulness, gratitude, reflection, and self-awareness that has improved the interconnectedness of our students and opened up conversations, in very professionally appropriate ways, that support well-being and personal balance.”

Congratulations Tianying (Sky) on this achievement!

MEd Graduate Tanya Thomas Leads Grade 8 Students in Fish Conservation Program

MEd graduate Tanya Thomas (2024; specialization Environmental & Sustainability Education; BEd, 2006) is a math and science learning leader and teacher in the Calgary Board of Education’s Arts Centred Learning at Willow Park School. She recently led her Grade 8 Science students in a five-month experiential learning and environment stewardship program where they nurtured rainbow trout from eggs to juvenile fish in a classroom aquarium—then released them at McLean Pond in Kananaskis Country.

Tanya explained that the program dovetailed with the Science curriculum’s Fresh and Saltwater Systems unit. By examining trout habitat requirements and assessing suitable environments, students developed an understanding of ecological principles in action. In addition to getting experience raising the fish, they learned about ecosystems and water bodies in the province.

The endeavor was featured on CTV News, as an example of one class participating in Alberta’s Fish in Schools Program. Every January, the program sends out eggs to approximately 95 schools across the province, and participating classes receive a fish research license that allows them to raise the trout and then release them into provincially approved water bodies.

Tanya (pictured below, with her class at McLean Pond), created a video documenting the fishes’ growth, from egg stage until five months old.

Faculty of Education May 2024 Newsletter Published

The Faculty of Education's May 2024 Education Exchange newsletter is now published.

This issue features articles about the Faculty's Drag Queen Storytime event, the winners of the RITE (Research in Teacher Education) award, alumni profiles, Faculty news, a discussion of the misconceptions about Ontario's sex education curriculum, and more.

To access this issue, click here.

Kit Luce Honoured by Ontario Association for Mathematics Education

The Ontario Association for Mathematics Education (OAME) has announced that Kit Luce (Educator, Simcoe County District School Board and Contract Lecturer, Professional Development in Education Department) is the recipient of the 2023-24 Award for Leadership in Mathematics Education.

The Award for Leadership in Mathematics Education is presented annually to an educator who demonstrates leadership by contributing in a significant way to the development of mathematics educators and the enhancement of mathematics education in Ontario through innovation and/or research related activities.

Kit, who joined SCDSB in 2005, has been instrumental in developing mathematics instruction and assessment resources for both educators and students. She currently serves as the District School Effectiveness Math Facilitator for Kindergarten to Grade 9.

Kit has also written and taught a number of Mathematics Additional Qualifications courses for Lakehead’s Professional Development in Education department.

Starting in September 2024, Kit will assume the role of OAME President. She has previously held positions as President and Program Chair of the local OAME chapter, the Mathematics Association for Cottage Country.

Congratulations, Kit!

Launch of the OADE Commitment to Anti-Black Racism Education and Black Inclusion in Ontario Higher Education

The Ontario Association of Deans of Education (OADE) is committed to defending and promoting equity and human rights in, and through, education for all members of Ontario society and to promoting learning, change and dialogue to dismantle anti-Black racist structures across the education sector.

OADE is pleased to announce the launch of its Commitment to Anti-Black Racism Education and Black Inclusion in Ontario Higher Education. OADE commits to more substantive, timely, and tangible actions to redress anti-Black racism and to foster Black scholarship, research, teaching, and learning within Faculties of Education. This work is guided by the Scarborough Charter on Anti-Black Racism and Black Inclusion in Canadian Higher Education's four overarching principles of Black flourishing, inclusive excellence, mutuality, and accountability.

We call on all educators, students, and community partners to commit to address anti-Black racism in all of its forms and to learn, reflect and celebrate Black history and excellence all year round.

Read OADE’s Commitment to Anti-Black Racism Education and Black Inclusion in Ontario Higher Education [English / French].

Dr. Connie Russell’s Special Issue on Ecofeminisms and Education Released

Dr. Connie Russell (Professor, Faculty of Education) recently co-edited—with Annette Gough (RMIT University, Australia), Yi Chien Jade Ho (University of Victoria, Canada), Teresa Lloro (California State Polytechnic University, USA), Shirley Walters (University of the Western Cape, South Africa) and Hilary Whitehouse (James Cook University, Australia)—a Special Issue of the highly ranked journal, Gender and Education. The issue focuses on how ecofeminist thought has informed, or could inform, educational theory and practice.

Ecofeminism emerged 50 years ago as both an activist and scholarly movement interested in the relationship between gender and environment, with numerous branches sprouting from diverse contexts. The popularity of ecofeminist ideas has ebbed and flowed in academic and activist circles over the years. In the past decade, there has been a resurgence of interest in ecofeminism. The articles included in this Special Issue are grounded in different geographical and cultural contexts, theoretical and disciplinary traditions, and teaching and learning environments, and discuss a variety of ways ecofeminist ideas could be taken up in education.

The full issue is available here.


Sidney Howlett Receives Lakehead Leader Recognition Program Award

The Lakehead Leader Recognition Program was established to acknowledge exceptional students who have made valuable contributions within the university and beyond. Sidney Howlett (MEd student with a specialization in Environmental and Sustainability Education) has been named a Lakehead Leader for her contributions in the areas of Academic Excellence and Sustainability.

Nominated by her supervisor, Dr. Ellen Field (Assistant Professor, Orillia), Sidney’s nomination letter indicated that she has “maintained an A+ average in her MEd program. She is an active member of clubs and committees, [and] contributes to research on climate change education at Lakehead” with co-authored reports and journal papers, while also presenting at events and conferences.

The nomination letter also notes that Sidney “is on the inaugural Mental Health and Climate Change Alliance’s Youth Advisory Board. She is a contributor and program advisor for the Climate Action Accelerator Program and has started a consulting business for school boards (Sidney Howlett Consulting). Sidney has advanced climate action in Canada’s education sector through her valuable contributions to research ... classroom guest speaking engagements, public lectures and volunteer work relating to sustainability issues, such as supporting youth eco-anxiety or addressing plastic waste. Through her personal and professional endeavours, she is creating a more beautiful, resilient world.”

Below: Sidney (left) with Linda Rodenburg (Interim Principal, Orillia campus)

PhD Student Mohit Dudeja Receives Lakehead Leader Recognition Program Awards

The Lakehead Leader Recognition Program was established to acknowledge exceptional students who have made valuable contributions within the university and beyond. Mohit Dudeja (PhD student and Contract Lecturer) has received an award for their demonstrated leadership in the Program categories of Academic Excellence, Innovation, and Community Engagement. As a result of receiving recognition as a Lakehead Leader in these three categories, Mohit was also named a ‘Lakehead Luminary’ for their work.

Mohit was nominated by their doctoral supervisor, Dr. Gerald Walton (Professor, Faculty of Education) and selected by a review committee. Their nomination letter outlined details of how Mohit met the criteria for the Program awards, and included the following paragraph:

“Since beginning the doctoral program in 2021, [Mohit has] consistently demonstrated academic excellence, completing their PhD coursework a term earlier than their peers with an outstanding score, demonstrating a strong work ethic and time management. They received prestigious, competitive awards in 2023 such as the doctoral fellowship of the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA) and the Ontario Graduate Scholarship. Their research on the experiences of queer international students in small Canadian cities is both important and timely, addressing current issues in social justice education. They actively engage in community service and leadership, fostering inclusivity through initiatives such as peer support groups at Lakehead and founding the Mendlife Foundation in India, among others. Their innovative thinking is evident in such initiatives as the Queer Graduate Studies Circle and their creative response to the housing crisis in Thunder Bay.”

Below: Mohit (left), pictured with Dr. Rhonda Koster (Deputy Provost and Vice-Provost (Teaching and Learning).

MEd Student Sidney Howlett Launches Business to Help Organizations Navigate Climate Action

Sidney Howlett, a graduate student pursuing a Master of Education in Environmental and Sustainability Education (Orillia campus), has launched Sidney Howlett Consulting, a new business aimed at aiding institutions in navigating the complexities of climate action.

Sidney’s consulting firm offers a comprehensive array of services tailored to support school boards in their efforts towards climate action. These services include climate action planning (e.g., developing sustainability plans and policies), professional development workshops, public speaking engagements, and research assistance.

She explains that her motivation to start the business stemmed from recognizing that a significant gap exists in the educational sector’s response to the climate crisis.

“The crux of the matter was when I co-authored a report with Dr. Ellen Field (Assistant Professor, Faculty of Education), benchmarking climate leadership practices across Canadian school boards. We found that among 380 school boards, only 4 had developed climate action plans. I realized then that the education system is not adequately responding to this crisis, and I wanted to help at a systems level, to move toward the transformation we desperately need.”

Her venture was spurred by the assistance of the Ascend Accelerator program, a ten-week initiative hosted by Lakehead University’s Ingenuity incubator space. This program is tailored for young entrepreneurs, who are also Lakehead students, by offering a blend of workshops, mentorship, and financial support to kickstart their businesses.

“From access to a lawyer to review my service contracts to guidance in developing my website, the mentorship, funding, and workshops provided were instrumental in establishing my business,” Sidney says. “I have already had my first successful climate action consultation with a school board, and can’t wait to see the impact my services will have.”

Dr. Michael Hoechsmann and Co-Editors Publish New Book: Transformative Practice in Critical Media Literacy

Described by one reviewer as “[setting] the table for a rich dialogue on how post-secondary education can play a responsive role in these post-digital, neoliberal and neocolonial times,” the newly published Transformative Practice in Critical Media Literacy: Radical Democracy and Decolonized Pedagogy in Higher Education brings together a diverse selection of essays that examine contemporary challenges and opportunities in higher education.

The book’s editors are Dr. Steve Gennaro (York University), Dr. Nolan Higdon (Merrill College and University of California, Santa Cruz), and Dr. Michael Hoechsmann (Lakehead University, Orillia). It includes 18 powerful essays, including one by Lakehead Education Contract Lecturer Dr. Helen DeWaard, which melds Latin American traditions of Edu-communication with the exigencies of teaching digital literacies in Canadian Faculties of Education.

As noted on the Routledge website, using a global and social justice lens, [this book] explores the transformative potential of critical media literacy in higher education. It also provides real examples of current critical media literacy practices around the globe and of successful experiences inside classrooms.”

Transformative Practice in Critical Media Literacy helps us rethink pedagogies and literacies in evolving post-secondary contexts and changing times. It will be of interest to scholars, students, policymakers, community members, and activists.