Dr. Ellen Field Joins Faculty as Assistant Professor

Dr. Ellen Field (Orillia campus) has joined the Faculty of Education as an Assistant Professor in Educational Leadership and Administration.

Ellen notes: “I am thrilled to join the Faculty. For me, this position is full circle as I graduated from the Bachelor of Education program in Thunder Bay in 2005 and I know firsthand the impact the program had on my teaching career and trajectory.

My research is focused on reorienting learning within formal education to ensure that educational institutions are responsive to authentically addressing the socio-ecological challenges facing communities in the 21st century. Looking into the next few decades, there is little certainty of what the future holds in our rapidly changing world—climate shifts, technological shifts, resource shifts, migration shifts, and demographic shifts—and within this nexus of uncertainty, the need for adaptive and transformative leadership has never been more certain.

Most recently, I completed a SSHRC postdoc at Lakehead (May 2018-May 2020) which focused on climate change education and resulted in a nationwide study of 3200 Canadians’ (approximately 1200 teachers, 600 parents, 500 students, and 900 members of the general public) views on climate change and climate change education. The results show that there is strong support for schools to be doing more to educate young people about climate change from all respondent groups. The survey also provides the first comprehensive snapshot of climate change education practices in Canadian classrooms—in terms of hours of instruction, subjects, teacher self-reported preparedness, and instructional strategies used. The data is being shared through knowledge mobilization sessions, in which senior policy-makers are brought together along with youth, teachers, education associations, faculties of education, educational foundations, and non-profits to review the data and then develop action plans for addressing gaps in climate change education policy and practice.

As an educator, I bring experience in facilitating experiential inquiry and community-focused learning processes, which are embedded within social dimensions of education, such as leadership, democracy, citizenship, diversity and equity. I have worked as a contract lecturer in the Faculty since January 2017, and have also worked as a professional development consultant for Learning for a Sustainable Future since 2017, leading climate inquiry workshops for over 800 teachers across Canada. While the challenges facing schools are myriad, there are so many passionate and critically-minded teachers and administrators working hard to prepare young people for the complex world they are inheriting that I remain stubbornly optimistic of our education systems’ capacity to pivot to emerging dynamics as they unfold. I look forward to this continued opportunity to teach and learn with students and colleagues at LU!”