Category: Awards and Recognition

Grad student recipient of the APEG Saskatchewan Award

Graduate student Megan Moore is the recipient of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists Saskatchewan (APEG) 2020 Friends of the Profession Award.

“The Friend of the Professions Award was created in 2013 to recognize exceptional achievements or unique contributions by a non-member in the promotion of the professions in Saskatchewan.

Moore is the Program Coordinator for the Educating Youth in Engineering and Science (EYES) Program at the University of Regina. EYES operates through the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Sciences and reaches more than 30,000 youth in Saskatchewan each year.

Megan began working with EYES in September 2016, but has been working with youth in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programming since May 2013 with Destination Exploration at the University of Lethbridge. Megan graduated from the University of Lethbridge in 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts and Science in Biological Science and Psychology.

She currently is studying for a Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Regina. Megan has always had a passion for STEM outreach and education. She volunteered with Let’s Talk Science and the Canada Wide Science Fair while she was attending the University of Lethbridge.

Megan is always in search of innovative ways to inspire youth to love STEM as much as she does. There is nothing more exciting for Megan then getting to experience the “a-ha” moment when a youth experiences the wonder of STEM.

Having grown up in a small rural community, Megan is passionate about equitable access for all youth regardless of socio-economic status, gender, sexuality, disability or any non-traditional status that may prevent youth from seeing themselves in STEM. Megan works tirelessly to build safe spaces for youth and continues to disrupt established STEM spaces. She truly believes that everyone deserves the opportunity to be great and that it is her duty to ensure that EYES is accessible for everyone.” (Source:

Cynthia Chamber Award recipient

Congratulations to alumna Jessica Irvine recipient of the CSSE-SCEE Cynthia Chambers Award for her master’s thesis, Writing and Teaching Curriculum With Relationships in Our Place: A Critical Meta-Analysis of Saskatchewan Core French Curricula’s Cultural Indicators, which she successfully defended on November 29, 2019. Irvine was supervised by Dr. Heather Phipps. Her Committee members were Dr. Valerie Mulholland and Dr. Anna-Leah King. The External Examiner was Dr. Michale Akinpelu, La Cité Universitaire Francophone. Watch for the full story in the next issue of Education News.

Outstanding Young Alumni Award recipient

Alumna Christine Selinger

Christine Selinger (BEd’11/BSc’11) is recipient of the URegina 2020 Outstanding Young Alumni Award.

Christine Selinger is a dedicated advocate, athlete, and volunteer. As a student at the University of Regina, she was the first paraplegic woman to traverse the rugged Nootka Trail, became president of several student societies, and was a recipient of the President’s Medal. Today, Christine is a two-time world champion in para-canoe, an educator, and an emerging leader in sexuality and disability.

Christine sustained a spinal cord injury at the age of 19. Subsequently, she completed two concurrent Bachelor’s degrees in Mathematics and Education. She worked as a Peer Support Coordinator for the Canadian Paraplegic Association (CPA) and Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Ontario. Through her openness and candour about living life with a spinal cord injury, she has had a tremendous impact on the lives of individuals with recent spinal cord injuries.

Christine was a Canadian National ParaCanoe Athlete from 2008–2013, a two-time World Champion, and Saskatchewan Athlete of the Month in August 2010. She was also short-listed as International Paralympic Committee Athlete of the Month in August 2011.

In her professional and personal life, Christine bravely faces challenges to help improve the lives of people with disabilities. Her contributions to promoting women with disabilities in sport and her advocacy for the community of persons with disabilities, particularly related to issues of sexuality, make her an extraordinary member of the University of Regina alumni community. (From 2020 Alumni Crowning Achievement Award Recipients page)

Read an interview with Christine from 2017

Alumna receives U of R Professional Achievement Award

Alumna Rosalie Tsannie-Burseth MEd’01 is recipient of the U of R Professional Achievement Award

Rosalie Tsannie-Burseth has been a leader in education for 30 years as a teacher, a principal, and a Director of Education. She is an advocate for First Nations language and culture and a role model for many, including those in her northern home community of Wollaston Lake.

Rosalie has overcome many obstacles to become the respected trailblazer she is today. She is a Residential School Survivor who was taunted and forbidden to speak her language, yet persevered. She defied cultural expectations with her education and career path, paving the way for other women in her community and beyond.

Rosalie has served as the Director of Education at Hatchet Lake First Nation, as the Chief of her community, and most recently, as Associate Director with the Prince Albert Grand Council. She has received numerous awards, including the Governor General’s Citizenship Award, the Awasis Award, the Role Model Award, Women of the Dawn Award, and the Lieutenant Governor’s Award.

Read news post from La Ronge Now

Alumna recipient of Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence in STEM

Heather Faris

In May 2019, alumna Heather Faris (formerly Haynes) got the news that she was a recipient of the Prime Minister’s Award for teaching excellence in STEM. Regina-raised Faris’s first thoughts were, “It’s just what I do! Talent is from God. I have a wonderful opportunity in this school to get to be the off-beat, artsy-thinking teacher. I’m like, get an award for it?! I did not expect it and it was such an honour!” Faris adds, “When my principal told me that she was working with a group of people to nominate me, it brings a person to tears, it’s so humbling…but at the same time affirms that this is what I am built and born to do.”

Surprisingly, Faris wasn’t always headed for the teaching profession. She had an interest in biology, which began with dissecting earthworms in Grade 7 and with a love for the outdoors: “Just being outside on the farm with my Grandpa, walking in the fields, gardening, and knowing that I loved being outside in a way that not everybody did.” Thus, her first year at the University of Regina, after graduating from Sister McGuigan High School in 1989, was spent studying biology with the goal of becoming a vet. “My art teacher, Rand Teed, had set me up in high school with the Regina Animal Clinic,” she explains. Then, because she would “pass out every time they started to operate,” Faris decided some hands on experience at the Humane Society would help her and it did.

However, two years of working with animals at the Humane Society had given Faris a clearer view of what she wanted to do: she decided to become a teacher. “I was that kid who had the classroom set up in my basement and corrected work. I found it really fun then,” she laughs. In 1995, Faris graduated with her B.Ed. After travelling a bit, she then came back to teach as a substitute in Regina Catholic schools. After only two days of subbing, she was interviewed and given a short term contract at St. Augustine Community School to teach Grades 5 to 8 science. Then she was hired full-time at Archbishop M. C. O’Neill High School. Thus began her, at this point, 22-year teaching career, including teaching science at Dr. Martin LeBoldus and currently senior science teacher at Miller Comprehensive High School.

When asked what qualities she thinks make for excellence in teaching, Faris responded, “There are a lot of qualities that make a good teacher that I possess but others don’t necessarily possess. And others possess qualities that make them good teachers that I don’t necessarily possess. So we are not all the same, we are very different. But a quality that makes me a good teacher is that I’m creative. I love creating, I wake up in the night because I realize how I can re-imagine that lesson and make it better. That’s one of my strengths.” Faris believes that all scientists are creative beings, pointing to Leeuwenhoek, DaVinci, and Bacon.

A second quality that makes for excellence is being observant. Faris’s science teaching has been inspired by what an art teacher once told her: “Draw what you see, not what you think you see.” For Faris that means, “Observe what you see, what you hear, what you smell, what you taste, what you touch. Not what you think you see, hear, smell, taste, and touch.” One can achieve this, she says, “by really being in the moment. I tell my students to walk through life with their eyes open. That means don’t put in the headphones, or put up the hoodie. Look around and ask, ‘Why does grass not grow under a pine tree but it grows under the deciduous trees? Why do these trees have seeds and those trees do not? Trust in yourself to hypothesize as to why.’ It’s the synthesis of life when you walk with your eyes open.”

Passion for learning is a third quality that Faris thinks is important to demonstrate. She is a model of active learning for her students as she continues to learn. As an example, she says, “All my students know I have guitar lessons on Tuesdays at 3:30.”

Faris’s passion for learning extends to her craft in teaching biology. In 2010, Faris returned to the U of R to do a Master’s in Education. Through her research, she tested her own hypotheses about teaching and learning biology. She knew the follow-the-recipe approach to labs had to change for science to become richer and more engaging for her students. Following a set of instructions and modelling the steps was not giving students an understanding of why the experiment worked or didn’t work. She developed a new lab procedure, which she now calls an investigation or inquiry rather than lab: “I called it turning labs inside out. Push the bottom to the top. Leave the middle out, get there how you want to.” In their investigations, students are given an endpoint, for instance to create osmosis diffusion, and they are given all the materials they need to achieve the endpoint. No instructions are given. Students then spend one day in the library to discover how the materials work and what they do. Then they are given five days to play. They work in teams and can consult with other teams, but not her. At the end, students do photo write ups. “The story takes us on paths of things that didn’t work and things that did, to the end point. So much of science is what didn’t work. Like cancer research is not a direct path to success. The students told me it taught them to stick with it and not to give up. And about how big small successes were when they had a hypothesis about something such as how Benedict solution works.” The research validated what Faris was doing and hearing from her students about how they were engaged.

Excellence for Faris has also developed through participating in curriculum development with the Ministry of Education, through research opportunities such as an NSERC CRYSTAL project, and through seeing connections within the science curriculums, such as biochemistry and its connection to the health sciences and body systems.

Faris sees her role as being effective because of her care of students, more than a love for science: “I don’t just teach my students science. Science is my vehicle. At the end of the day, it is not about these facts of science. At the end of the day [it’s about] if I can teach them about the love of learning, about being their awesome selves, and about being where they are. They come here to learn about who they want to be in the world.” Faris considers her students the wind beneath her wings: “When they come in and say this is my favourite class, I say, really? We haven’t even done anything cool yet.”

As Faris considers her future steps, she says, “I’m just walking and things unfold. We will have to see how it unfolds. I’ve never experienced a change I didn’t like better.”

You can read Faris’s Master’s thesis here:

Alumna Brianne Urzada Recipient of Humanitarian and Community Service Award

Alumna Brianne Urzada. Photo source: CBC
Congratulations to Brianne Urzada, BA/BEd’12 (with distinction), recipient of the Humanitarian and Community Service Award, University of Regina Alumni Crowning Achievement Awards.
At the age of 23, this art educator’s life was turned upside down when she received a diagnosis of stage three Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Now cancer free, Brianne is using her experience and talents to improve the lives of others with cancer in the community. Brianne is the founder of Arthouse, a program that offers free art classes to cancer patients and survivors. The inspiration for the program was Brianne’s own experiences during cancer treatment and the power of the creative process, especially during a time when so much is out of one’s control. Arthouse is a place where the therapeutic and meditative qualities of art are shared. It offers patients opportunities to unwind and connect with people going through similar experiences. She has also hosted many fundraisers to showcase her art, including the incredibly successful 5 Stages Art Show which raised $63,000 for the Allan Blair Cancer Centre.

Grad student recipient of Governor General’s Academic Gold Medal

Congratulations to Dr. Joanne Weber, recipient of the Spring 2019 Governor General’s Academic Gold Medal for outstanding academic achievement by a graduate student. Weber is receiving a Doctor of Philosophy in Education with a grade point average of 89.83 per cent. Weber completed her course work, project, and dissertation within four and a half years while also working full-time for the Regina Public School Board as the only deaf teacher of deaf students in the province. Supervised by Dr. Fatima Pirbhai-Illich, Dr. Weber’s PhD dissertation is titled, “Becoming Deaf in the Posthuman Era: Posthumanism, Arts-based Research.” Her defense was so outstanding that she was offered a position with an international research consortium housed at the University of British Columbia.


Click on image to download the Q&A with Dr. Joanne Weber

Faculty member recipient of the Jack MacKenzie Career Service Award

Dr. Nick Forsberg, Professor of Health, Outdoor, Physical Education (HOPE), was the inaugural recipient of the Jack MacKenzie Career Service award, which was presented at the Saskatchewan Physical Education Association 2019 Conference,”Celebrating Diversity,”  held May 9 and 10, 2019.

Saskatchewan Physical Education Association Conference is committed to supporting teachers of Physical Education throughout the province in their implementation of the curriculum. Celebrating Diversity will be structured for our delegates to engage in sessions that will help them meet the ever-changing, diverse needs of their students in physical education.

Saskatchewan Book Awards – Publishing in Education Award

Dissident Knowledge in Higher Education co-edited by Marc Spooner and James McNinch won the Publisher’s Award at the Saskatchewan Book Awards April 27, 2019 Photo credit: Budd Hall, Congress 2018 Book launch. University of Regina Press.

Dissident Knowledge in Higher Education co-edited by Marc Spooner and James McNinch won the award for Publishing in Education at the Saskatchewan Book Awards April 27, 2019

James McNinch and Marc Spooner at the Sask Book Awards. Photo credit: Karen McIver

PHE Researcher of the month

Once a month the PHE Canada Research Council selects one of its members to profile as Researcher of the Month. Whether it’s a university level teacher, academic, or graduate student, whoever is advancing research centered on topics and issues in physical and health education the Council wants to highlight. Do you know a PHE Canada Research Council member who’s professional ideals & service strengthens the physical and health education sector? Whose research & writing drives change forward? Who’s commitment and dedication to the field?


Researcher of the Month

Dr. Alexandra Stoddart is an Assistant Professor in the Health, Outdoor and Physical Education (HOPE) subject area in the Faculty of Education at the University of Regina. Before joining the U of R as a faculty member in January 2018, she completed her Ph.D. in Kinesiology at the University of Saskatchewan. Alexandra currently teaches HOPE undergraduate courses in both the Elementary and Secondary programs. She enjoys the opportunity to see her students learn, grow, and thrive as they engage in their pre-internship and internship experiences.

(Source: )