Donna Nikiforuk recently joined the Faculty of Education as the new Coordinator of Field Education and Clinical Instructor. Ms. Nikiforuk attended the University of Regina (U of R) for both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Education. She has 30 years of K – 12 experiences in Regina Public Schools as a teacher, arts education specialist, vice principal and principal, and she has taught as a sessional instructor at the U of R for the last 10 years. In addition, Ms. Nikiforuk is a certified Response Ability Pathways trainer bringing this skillset to her new role. Director of Professional Development and Field Experience, Dr. Kathryn Ricketts, says, “Donna brings a wonderful combination of in-school experience, credibility and leadership. Her familiarity with both the school system and university procedures will make her a valuable member of our faculty. We are looking forward to harnessing her expertise and passion in supporting our students in combination with our important field partners.”
Donna Swapp recently accepted a full-time, tenure-track position of Lecturer in Educational Leadership and Education Core Studies (ECS). Ms. Swapp is nearing completion of her PhD in the Critical Policy, Equity, and Leadership Studies cohort in the Faculty of Education at Western University in London, Ontario. Ms. Swapp has taught undergraduate and graduate courses, and designed pedagogy and content for bachelor’s and master’s classes. She holds a master’s in educational studies from Western University in London, Ontario; and a bachelor’s in educational administration from the University of West Indies in Grenada/Barbados. Prior to pursuing her graduate and post-graduate studies in Canada, Ms. Swapp taught secondary school for 11 years in her native Grenada. She has received several academic and research awards including the Daphne Lord Memorial Scholarship, an Ontario Graduate Scholarship, the Robert MacMillan Graduate Award in Educational Leadership, and the TA Townshend Gold Medal in Education. As a research assistant, she also collaborated with lead investigators on projects funded by SSHRC, Ontario Principals Council, and the Ontario Ministry of Education among others.
Brittany Tomin recently accepted the full-time, tenure track position of Lecturer – Secondary English Education (High School). Ms. Tomin is nearing completion of a PhD program in the Faculty of Education at York University in Toronto, Ontario. Her dissertation explores science fiction, creative world building, and radical democracy through collaborative digital storytelling with secondary students and teacher candidates. Ms. Tomin holds an MEd (2017) from York University, a BEd (2015) from Queen’s University, and a concurrent BA (Honours, 2014) from Trent University. Among other awards, she received the Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarships for both her master’s studies and her doctoral studies, and a Mitacs research training award for a study on professional development, digital storytelling, and world building titled “Speculative World Building and Professional Development in Secondary School Contexts.”
In this video, Tomin outlines her doctoral research:
Dr. Ehsan Akbari recently accepted the position of Lecturer and Coordinator of Digital Pedagogy and Literacies. Dr. Akbari completed a PhD in Art Education at Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec in November 2020. His dissertation explored, “Collective and Spatial Learning through Mobile Sensory Photography and Creative Cartography.” Dr. Akbari says his research “is anchored in the question of how technology can be used in classrooms to enrich teaching, learning, human interactions and environmental awareness.” He has a strong belief in the positive potential of technologies: “I believe strongly that the creative and thoughtful integration of digital, online, and mobile technologies can positively impact learning provided that educators understand that these tools serve people and not the other way around.” Dr. Akbari has developed creative and arts-based approaches that integrate technology, including collective online sensory mapping, smartphone photography, and soundscape composition. “My research has convinced me of the immense value of creative uses of technology for connecting learners to their surroundings, and sharing one’s unique perspectives and identities amongst peers. I embolden educators to think about ways of using tools to enrich human connections to places and to others,” says Dr. Akbari. To listen to and view some of Dr. Akbari’s art visit his website: http://www.ehsanakbari.com/gallery.html
Exponential growth in student diversity, the challenges posed by the current COVID-19 pandemic, and recent racial injustices in Canadian and global society, demand that we continue to explore ways to stimulate ongoing conversation and action that may invite education that is responsive to the needs of diverse students.
My journey to inquire about such an education began with exploring what culture is, how we define cultural diversity, and what culturally responsive education means in a multicultural country such as Canada. My doctoral study at the University of British Columbia exposed me to the complexities inherent in various dimensions of cultural diversity, the structural systemic inequities embedded in the education systems, and the politics of education that continue to marginalize many culturally diverse students in diversity-rich classrooms of Canada. What could be possible ways to respond to student diversity?
Informed by my doctoral research with K-12 teachers in Vancouver schools, I have conceptualized a (trans-multi)culturally responsive education framework as one way to do so. Amalgamating critical and transformational multicultural education perspectives and culturally responsive teaching, this framework invites educators to engage in critical self-reflective inquiries and initiate complicated conversations to interrogate the hidden curricula, recognize Other(ed) cultural knowledges (that are missing), and welcome multiplicity of lived experiences. Acknowledging culture as a dynamic way of life and cultural diversity as all cultural experiences that a student may bring into schools, a (trans-multi)culturally responsive education calls educators to cultivate critical cultural consciousness, embrace relational caring and develop empathetic relationships that may promote wholistic, socially-just, inclusive education, which cherishes diversity and engages with difference with solidarity and critique.
My efforts to invite educators in this transformational learning journey include organizing provincial professional development workshops for Ontario school principals and British Columbia teachers. As a member of the Faculty of Education at the University of Regina, I am continuing these efforts to invite (trans-multi)culturally responsive education through my engagements in teaching science and environmental education courses that focus on Indigeneity and responsiveness. My initiatives include contributing to the Fall 2020 Treaty 4 Gathering and co-initiating a Centre for Educational Research, Collaboration, and Development approved Knowledge Mobilization Project with Dr. Xia Ji on culturally responsive leadership for school leaders and administrators in Regina. Becoming a (trans-multi)culturally responsive educator is a life-long ideological and pedagogical commitment which necessitates what Mahatma Gandhi emphasized: “Be the change that you want to see in the world.” So, my journey of becoming a (trans-multi)culturally responsive educator continues, and I invite you to join me in this life-long journey.
By Dr. Latika Raininghani, Lecturer in the Faculty of Education
The Faculty of Education welcomes two new one-year term faculty members: Dr. Latika Raisinghani and Dr. Bree Fiissel.
Dr. Latika Raisinghani has accepted a lecturer position in Science and Environmental Education. She has taught as a substitute teacher with Regina Public Schools and has taught Science at the Elementary, Middle Years, and Secondary levels. Prior to February 2020, Dr. Raisinghani was at the University of British Columbia where she received a PhD in Curriculum Studies in Science Education.
Dr. Bree Fiissel has accepted a lecturer position in Educational Psychology. Dr. Fiissel completed her Masters and PhD in Educational Psychology in the Faculty of Education at the University of Regina and has been a sessional lecturer since 2018 . She has over 24 years of experience in providing therapeutic services to children, youth, adults and families in our local community. Dr. Fiissel is currently the Vice-President of Clinical Services at Ranch Ehrlo.
Kyle Robinson joined the Faculty of Education effective July 1, 2019 in a tenure track position in Inclusive Education. Robinson is near completion of his Ph.D. from Queen’s University with an anticipated defense date in early fall 2019. Robinson obtained his Master of Education (’15) in Cognitive Studies, a Bachelor of Education (’13), and a Bachelor of Arts, Honors (’12) from Queen’s University. He taught and served as a research and teaching assistant at Queen’s for the past six years.
Robinson has been the recipient of numerous awards, honours, grants and fellowships. His research is focused on developing a socially valid model of parental advocacy for children and youth, and his scholarly interest and commitment align well with the focus of the Inclusive Education subject area’s commitment to the developmental well-being of children and youth, and to the Faculty of Education’s commitment to social justice through holistic approaches to childhood development and learning.
Emily Ashton has joined the Faculty of Education, University of Regina in a tenure-track position specializing in Early Childhood Education effective July 1, 2019. Ashton is nearing completion of her Ph.D. from the University of Victoria, having obtained her Master’s of Education (2011), a Bachelor of Education (2004), and Bachelor of Arts (2002) from the University of New Brunswick.
Ashton has taught internationally in Malawi and has been a teaching assistant at both the University of Victoria and University of New Brunswick. During her graduate studies, Ashton was the recipient of numerous grants and fellowships, including the prestigious SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship, Canadian Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Commonwealth Scholarship, and a number of awards from the Universities of Victoria and New Brunswick. Ashton’s research explores how the cultural connections of childhood are being rewritten under conditions of ecological destruction and political uncertainty.
The Faculty of Education is pleased to announce that we will be welcoming Dr. Cristyne Hébert to our Faculty as an Assistant Professor on July 1, 2018 in a tenure-track position working in the area of Assessment and Evaluation.
Dr. Hébert earned a PhD in Education from York University in 2015 where she is currently a postdoctoral researcher. She has been the recipient of numerous awards and scholarships (including a SSHRC doctoral fellowship), authored many refereed publications and has extensive university teaching experience stemming from time spent in four Canadian universities. We know that Dr. Hébert will make strong contributions in the areas of teaching, scholarship, and service. We look forward to having her as a member of the Faculty and our community.
Heartfelt thanks to the members of the search committee: Dr. Paul Clarke (Chair), Dr. Christine Massing, Dr. Marc Spooner, Dr. Joël Thibeault and Dr. Kristi Wright (Psychology), and special thanks to Laurie Lindsay for all her organizational work.
Dr. Jerome Cranston of the University of Manitoba has accepted appointment as Dean of Education at the University of Regina. The appointment is effective 1 July 2018.
Dr. Cranston is presently the Executive Director, Student Engagement & Academic Success, and Associate Professor of Educational Administration at University of Manitoba. He holds a PhD from the University of Manitoba, an MEd from the University of Lethbridge, and both the BEd and the BSc from the University of Alberta.
Prior to assuming his current role as Executive Director, he was Associate Dean (Undergraduate Programs) in the Faculty of Education at the University of Manitoba. He is also an adjunct in Peace and Conflict Studies there, and a research associate with the Mauro Centre for Peace and Justice, and serves both on the Advisory Board and as a research affiliate for the Centre for Human Rights Research at the University of Manitoba. Dr. Cranston also serves on the Board of Directors for the Gonzaga Middle School in Winnipeg, a new school developed on the Nativity School model.
Before beginning his career at the University of Manitoba, he spent 16 years in the K-12 education system as teacher, principal, and superintendent in a career that spanned Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. Dr. Cranston is a scholar, practitioner, and learner in the broad field of educational administration, management, and leadership. He researches and teaches as part of a transdisciplinary international community of enquiry on topics of education, social injustice, peace, and human rights education.
Dr. Cranston’s work on teachers’ conceptions of peace in post-genocide Rwanda earned him a 2015 American Educational Research Association award in Peace Education.
Dr. Cranston characterizes himself as “an immigrant descended from tribal and Anglo-Burmese ancestors and Scottish forebears.” He writes that he is “both colonizer and also colonized, but consummately Brown and committed to building healthy and reciprocally respectful relationships across diverse communities. I am fortunate to have married my best friend and contributed to the development of three amazing grown children.”
Dr. Andrea Sterzuk will continue to serve as Acting Dean of Education until June 30, 2018.
Thanks again to the members of the Search Advisory Committee for their commitment to a thorough search process: Alec Couros, Jenn de Lugt, Rochelle Fenwick, Emily Grafton, Xia Ji, Tish Karpa, Kristina Lee, Barbara McNeil, Pamela Osmond-Johnson, and Michelle Sorenson. Thanks also to Nancy Kazeil of Human Resources and Bryanna Butz for their key contributions to the success of this search.
~Dr. Thomas Chase, Provost and Vice-President (Academic)