Category: New faculty

Faculty Spotlight | Dr. j wallace skelton, New Assistant Professor – Queer Studies in Education

Dr. j wallace skelton, Assistant Professor in Queer Studies in Education

As our spotlight series continues, we shine light on Dr. j wallace skelton, our new Assistant Professor in Queer Studies in Education. j says that students should consider taking a course in queer and trans studies because these courses “invite us to move beyond binaries, and to expect, respect, and celebrate people of all sexual orientations and gender identities.” This movement is important because, “It’s about making classrooms safe and welcoming and celebratory for 2SLGBTQ people, refusing to see heterosexuality and cissexuality as normal—heck about refusing the idea of normal. It’s about centering the views, experiences, and knowledge of 2SLGBTQ people, and about queering and transing curriculum. For me, it means doing this informed by Queer of Colour Critique, Disability Justice, Feminism and Social Justice,” says j.

j is inspired by bell hooks’ vision of education, “as a place of community building, where love and justice are not only possible, but also necessary.” As an educator and teacher educator, j says, “I am committed to children’s rights and children’s agency, and to moving away from education as a practice where a teacher has power over students. Movements towards education as a practice of justice and abolition excite me. Our justice is tied together, and we cannot create equity for one group at a time. I see this work as intersectional: anti-racism and decolonization are essential to just education.”

The research j has done focuses on trans justice: “I believe that imposing the gender binary on all people is an act of colonialism and deeply harmful. Focusing on the needs and desires of trans people means elevating the voices of people most harmed by this imposition, and creating greater freedom for all of us. I’m particularly interested in the needs and desires of Two-Spirit, Gender Independent, Nonbinary, and Trans children. My work is about creating education spaces, families, and communities where such children are believed, safe, and valued.”

j’s personal interests reflect the work j does as a professor: “Trans justice. Queer liberation. Yes, those are also my interests at work, but my work interests have grown out of my personal experience and my communities. I’m a parent of three children, and I am deeply interested in supporting them and learning from them.”

As advice to students, j says, “Be willing to be wrong. Being wrong means taking risks. It means putting together ideas and then sharing them, allowing them to be tested by others. It means a commitment to learning and to trying again. I think it’s really hard to be wrong in public but that kind of risk taking, listening, and learning is a powerful way to learn. Ask questions. Faculty are here to support you, and we will see your questions as an indication that you are engaged, learning, and wanting answers.”

New faculty – Minority language education (Francophone & immersion schools)

Mr. Stephen Davis accepted the full-time, tenure-track position in Minority Language Education (Francophone & Immersion Schools) (July 1, 2022). Mr. Davis will be nearing completion of his Ph.D. at the University of Regina with an anticipated defense in 2023. Mr. Davis holds a Master’s of Arts in Second Language Education from McGill University, a Baccalauréat en éducation (Distinction) from the University of Regina, and a Bachelor of Arts (Distinction) from the University of Saskatchewan. Mr. Davis’ research contributions broadly explore the perspectives and ideologies of educators with respect to refugee-background students in French immersion programs across the Canadian Prairies. His research examines the experiences of students with learning disabilities in French education, integrating inquiry and advocacy, focusing on equitable and inclusive French education, including newcomer learners and advocating for the inclusion of all learners.

Mr. Davis has also agreed to serve as the Interim Coordinateur of the Comité du Programme de la maîtrise en éducation française for a 1-year term while Dr. Heather Phipps is on sabbatical from September 1, 2022 to August 31, 2023.
Stephen joined the Faculty of Education in January 2020 as a term Lecturer and has been a valuable team member in le Bac.

New faculty – Queer studies in education

Dr. j wallace skelton accepted the full-time, tenure-track position in Queer Studies in Education (July 1, 2022). Dr. skelton holds a Ph.D. and Master’s of Education from the University of Toronto and a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from York University. Dr. skelton’s research contributions broadly explore trans theory, queer theory, child agency, co-research with children, community engaged research, research with an ethics of care, trans parents, arts-based research and asset-based research. Dr. skelton has been working in a post-doctorate position at Concordia University and involved in two research projects: a SSHRC-funded post-doctoral project that investigates ways parents are involved in advocacy on behalf of their trans and non-binary children, the needs of parent advocates, and how parent advocate roles shift overtime and an NSERC-funded partnership between Centennial College and Dr. skelton’s publishing company (Flamingo Rampant) entitled “Gender-Affirming, Life-Affirming: Centering Gender Independent, Trans, Non-binary and Intersex Youth in Puberty Education with Adaptive Interactive Media.”

New faculty – Physical education and outdoor/land-based education

Ms. Jennifer MacDonald accepted the full-time, tenure-track position in Physical Education and Outdoor/Land-Based Education (July 1, 2022). Ms. MacDonald is nearing completion of her Ph.D. at the University of Calgary with an anticipated defense in the autumn. She holds a Master’s of Education from the University of Ottawa; a Bachelor of Education from the University of Otago, New Zealand; and a Bachelor of Physical Education (Honours) from Brock University. Ms. MacDonald’s research contributions broadly explore social change, ecological healing, and truth and reconciliation. As a researcher and teacher educator she is committed to collaborating with communities, generating new knowledge for planning and teaching in ways that approach place, teaching, learning, relations, wellness, narrative, and curriculum differently. At a time of ecological crisis, her research program provides increased consideration, discussion, and education to help renew co-existence between humans and the natural world while simultaneously contribute to restoring right relations between Indigenous and settler people on this shared land.

Education News | Autumn 2021 issue

In This Issue:

A note from the Dean…..3
Stories about Indigenous education and unmarked gravesites in Canada…..4
Artistic expressions: masinahikêwin yêkâhk/ Writing in the sand poem…..10
Inaugural Gabriel Dumont Research Chair in Métis/Michif Education…..13
Education Students’ Society Truth and Reconciliation Week events…..16
Candidate for the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships Doctoral Awards 2021-2022 competition…..17
“I need to be in the quinzhee, not just talk about it!” Embodying our pedagogy…..18
Pimosayta: Learning to walk together slideshow…..21
Les étudiants du Bac mènent les activités de la Journée nationale de vérité et de réconciliation…..22
Le Bac student activities…..23
Funding and awards…..24
New faculty and staff…..26
Published research…..28

New faculty member – Coordinator of Field Education and Clinical Instructor

Donna Nikiforuk, B.Ed., M.Ed.

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.”


New faculty member – Eduational Leadership and Education Core Studies

Donna Swapp, PhD candidate

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.


New faculty member – Secondary English Education (High School)

Brittany Tomin, PhD candidate

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:

New faculty member – Digital Pedagogy and Literacies

Dr. Ehsan Akbari

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:


Journey of Becoming a (Trans-multi)culturally Responsive Educator

Dr. Latika Raisinghani is a lecturer in science and environmental education at the Faculty of Education

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