Category: Retirements

Hard work and a little luck

Jean Dufresne retired from the University of Regina after a 19-year career.

Teaching was something Jean Dufresne wanted to do from as far back as he can remember. The first university-trained teacher in his family, Jean says, “It started early for me. In Scouts, as a volunteer, even in the Naval Reserve, I was always placed in an instructional role.”

In terms of credentials, Jean’s path to a 35-year career as a teacher and then teacher educator was unusual: “I have a BA with a major in history and a minor in education,” says Jean, who graduated from Université Laval in Quebec City in the 80s.

Jean’s career included teaching social studies and history in both secondary and postsecondary settings, writing French immersion curriculum guides, and teaching in, and finally directing, the University of Regina’s Baccalauréat en Éducation française (le Bac) program. Jean became a specialist in language development and a specialist tutor for French tests. “I always thought I would be a history teacher and I became a French teacher. I was never the best at French in high school. Yet, I was lucky enough to be offered opportunities and flexible enough to give them a try,” says Jean.

These opportunities, Jean attributes to his relocation to Saskatchewan in the fall of ’86 to be with his future wife Anne Brochu Lambert, who was working with Radio Canada (French CBC). “There were 100 people like me in Quebec City. Here, I was special. In Québec, just one among others,” says Jean.

“I also came to see the prospects for becoming a teacher in Saskatchewan.” says Jean. To become a certified teacher here, Jean had to earn an extra 15 credits of French for the equivalent of a French minor. This he did through le Bac, becoming one of the students in the first cohort of the French education program in the final term. He did not know at the time that the longest stretch of his career would be with le Bac.

Jean was hired in ’87 at Dr. Martin LeBoldus where he taught mostly history and social studies until 1994, when he was seconded to the Ministry of Education for a 4-year project in which he wrote the curriculum guides for Secondary French Immersion (10, 20, 30, and Intégré A20 and B20). After this accomplishment, he went back to teaching, eventually returning to LeBoldus full-time and becoming department head in 2000/01.

Three years later, Jean was seconded to the le Bac program. Teaching at the University of Regina was a big transition. Jean says, “In 2003, school divisions were just starting to tighten their purses. The University felt rich by comparison. You could still print what you wanted to print. You were not counting your copies. Work was at another level, dealing more with adults. It was a welcome change. Same with the ministry, I was lucky. I’ve been lucky all my life. I worked hard; the harder you work the luckier you get. But luck is also a factor.”

Still, as a secondment, Jean didn’t know beyond his 2-year terms where he would be next. However, 2 years stretched into several years. As Jean says, “I ended up being lucky for 14 years. I also have my school division to thank for this. They allowed me to stay instead of recalling me, or asking me to resign.”

In 2017, at the 30-year mark with the Regina Catholic School Division, Jean retired and was officially employed by the University of Regina. Two years later, he accepted the role of director of le Bac, where he finished out his career.

The director’s role was challenging in many ways. “I wasn’t expecting to become le Bac director,” says Jean. “The Faculty suggested that I should apply, so I did. What I learned is that it took a lot of me. The price was steep. I really enjoyed the classroom teaching and dealing with my students with le Bac. I was essentially the pre-internship year secondary person, so I was able to teach a few courses with the same students, and be involved in a capacity that I understood: my courses, my old curriculum guide, my resources, my students—that part I enjoyed. Being a director, especially during a pandemic, became very demanding. There are aspects of the job, though it is essentially a program chair, that make it more challenging: For example, we have to budget the Federal Government funding and create annual financial reports.” Added to the situation was the loss of several staff members in le Bac (though since then le Bac has new staff members).

Moving online through the pandemic created another set of challenges. “You teach French education in Saskatchewan in French, so the environment is important. Some students flourished online but I think the majority did not and it did have consequences on language skills a little bit. We see the effect now with the internships; some students are in the classroom for the first time, and they are facing challenges that they haven’t met before,” says Jean.

Yet, the flip side of the challenges was the highlight for Jean: “There’s a good side: I finished my mandate, and my thanks to the faculty who trusted me enough to choose me as the director. That is important to me. It is hard work, but it is important, and I believe the work was done decently. This is certainly a highlight.”

Looking back, Jean remembers other interesting challenges/highlights: “When we did the program review, finishing it in 2006/07 with Bernard Laplante as director, that was challenging; that was interesting. We were looking at courses and programs, we tried to find a perfect mix of compulsory courses and electives and all that. We had language tests. Le Bac had good quality programs and we were growing. By 2019, le Bac had grown from 75 students to 166, but our resources didn’t follow so we had to be a little bit more modest and cap ourselves at 140.”

Reflecting further on the growth and changes he has seen in le Bac over the years, Jean says, “The first cohort of students going through the 4-year elementary French education program started in ’83. They did their second year at Université Laval in Quebec City. From the beginning, that ‘immersion year’ was important. In ’91, we created a secondary French education program. For le Bac, immigration really changed things around 2010. Francophone newcomers who wanted to become teachers came with individualized needs, and we had to adapt the program to help them achieve their goals. There is also a big difference between 2000 and 2020 in our approach to students. Recruiting and retaining students has become a survival issue, and we now do everything we can to recruit and keep students, which becomes a lot of extra work. In le Bac, we do tutorials to prepare students, we have really personalized services, small classes, and a team in Quebec City that follows them during their second year. The director goes to see the students in Quebec City each year and the deans are in touch with each other. We are trying to find alternatives to ensure every student who can be successful, is successful. This is also part of the Faculty’s philosophy.”

What Jean has learned over the years is that what matters in teacher education is “trust and personal contact.” Jean says, “Proper education is a professional relationship between people who are teaching and learning, and trust is important in that relationship. If students know and understand what we are doing and if they are respected, they go accordingly. If there is a lack of trust, and it happens sometimes, then it creates issues. When students first get out of the university they want to be the best teachers they can be; they’re really centered on their subject areas, but they figure out very quickly that relationship is key. There is no teaching without a relationship. Reconciliation helped us understand the weight, the heavy burden, of residential schools because there was a loss, or a lack of trust if there was trust in the beginning. If you don’t have trust, failure is almost certain.”

As parting advice, Jean recommends that the Faculty, “keep an eye on le Bac in the future. Continue to ensure that le Bac is staffed properly. Make sure French services are recognized and appreciated in the future as they are now, and not always seen as a burden even though it is extra work. La Cité is now a Faculty. This is great news; it means we now have La Cité colleagues to help us with faculty resources. However, there is a caveat, let’s be careful. We have to be sure that le Bac students are well-served by both Faculties. I hope the next dean will be able, as Dean Cranston has done, to figure out the role of le Bac program and make sure it has room to grow at the University of Regina.”

Overall, Jean’s feelings about his career are positive: “I’m very grateful to the Faculty, to le Bac program, and to Regina Catholic School Division because they’ve allowed me to grow in the profession. I understand things today I didn’t understand 20 years ago. For example, I understand more about reconciliation because I was part of this Faculty. I’ve had discussions with elders that I would not have had otherwise. I’m very grateful.”

Retirement – Patrick Lewis

Happy Retirement to Dr. Patrick Lewis who retired at the end of June 2022. Dr. Lewis has served in the Faculty of Education in the Early childhood education since 2004. From 2009 to 2018, Dr. Lewis and Dr. Marc Spooner hosted the popular barroom talks, Talkin’ About Schools and Society, which brought in speakers such as Dr. Michael Apple, Dr. Angela Davis, Dr. Zeus Lenardo, and Dr. Patti Lather, to name a few.  He also served on multiple committees including the Education Advisory Circle (formerly known as Indigenous Advisory Circle). Lewis served in the role of Associate Dean of Human Resources Development from 2018 – 2021.  The Faculty celebrated with Patrick on June 23, 2022.


Retirement – Jean Dufresne

Happy Retirement to Jean Dufresne who retired at the end of June 2022. Jean has served in the Faculty of Education and the le Bac program since his secondment from the Regina Catholic Schools in 2003. In 2017, Jean accepted a position as lecturer in the Bac program and from 2019 to 2022 he served in the role of Directeur of le Bac programme. He has been an outstanding teacher educator and an important member of the Bac team. He is well-respected by colleagues across the University and within the Regina Catholic, Public, and CEF School Divisions. The Faculty celebrated with Jean on June 23, 2022.


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

“I need to be in the quinzhee, not just talk about it!” Embodying our pedagogy

Following in his mother’s footsteps, a teacher before she married back in a time when women had to give up their profession if they married, Nick Forsberg knew he wanted to become a teacher. He still remembers the anticipation he felt when he opened his acceptance letter. While an Education student, he worked hard, fast tracking his program while playing volleyball with the Cougars, and even socializing enough to enjoy the life of a university student. After a very full 3½ years, in 1984, Nick graduated with his B.Ed. He then had the privilege of going back to his hometown of Chaplin, Saskatchewan to teach alongside his former teachers.

Before long, Nick began his master’s degree at Northern Illinois University (NIU). Dr. Larry Lang had encouraged Nick to follow in his own steps, to take his master’s in outdoor teacher education from NIU. Further, Nick says, “The people I was reading about in outdoor education during my undergraduate years were on faculty at this university.” After finishing his Master’s in 1987, Nick moved back to Regina to teach at Dieppe Elementary School and he also taught the Winter Outdoor Course as a sessional at the U of R. In 1988, Nick was offered a full-time term appointment, which eventually transitioned to a tenure-track position. This was the beginning of a 32-year career with the Faculty of Education. As a requirement of his employment, Nick began his PhD in 1992 with the University of Alberta, and took 1 year off from teaching at the U of R to do his residency in Edmonton and successfully defended his dissertation in 1995.

Nick points to his undergraduate and faculty experiences at OCRE (Off Campus Residential Experience) held at Fort San, Saskatchewan for many years, as the opportunity that changed the course of his career. “Everybody went, 120 students and the current faculty, 3 days in fall and 3 days in winter.” OCRE was so influential that it became the topic of Nick’s dissertation. The reason OCRE was significant was “because we did it, we didn’t just talk about it,” says Nick, “The experience modeled that relational quality in teaching where teaching and learning become real…Professors and students teaching and learning in the outdoors, eating together, and, if they wanted, sleeping in a tent or teepee in fall or a quinzhee in winter—the outdoors leveled the playing field—We were all just people.”

An insight Nick gleaned from the OCRE experience was that “teaching and learning are not confined to a four-walled building or classroom.” He refers to the late Dr. Garth Pickard’s regular question about exit and enter signs above doors in buildings, asking, “When we leave the building are we exiting or entering a way of teaching and learning? Maybe these signs should be reversed: exit signs on the outside and enter signs on the inside.”

Nick has vivid memories of colleagues teaching their subject matter outdoors, often through an interdisciplinary lens. Reminiscing about the days before budget cuts took OCRE and its later version PLACE (Professional Learning as Community Experience) out of the program, Nick points out that being out on the land at OCRE was a natural way of teaching and learning content. “We also learned alongside our colleagues from SIFC (now FNUC) and SUNTEP as well as the Bac program. Being on the land created an embodied living curriculum and we engaged in this experientially.”

Some major influences who encouraged Nick’s path in health, outdoor and physical education (HOPE) include Dr. Larry Lang, Dr. Garth Pickard, Dr. LeOra Cordis, Dr. Meredith Cherland, and Dr. Ray Petracek. Nick says, “The embodiment of what I experienced as an undergrad drew me to work at the U of R because of the respect I had for the professors who taught me. The relational quality they modelled, I wanted to emulate in the Faculty.”

Nick continues, “The privilege of teaching alongside my former professors was very gratifying. They invested their time in me, so I felt a responsibility to pass that forward to my students, and to get in the trenches and teach.” But, beyond their encouragement, Nick says, “I always felt that I could have a greater impact by teaching future teachers. I wanted to help shape the field of education and to create a voice for health, outdoor and physical education and the vital role it plays in the lives of children and youth.”

To further his influence, in 2003, Nick took on the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs role: “Working with undergrad programs—that was my passion—finding ways to meet with faculty in groups and talk about programs and the ways to deliver the best program.”

Over the years, Nick also chaired the HOPE subject area and sat on various committees and external boards, at one point serving as president of the Canadian Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (CAHPERD–now PHE Canada). It was meaningful, to “find a network of colleagues with a similar passion for human movement and the critical importance of the outdoors, and to have the opportunity to sit around tables and influence changes provincially and nationally,” says Nick.

Nick fondly recalls his summer outdoor education class that he taught every 2 to 3 years, where he took students for a 3-week trip on the Churchill River in northern Saskatchewan. Part of the experience was a “solo,” where students were dropped off on an island by themselves for 25 -30 hours. “It was an opportunity to be by yourself without technology. We believed that this experience allowed students to take time for inward reflection. Students were always saying, ‘Don’t take solo out of the course. It’s the best thing I could have done.’ For some, the experience was like an epiphany.” says Nick.

Quoting Nel Noddings, “We live storied lives and we tell stories about our lives,” in answer to the question of what advice he offers colleagues, Nick says: “Invest in what it means to be a pedagogue, know the stories about teaching and embody those stories. Know the story of the teacher education program of the Faculty of Education. We have a responsibility to the voices that came before us. Never lose sight about why you are here and continue the story.”

In answer to the question of what is significant about the work done in the Faculty of Education, Nick says, “The responsibility of our work may seem simple but it is complex because we work with people. It’s a huge responsibility to help prepare and support (be)coming teachers who will influence children for 12 years of their lives. This work requires humility, and we need to walk alongside these future teachers and experience what they experience. It’s living that story: ‘I need to be in the quinzhee, not just talk about it.’”

As he retires, Nick has no intention of taking a break from teaching: “I plan to engage in leadership development but I want to do this experientially and through the outdoors. I believe this truly allows us to ‘see’ the human side in all of us and for who we are.” He’s moving to his classroom of choice, the great outdoors, allowing nature to do its work. “But more importantly,” says Nick, “I’m looking forward to more time with my family who unselfishly gave their time for me to pursue my passion for the past 32 years, mixed in with time for some paddling and golf!”

Laurie Carlson Berg – Retirement

After 22 years of service with the Faculty of Education, Dr. Laurie Carlson Berg retired in July 2021. Laurie served as a faculty member in le Bac programme and served as the Director of le Bac program from July 2016 until June 2019. Laurie has taken on a new leadership role with the Université de l’Ontario français in Toronto.

View a retirement slideshow:

Retirement – Larry Steeves

Prior to joining the Faculty of Education as an Assistant Professor in January 2007, Dr. Larry Steeves was a public servant for over 30 years in the K–12 education and government sectors. Steeves brought to his Faculty position a variety of experiences as a classroom teacher, coordinator of guidance services, principal and a director of education. As well, Steeves brought his experiences within the Saskatchewan provincial government, including time as Associate Deputy Minister in Government Relations and Aboriginal Affairs, Deputy Minister of Northern Affairs, and Associate Deputy Minister in Learning, including responsibilities as the Saskatchewan representative to the Board of Governors of the First Nations University of Canada.

Steeves says his most memorable experience in his 14 years within the Faculty was the work environment. “I greatly enjoyed my time as a colleague within our Faculty—what commenced as a 5-year commitment gradually extended as new opportunities arose.” As examples of the work environment, Steeves mentions Indigenous research, course development, and the creation of an online Educational Leadership program. The relationships Steeves has been “privileged to develop” are his “primary reason for remaining related to the Faculty,” says Steeves. He values all the relationships developed through the differing settings in his work career: “All provided great opportunities, challenges and relationships. But I have to say that the environment within our Faculty made it easy for me to stay. It was a wonderful place to work—and to make a contribution. I was blessed.”

As advice to Faculty colleagues, Steeves says, “I would only say that our work is important—supporting the development of future teachers and leaders within the K-12 sector is vital. We need to continue this work. As I leave my colleagues for retirement, I know that we face difficult times. I can only say that these challenges occur in any career—this one will be dealt with and will pass. It may leave changes, potentially even profound ones—but the work that we do remains. The work —and the need for it—will continue.”

Steeves is working towards the next phase of his life in a beautiful location: Victoria, B.C. He hopes to have more personal and family time, “but also to continue making a small contribution to our work.” He wishes colleagues the best in coming times.

Retirement – Paddy Dishington

Paddy Dishington began her 38-year career with the University of Regina in 1982. Her first position was an Accounts Payable Clerk I in the Business Office, now known as Financial Services. When a new Clerk II position was advertised in 1983, Dishington says, “I decided I would apply thinking if I got it, great, but if I didn’t, I would go ahead with my plans to go to England to visit my mom’s family and also travel through Europe.” When Dishington heard she didn’t get the position, she packed her bags for England. “I got one of the best adventures of my life, traveling to eight European countries and then staying with my family in England.”

One month after her return, Dishington was offered a new term position: “The University was setting up a new financial system and wanted to know if I would help. I accepted and never looked back.” After this term, Dishington returned to her former position as an A/P Clerk. Dishington quickly worked her way up to the Accounts Payable Supervisor, a position she held until March 1999 when she joined the Faculty of Education as Senior Finance & Administrative Assistant.

“Over those years in Accounts Payable, I dealt with Reta Common from the Faculty of Education frequently and she always had good things to say about the Faculty,” says Dishington. Common made a good impression, and Dishington determined that if she moved to a new position on campus, it would be to the Faculty of Education. When a position was posted in 1999, Dishington applied and was hired.

Dishington says, “During my 22 years in the Faculty of Education, I worked with three Faculty Administrators and six Deans, plus many faculty, sessionals and others all coming and going. Meeting and interacting with all the different people over the years was both very enjoyable and fascinating.”

Dishington was able to make some lifelong friendships in the Faculty.

Dishington is now settling into a well-earned retirement. She plans to focus on time with her husband and children, and “Chewy, our furbaby.” When the pandemic restrictions are over, Dishington hopes to travel again. “I would like to return to England to visit family especially my aunt who will be 94 this summer.” There are also plans to travel to Montreal to visit a son, and to travel and explore at leisure.

Dishington says, “As we were not able to have the typical gathering for my farewell, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your kind words, retirement wishes, and for the wonderful gifts I received. Hopefully we will be able to see each other soon and in the meantime keep well and stay safe!!”

Kristina Lee – Retirement

On June 30, 2020 Kristina Lee retired after more than 30 years in the Faculty of Education. Kristina began her first position with the Faculty of Education on Feb. 5, 1990 (almost straight off the plane from Singapore). The University of Regina, Faculty of Education has been her sole employer since her arrival in Canada. Kristina has worked closely with five Associate Deans during her career: Dr. Louisa Kozey, Dr. Caroline Krentz, Dr. Nick Forsberg, Dr. Heather Ryan and Dr. Val Mulholland.

Kristina also remembers former Deans including Dr. Bob Bryce, Dr. George Rickett, Dr. Michael Tymchak, Dr. Margaret McKinnon, Dr. James McNinch, Dr. Jennifer Tupper, and Dr. Andrea Sterzuk and her career concludes in the role of Executive Assistant to our current Dean, Dr. Jerome Cranston. Kristina says that she has seen many changes over the years and seen the Faculty go through good and hard times. Kristina is also grateful for the opportunity to earn her BEd degree in Adult Education and Training while employed at the University.

Retirement celebration

On February 5, 2020 faculty and staff gathered to show their appreciation of Louise Laverdiere, who retired February 14, after 30 years of service to the University of Regina.

Louise has had varied responsibilities during her time at the U of R. She started out her career at the U of R in 1989, where she worked in Purchasing and Accounts Payable until 1997. From there she worked in Payroll for a month, and then moved to a permanent position in Supply Management where she worked doing purchasing, ordering and requisitions until July 2001. For the next nine years she worked in the Faculty of Engineering, where her portfolio included a broad assortment of responsibilities. In 2010, Louise joined the Faculty of Education where she has worked as an administrative assistant, first in the Education Graduate Studies office and then for the last nine years in the PD and Field Placement Office. For her retirement, Louise will be enjoying more time with her five grandchildren, her husband Jeff, and time at their place at Katepwa Lake.