Category: U of R Front Page Stories (Education)

Weaving Stories Between Generations

By Costa Maragos Posted: February 3, 2016

Dr. Cindy Hanson, Associate Professor in Adult Education at the Faculty of Education, has formed a close relationship with Mapuche women in Southern Chile which has resulted in a book about her work with Mapuche weavers. Dr. Hanson is the author of “Weaving Stories Between Generations.” The book is the result of her research focussing on Mapuche women in southern Chile where Dr. Hanson has spent years getting to know the locals. The idea for a book came from the study participants in Chile.

Below are some random excerpts from Dr. Hanson’s book.

The Relationship with the Mapuche
My work with the Mapuche spans two decades. Way back in the 1990’s, I was teaching Native (Indigenous) Studies in rural Manitoba. I was learning about Indigenous cultures and peoples in Canada and I was also learning about issues that affected their daily lives, for example issues of colonialism that continue to cause harm.
Earlier in my life I had been active in working with Chilean refugees who were coming to Canada to escape the brutalities of Pinochet’s dictatorship.

In the early 1990’s I applied and received a Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) Professional Award that would take me to Chile for a six-month period to work with Casa de la Mujer Mapuche (House of the Mapuche Women) – a Mapuche women’s organization based in Temuco.

Casa de la Mujer Mapuche worked on areas of health and education, but most significantly it worked with women in 12 Mapuche communities – assisting them with improving and marketing their woven textiles.

Early impressions

Chile weavers
Weavers at Pitrufquén: “The women spoke with pride about weaving as the greatest heritage they have from their mother or grandmother.”

I remember being shocked at how Chile, in the post-dictatorship years, was changing. The 1990’s were early years of neoliberalism and Chile then was referred to as the dragon or jaguar of Latin America. Around Southern Chile however, the Mapuche seemed unaffected. They could still be found visiting the city with wooden carts and ponies. But, like other places, Canada included, the economic surges, were not sustainable – not for the environment or the people. The Mapuche of Argentina and Chile, like many other Indigenous peoples, continue to live off the land and hold a relationship to the land as sacred.
Living in Chile taught me about how the world was structured and how borders of nations and cultures are also determined by sex, race, class, ability and so on.

Inspiring Studies
Working with Mapuche women inspired me to pursue a Masters of Adult Education. I kept in contact with some of my friends around Temuco and eventually this research brought me back to Temuco again.

The Study
The study explored how Indigenous women in two countries – one in Southern Chile and the other in Northern Canada [several communities in Saskatchewan] – learned how to produce textiles. In total, I met with 23 Mapuche weavers in Chile.

Most of the women from the four Mapuche communities were not familiar with the other communities or with each other. A translator for Mapadugun to Spanish was also present and the women were encouraged to speak in Mapadugun. It was at the discussion group in Temuco, that the women involved in the study were asked how they would like to share the research with a wider community. They had many ideas, but after listing and ranking all the ideas, they agreed that a book about the research was what they wanted.

chile focus group
Lunch with the weavers who met in Temuco, Chile.

Changes and children
The women felt that urban migration and globalization have strongly impacted younger generations.
Furthermore, they confirmed that school curricula, especially in Chile, has ignored Indigenous knowledge. Many participants said children are now concerned with technology and making money, and not returning to Mapuche communities.

Weaving – integral to identity
Significant to this study were the stories generated by the women – a few of those stories are shared in this book. The women spoke with pride about weaving as the greatest heritage they have from their mother or grandmother and said it defines their sense of culture and pride. The stories from Mapuche women also mentioned that weaving reduced stress and led to feelings of well-being.

Dr. Cindy Hanson is Director of the Adult Education and Human Resource Development Unit at the U of R. She received assistance in her research from U of R doctoral students Romina Bedogni and Heather Fox Griffith. The research team collaborated with Indigenous scholars from Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Chile. Hanson was able to further her research thanks to a Memorandum of Understanding between the University of Regina and Universidad de la Frontera in Temuco, Chile. Funding assistance was provided by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. Weaving Stories between Generations is available for purchase at, Chapters-Indigo and Kobobooks.

Lucia Cheuquian Elgueta, Maria Angelica Relmuan Alvarez and Dr. Cindy Hanson. (Photo courtesy of Dr. Cindy Hanson).
Lucia Cheuquian Elgueta, Maria Angelica Relmuan Alvarez and Dr. Cindy Hanson. (Photo courtesy of Dr. Cindy Hanson).

New Mural Brightens Up a Corner of the Campus

By Costa Maragos (Reposted from U of R Feature Stories)

Each time Keith Adolph looks out of his office, he sees a work of art that brightens his day.

It’s a new mural that graces a wall at the Teaching Preparation Centre, a library and work space for education students located on the second floor of the education Building.

“It’s great. It draws me in and invites me to look at it longer,” says Adolph who is the Centre’s coordinator. “It feels like I’ve helped make this space a little more organic. It feels more like a learning space and a place for people to be in.”

The mural, called Spiritual Journey, is the work of Cliff Dubois, an artist from the Pasqua First Nation. Central to the theme are four buffalo, walking on sage, shown to signify various stages of life.

“The buffalo that are walking begin in the physical form and slowly fade, eventually making the journey to the spirit world,” says Dubois whose spiritual name is Strong Wind and is indicated by his trademark tiny tornado sketch in the lower right corner of his works. “At the end of the buffalo is a smudge with smouldering smoke that crosses the sky which represents the universe. The smudge offers purification for the soul.”

The mural became a reality thanks to the enthusiastic support of the Faculty of Education and other members of the campus community. The project was funded by the U of R’s Indigenous Advisory Circle.

Dr. Shauneen Pete, Executive Lead on Indigenization, recommended funding for the project.

“For me this project is very much in support of the Strategic Plan. Indigenizing spaces is about changing the physical spaces and by adding the signage and images,” says Dr. Pete. “This is a good way of realigning Indigenous imagery and making them prominent and normal. I can’t wait to see how our students respond to this image and the discussions it will provoke. I’m really happy with it.”

From the beginning, Adolph envisioned a mural with a First Nations theme.

“We’re on Treaty 4 land and with the Indigenization movement we see on campus, I want to be a part of that,” says Adolph. “I want the students coming into this space to feel they’re being represented.”

The mural is located in Room 228 of the Education Building. Adolph encourages you to drop by for a look.

The Faculty of Education prides itself on being one of the best in Canada and offers exciting opportunities. Please visit us here for more information.

Rethinking Research Measurements

An international conference at the University of Regina from July 23 to 25, 2015, will explore ways of measuring the impact of research and being more accountable to the public.

“We have to rethink what forms the products of research will take. Peer-reviewed journal articles may not always be appropriate or even desirable,” explains Dr. Marc Spooner, a professor of Education at the University of Regina and a co-organizer of the event along with Dr. James McNinch.

About 20 world-class guest speakers from Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States will be making presentations. More than 100 guests are expected to attend the event, including university presidents, professors, community members, government officials.

“Also, we have to do a better job of engaging the public,” says Dr. Spooner. “We have to be effective at explaining and disseminating our research findings both to the public and also to policy makers, stakeholders, government – including public talks, not just at the university but in our communities as well.”

Dr. Spooner says it’s significant that this important international event is taking place at the University of Regina.

“The U of R is innovative and fresh enough in our thinking to dare to have these perhaps difficult conversations about what counts as research and why. It’s the same with research impact. We are nimble, open-minded, and creative. We are bold enough to challenge the status quo, to interrogate tradition, and to trust open dialogue.”

Dr. Spooner believes that what counts as scholarly impact must continue to evolve.

“Important advances in community-based and participatory approaches to research – which involve our communities – continue to develop and become a more commonly applied type of scholarship,” he says.

“It means we are at the forefront of examining research impact and of engaging in meaningful scholarship. We have the opportunity to be a national and international leader in supporting and rewarding the wide array of valuable scholarship in all its manifestations our world so desperately needs,” he adds.

Reposted from U of R Feature Stories

By Dale Johnson

Education professor recipient of International Young Scholar Award

REPOST: By Dale Johnson Posted: May 27, 2015 U of R Feature Stories

What a difference a year makes.

Education professor Dr. Lee Schaefer attended the International Association for Higher Education in Physical Education (AIESEP) global conference for the first time last year in New Zealand. He says “I was star struck. All of these people from Europe, New Zealand, and Australia whose work you have been reading are now standing in front of you presenting. I left the conference inspired – and made a commitment to become more involved in the association.”

Well, he will certainly be more involved at this year’s conference, which will be held in Madrid, Spain, July 8 to 15, 2015.

Dr. Schaefer will be called up on stage and presented with a Young Scholar Award from AIESEP.  The award recognizes beginning scholars in the area of physical education and sport pedagogy who have made significant contributions to the field and portray scholarly promise for the future.

“My Dad is also going to be coming to Spain with me in July to watch the award ceremony, so it will be really special to have him there for that,” he says.

Dr. Schaefer is the only person in Canada to be so honoured. The other winners are from Australia, Belgium, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

“I was shocked when I found out that I had won the award. I’m really humbled. It means a lot to be recognized by an international organization that includes many of the most prolific researchers in the physical education pedagogy area. There are a number of amazing young scholars across Canada so to be chosen is really an honour,” says Dr. Schaefer.

Dr. Schaefer and the other winners have had their registration fees waived for the conference.

“Recognition like this makes you feel like the research and academic work you are doing matters to others, which is a great feeling. It was also certainly nice for family and friends to see this and get a sense of what I am actually doing at the university While this is an individual award, there is no way that it would have even been remotely possible without the support of my family – Laura, Everlee and Cove – and the collaboration of a number of friends and colleagues.”

Dr. Schaefer earned his B.Ed. at the University of Regina, and his M.Ed. and Ph.D. at the University of Alberta.

“This shows the increased emphasis and support for research is allowing faculty more opportunities to get their work out there,” says Dr. Schaefer. “As a beginning scholar I had reduced course time as well as a non-teaching semester that really allowed me to set the foundations for a solid research program.”

Over the last decade the University of Regina has led all other medium-sized universities in “research impact” according to Thomson-Reuters and Web of Science data. This means that the work of U of R professors was cited more than any other university. Research Impact is a real area of strength at the University – and one of the three priority areas in our new Strategic Plan.

Study in Mexico brings together U of R students

Reposted from External Relations, Feature Stories

The opportunity to mix credit classes with a cultural experience has brought together a group of University of Regina students, mainly from Education, International Studies and Arts

The students are taking part in a three-week international study tour to Mexico. They leave Regina on May 8 and return May 28.

So far, 12 students have signed up for the three-credit class experience –  EFDN 498 – International Study Tour to Mexico. There are spots for three more students to take part. The course is open for students attending any undergraduate program at the U of R

EFDN 498 is a Faculty of Education course intended to enrich and enhance international educational experiences for students. Focusing on significant areas of teacher engagement the course is designed to further the education and preparation of preservice teachers in a variety of educational settings. EFDN 498 advances the Faculty of Education’s mandate towards internationalization in responding to increasing levels of complexity in the educational field.

“Being in education you should never ever turn down the opportunity to see how other teachers and educators operate. So I’m eating up this opportunity,” says Carley Weisbeck who is in her fifth year of her Arts Education degree at the U of R.

The credit classes take place at the University of the Valley of Atemajac Campus in Guadalajara, Mexico’s second-largest city.

Students will participate in 18 hours of academic instruction. The course includes an examination of contemporary Mexican education in comparison with Canadian models.

“I believe we have the responsibility as educators to provide our students with the global education they need to succeed in a highly competitive global economy,” says Martin Lopez, Academic Program Development Consultant at the University of Regina who has planned this trip for the students.

The students will be staying with host families and spend three days travelling along what is referred to as the Mexican Independence Route giving students the opportunity to explore Mexico’s rich history.

“I love travelling so where there’s an opportunity to take a class abroad I jump at it, especially since it is an education course I need to take,” says Mackenzie Raedeke who is enrolled in the K – 5 Education program at the U of R.

Students must pay for the study tour in addition to tuition. To help with expenses, students may apply for a $1,000 travel fund provided through UR International.

“Students who have the opportunity to immerse in a foreign culture usually go back to their home country with a better appreciation of their own culture,” says Lopez. “They also go back with a better understanding of who they are and where they stand in this global village that the world has become.”

If you are interested in being a part of the study tour you are asked to contact Martin Lopez via email:

Alumnus Honoured as Top Principal

Alumnus James Wahl (B.Ed. ’95) has been recognized as one of the top principals in Canada.

Canada’s Outstanding Principals Awards are presented annually by The Learning Partnership, a national charitable organization with a mandate to support, promote, and advance public education in Canada. Wahl is one of 40 principals from across Canada to receive the award this year.

In addition to Wahl’s numerous innovative initiatives The Learning Partnership says Wahl had shown that “learning is about the journey rather than the destination.”

He is currently the principal at St. Francis Community School, which is part of the Regina Catholic School Division. Prior this position, Wahl served as principal at St. Jerome School and St. Michael Community School.

“I understand that winning any award is a team effort. I have always been fortunate to work with caring individuals who want success for students,” says Wahl.

At the University of Regina one of those people was Dr. Dave Friesen, professor Emeritus and former professor and Associate Dean of Faculty Development and Human Resources.

“I had the honour of working with many good people at the U of R,” says Wahl. “Dr. Dave Friesen was the key education professors for me. I owe a lot to Dave and think of him often.”

For Wahl, one of the most important things an educator can do is build a space conducive for learning.

“We need an environment that focuses on the individual learning needs of the student,” said Wahl. “My job as principal is to create the necessary relationship with staff, students, parents and greater community to make all of this work.”

The University of Regina is committed to student success as outlined in its Strategic Plan. For information about the Faculty of Education and how you can take part in its program offerings please visit:

Reposted from U of R External Relations/Communications

Professor pioneers Massive Open Online Courses

Dr. Alec Couros, an associate professor of Education Technology and Media in the Faculty of Education Photo: U of R Photography

Dr. Alec Couros, an associate professor of Education Technology and Media in the Faculty of Education, describes himself as an “open educator” taking teacher education online and making it available around the world.

Couros is a pioneer of the open education movement, and his online courses are considered the precursors of today’s Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC). These courses, offered online and freely available to anyone, have revolutionized distance learning, allowing for unlimited numbers of course participants – sometimes numbering in the thousands – and increased interaction between students and instructors.

Couros piloted the idea of an open course in 2007, in his Social Media and Open Education class.

“I proposed to the 20 education students in my class that we invite the world into our course,” says Couros. “I put the word out on Twitter and attracted about 200 people who volunteered to act as network mentors.”

“The unique, open nature of the course has attracted students from well beyond the University of Regina. Students from the University of British Columbia, University of Calgary, University of Saskatchewan, and other parts of North America have taken the course for credit.”

Since the first experiment in 2007, the popularity of MOOCs has exploded; they are now offered at prestigious universities including Stanford, MIT, and Princeton.

The rise of the MOOC signals a major shift in how teachers, professors and educators think about education. “We are no longer learning in isolation,” says Couros. “The classroom walls have come down.”

Couros is well-respected both on and offline, with more than 72,000 followers on Twitter, and he presents at dozens of conferences annually around the world, speaking about the importance of online tools in our education system.

Reposted from: U of R Front page (Communications and Marketing, University of Regina)

For an in-depth story on the recent Digital Citizenship MOOC see our current Education News (page 7)

Former Faculty of Education Dean Receives University of Regina Distinguished Service Award

Former Faculty of Education Dean, Dr. Michael Tymchak

Born in Saskatchewan, Dr. Michael Tymchak received a BA magna cum laude and High Honors in History from the University of Saskatchewan in 1964 and a Doctor of Philosophy [Ethics] from the University of Manchester in England in 1974.

Dr. Tymchak started his career at the University of Regina in 1969 as an instructor in the Philosophy Department. In 1984, he moved to the Faculty of Education to teach. Several years later, Dr. Tymchak served as the Dean of the Faculty of Education (1992 – 2000) and Acting Dean (2006 – 2008). However, his impact at the University of Regina was not limited to education students. He helped found the University’s first Teaching Development Centre in 1996 and served as the Director of the Saskatchewan Instructional Development and Research Unit (SIDRU). Dr. Tymchak also served as a research consultant for the Transdisciplinary Project that led to the development of interdisciplinary initiatives at the University of Regina.

Outside the University of Regina, Dr. Tymchak has been involved in a variety of educational endeavors throughout the province for over 35 years. He wrote the Internship and Field Experiences Report for the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation in 1988, and was the Chair of the Working Group, studying the issue of School Councils for the Saskatchewan School Trustees Association in 1997. Dr. Tymchak was also instrumental in the formation of the Northern Teacher Education Program [NORTEP], the Saskatchewan Urban Native Teacher Education Program [SUNTEP], and most recently the Nunavut Teacher Education Program in 2007.

One of Dr. Tymchak’s most notable achievements was his appointment by the Minister of Education in 1999 to chair the SchoolPlus Task Force and Public Dialogue on the Role of the School. Following extensive consultations across the province with all the educational partners, Dr. Tymchak produced the Task Force’s final report in 2001. This report helped craft the policy direction of provincial government concerning education, which is still in force today. The policy is based on the concept of schools as centres of learning, support and community for the children and families they serve.

For his outstanding work in the field of education, Dr. Tymchak was awarded a Canada 125 medal in 1992, a Saskatchewan Centennial Medal in 2005, and the 2008 Arbos Award from the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation for his support of and contributions to the profession of teaching.

Reprinted from