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National role

Dean of Education elected president of Canadian association

special feature: Aboriginal Peoples

Part of a special feature focused on celebrating and recognizing the contribution and impact of Aboriginal Peoples in Newfoundland and Labrador and highlighting contemporary topics and opportunities related to Aboriginal Peoples worldwide. This feature coincides with Aboriginal Peoples Week running March 21-24.

By Marcia Porter

The Association of Canadian Deans of Education (ACDE) has elected Dr. Kirk Anderson, dean, Faculty of Education, as its next president.

Dr. Anderson officially steps into the role as president-elect in May 2016. He’s the second dean from Memorial’s Faculty of Education to hold the national position.

The ACDE is a pan-Canadian association of deans and directors of education that regularly advocates for improvements to education across the country.

As part of this process the association developed a series of deans’ accords, which serve as guiding frameworks to shape policy in the more than 60 education faculties across Canada.

Dr. Kirk Anderson and members of ACDE stand with former PM Paul Martin.
Former prime minister Paul Martin (second from right) met with Dr. Anderson (middle) and members of the ACDE to collaborate about education for Indigenous Peoples.
Photo: Assocation of Canadian Deans and Directors of Education

“Our work nationally has included the development of a series of accords that address the importance of issues such as Aboriginal education and research and teacher development, as well as many others,” said Dr. Anderson.

During his time as dean at Memorial, Dr. Anderson has worked with ACDE to develop accords on internationalization, early learning and graduate studies.

“As a person of Aboriginal descent, and a researcher into success in Aboriginal education, I’m really proud of the positive framework it sets out.” — Dr. Kirk Anderson

Although he didn’t work on the Aboriginal education accord directly, he’s particularly proud of it and Memorial’s involvement in it. Dr. Cecilia Reynolds, deputy provost (students) and associate vice-president (academic) undergraduate studies, and Dr. Anderson’s colleague in the  Faculty of Education, is one of the accord’s authors.

“As a person of Aboriginal descent, and a researcher into success in Aboriginal education, I’m really proud of the positive framework it sets out,” he said.

Dr. Anderson says the framework is consistent with the Report on Truth and Reconciliation released in late 2015, and also fits with Memorial’s Presidential Task Force on Aboriginal Issues that was launched in 2009.

At a recent ACDE meeting, former prime minister Paul Martin was in attendance. Mr. Martin indicated he would like to partner with the association on educational initiatives for Indigenous Peoples through his foundation, the Martin Aboriginal Foundation. He says the deans are “well-positioned to be at the forefront of this and other education issues.”

Accords’ impact

A recent partnership between the Faculty of Education and the Nunatsiavut Government is just one example of how the deans’ accords can help inspire and guide policy development, says Dr. Anderson. The bachelor of education for Nunatsiavut degree program taught at Memorial’s Labrador Institute in Happy Valley-Goose Bay will graduate teachers qualified to work anywhere in Canada and who will also be conversational in Inuktitut.

Another outcome of the deans’ accords is that ACDE members will encourage education faculties across the country to introduce required courses in their programs that reflect the reality of Aboriginal Peoples.

Dr. Anderson also says the accords serve as strong reference documents for provincial departments of Education, and other bodies responsible for education in Canada.

Most recently, and reflective of Memorial’s emphasis on public engagement, Dr. Anderson has led the call for Education deans across Canada to lend a more public voice in support of education, using academic forums and public media.

This summer, ACDE will launch a series of videos that highlight the education accords and share its work internationally at education symposiums.


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