My current research program involves four projects, which are as follows.
With Douglas MacLeod, Jr., Growing up Grundy: The Stagnant Image of a North American Teacher-Nurturer
Media conveys the attitude that a teacher nurtures learners’ sources and domains of knowledge. In the popular Archie comics, Riverdale High’s teacher Miss Grundy and her colleagues reflect a practice of nurture that preserves the roots of innocence and attractiveness in youth. As we read Archie over 76 years of production, we see changes in the school’s student body that indicate an awareness of diversity in society. Grundy remains a sturdy guide for her students, a tired old woman with white hair in a bun and a purple polka dot dress that covers a slim figure. Why does society conflate a nurturer teacher with the figure of a haggard old woman? Can it be possible for her to rid herself of this drab façade? Can she too experience change in society? If she could, would she be a more effective nurturing guide for the kids? In this project, we investigate why the image of Grundy sticks with people as a popular culture ideal of an effective teacher.
With Olivier Michaud, The Way to a Spiritual Life in Academia
Our project starts from our need to reflect on our lives inside academia. We see challenges we face as newish professors in the university. We share a similar viewpoint on how to engage with our difficulties, which we summarize under the label of “spirituality.” We see in spiritual teachings a way to live better. We envision ourselves as professors who seek the way to a spiritual life in academia. Our project participates in literature that identifies growing concerns among professors about issues of stress, exhaustion, and burnout. In response, we show how we engage in spiritual reflection to improve our lives as academics, a process that may in turn be useful to our colleagues who struggle with similar difficulties.
Toward a Usable Past: Teachers of Project Yesteryear and the History of Education
The teachers of Project Yesteryear were respondents to a questionnaire sent by the late Dr. Robert S. Patterson. Patterson was a professor of educational foundations and former dean of the University of Alberta's Faculty of Education. I show how data in the questionnaires may help teacher candidates who seek guidance on how to be effective practitioners in class.
Book Clubs and the Reconciliation Mandate
The inspiration for this project is from the Book of the Year projects in the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Education. We ask the following question: How may a common reading (a book) begin the work of Reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada?
I remain interested in First Nations, Métis, and Inuit educational history, self-identification and First Nations, Métis, and Inuit learners, and nourishing the learning spirit.