Dr. Olenka Bilash has been on the frontier of several new fields of practice in education: immersion bilingual pedagogy, Aboriginal language education, and Heritage/International languages. Through her publishing career she has helped to develop the foundation needed to sustain these fields. More recently, Dr. Bilash has taken to more frontier work by exploring the impact of study abroad teacher professional development programs. By designing, instructing and managing programs for teachers of English from Japan, Korea and China and maintaining relationships with their school jurisdictions she has been able to trace change and transformation in individuals, classrooms, resources, leadership and policy. Influences of cross cultural work on Canadian facilitators is also being explored. References to Bhabba, Bourdieu, Freire, Maturana and Varela, and Vygotsky are central.
Selected Honours and Awards
Canada's 3M Teaching fellow
International and Heritage Languages Association created an award entitled the Dr. Olenka Bilash Leadership award
2009 Appointed to 16-person advisory board for UNESCO's Linguapax
2009 Julia Cardinal Memorial Award for contribution to Cree Language Education, Keheewin Reserve, Alberta
2008 Designer and Consultant for ASCD Collaborative Practice award, Southern Alberta
2005 Alberta Government Centennial Medal for contribution to Ukraine-Alberta International relations
2005 Designer of Hokkaido’s ESL Teacher Professional Development program – awarded best professional development program in Japan
2003 Acknowledgement for contribution to Cree Bilingual Program in Northern Lights School Division
1999 Stephen A. Freeman Award for best published article in a second language journal in 1998 on "Planning for Writing Instruction in a Middle-years Immersion/ Partial Immersion Setting"
Individual and team grants have been awarded from SSHRC, CIDA, Alberta Learning, Hokkaido Board of Education, Japanese Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Consulate of Japan, Kangwon Board of Education (Korea), as well as University funding sources. I currently am a co-PI on a SSHRC-funded project ($50,000) with Drs. Bischof, Cheng and BAsu from Computing Sciences. The four of us have also applied for another SSHRC and an NSERC this year.