The Three Deans: Three U of A alumnae who headed Alberta’s largest education faculties shaped the way teachers are taught and students learn.
It’s early in the 2000s. Teachers and school boards are at odds with one another; everyone is at odds with the provincial government. After a long day of meetings in Calgary, three University of Alberta alumnae go out for a glass of wine. They are deans of the three largest education faculties in Alberta, at the University of Alberta, the University of Calgary and the University of Lethbridge. That initial social chat grew into a regular exchange, giving updates, sharing opinions on changes in policy or curriculum, talking about advances in research. Their collaboration was formalized into an association of five teacher preparation institutions, the Association of Alberta Deans of Education, a major education stakeholder in the province.
Fern Snart, ’79 PhD
School: University of Alberta
Date: 2004 to present
Undergrads during tenure:
12,211 (to date)
One impact as dean: Developing the Institute of Sexual Minority Studies and Services, which has hosted hundreds of sexual and gender minority young people at Camp fYrefly. Another program, NoHomophobes.com, raised awareness of homophobic language in online conversation.
Annette LaGrange, ’72 BEd, ’76 Dip(Ed), ’91 PhD
School: University of Calgary
Date: 1999 to 2007
Undergrads during tenure: 4,319
One impact as dean: Continuing the broad transformation of the faculty’s undergraduate degree into Canada’s first teacher preparation program in inquiry-based learning. In this approach, students identify and research questions to develop their knowledge.
Jane O’Dea, ’83 MEd, ’91 PhD
School: University of Lethbridge
Date: 2003 to 2013
Undergrads during tenure: 2,044
One impact as dean: Bringing the issues of Aboriginal education to the forefront and establishing First Nations programming such as the Niitsitapi Teacher Education Program and graduate programs for First Nations, Métis and Inuit students.
Infographic by Marcey Andrews