Dr. Shirley R. Steinberg recognized for empowering educators and students to challenge media bias and misrepresentation
The EdCan Network is pleased to honour Dr. Shirley Steinberg—Professor of Critical Youth Studies at the University of Calgary’s Werklund School of Education—as co-winner of the 2019 Whitworth Award for Career Education Research Excellence. This prestigious award recognizes Dr. Steinberg’s influential career as one of Canada’s leading scholars who have expanded media literacy into the field of critical pedagogy. Her work supports teachers and students to use and explore a wide variety of art forms, culture, and media—including hip-hop, commercial broadcasting, and new digital technologies—as a way to understand and question biases in the media and everyday life.
Dr. Shirley Steinberg has applied her critical approach to media studies, literacy, and drama to the global refugee crisis, which was used to explore how Islamic and Middle Eastern cultures are represented across the media, in advertising, and in schools. Most recently, Dr. Steinberg wrote and directed the award-winning documentary Elders’ Room, a collaborative project with Kainai First Nations High School students and counsellors. By bringing light to media bias and misrepresentation, Dr. Steinberg’s research encourages students to become agents of support, understanding, and change who challenge prejudices faced by ethnic minorities in Canada and beyond.
Understanding power dynamics, “how power works,” is also central to Dr. Steinberg’s work as a critical theorist, in understanding how and why inequality exists across people of different genders, races, classes, and other factors. She has a keen interest in conducting research and creating course curricula in which teachers engage television, theatre, art, music, and popular culture to guide students in questioning bias in the world around them. This contextual way of teaching simultaneously prompts educators to consider the impacts of their work beyond the classroom in ways that inspire students to confront economic, political, and social challenges in today’s world. This has redefined the teaching profession by repositioning educators as sources of large-scale change, and further drove her to the creation of The Freire International Project for Critical Cultural Community, Youth and Media Activism, The International Institute for Critical Pedagogy and Transformative Leadership, and previously, The Werklund Foundation Centre for Youth Leadership. These research-based projects offer educators a variety of research publications, films, and networking resources to help educators and community members to critically examine inequalities in society.
The Whitworth Award Selection Committee appreciated Dr. Steinberg’s lifelong dedication to expanding research in the field of critical pedagogy and media literacy studies, notably her mentorship of numerous emerging scholars and editing of over 600 books in the past 20 years. The Committee also lauded her unique approach to a form of research, “bricolage,” which tasks researchers to use a multi-layered, thick methodological approach which takes into account their own biases, different ways of interpretation, and leads to a more complex and socially-just understanding of the histories, cultures, and contexts of the communities, schools, and venues they research.
Dr. Shirley R. Steinberg shares the 2019 Whitworth Award with co-winner Dr. André P. Grace, recognized for his pioneering research and lifelong commitment to addressing the educational needs of sexual and gender minority youth in Canada.
Dr. André P. Grace recognized for profound impact in improving the lives of sexual and gender minority youth in Canada
The EdCan Network is pleased to honour Dr. André P. Grace—Professor and Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Sexual and Gender Minority Studies at the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Education—as co-winner of the 2019 Whitworth Award for Career Education Research Excellence. This prestigious award recognizes Dr. Grace’s pioneering research and lifelong commitment to addressing the educational needs of sexual and gender minority (SGM) youth.
Advocacy and transforming practice are central to Dr. Grace’s work, grounded in the vision that SGM students in our schools and communities are a vulnerable population whose safety, security, well-being, and accommodation are still not fully guaranteed. In 2016, Dr. Grace’s extensive portfolio and years of research culminated in a milestone publication entitled Sexual and Gender Minorities in Canadian Education and Society (1969–2013): A National Handbook for K-12 Educators, which recognizes the powerful role of educators in advancing the inclusion of sexual and gender minorities in Canadian society. This publication includes a comprehensive overview of how we can further advance recognition and respectful accommodation of SGMs in education and beyond through policy and practice perspectives. Since 2002, Dr. Grace’s research as principal investigator studying sexual and gender minority students and teachers has been consistently funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada. The primary focus of this research is helping SGM youth grow into resilience with the support of teachers and other caring professionals such as counsellors and social workers.
Building on this momentum, Dr. Grace’s current ambitious portfolio includes studying how greater collaboration across research, policy, and practice can spark collective action across sectors including education, healthcare, social services, and justice in supporting sexual and gender minority youth to build resilience in the face of adversity. Dr. Grace has already conducted extensive prior research in this area, which can be found in the book Growing into Resilience: Sexual and Gender Minority Youth in Canada, for professionals working with SGM youth and can be used in training courses for those working with vulnerable youth populations.
The Whitworth Award Selection Committee lauded Dr. Grace’s lifelong dedication to improving synergies among research, practice, and policy to improve the educational outcomes and life chances of sexual and gender minority youth in Canada – including his focus on equipping educators with practical tools and training resources to foster positive school cultures. The Committee was also impressed by Dr. Grace’s extensive on-the-ground work with SGM youth, which includes cofounding the Camp fYrefly summer leadership camp in 2004 and establishing the Community-Hope-Empowerment-Wellness or CHEW Project in 2014 to support homeless and street-involved SGM youth.
Dr. André P. Grace shares the 2019 Whitworth Award with co-winner Dr. Shirley R. Steinberg, recognized for an influential career as one of Canada’s leading scholars in critical literacy and media studies.
About the Whitworth Award for Career Education Research Excellence
The Whitworth Award for Career Education Research Excellence was first presented in 1967, and was made possible through a generous financial donation by Dr. Fred Whitworth, a former Director of the Canadian Council for Research in Education. It has, since then, recognized individuals who have made a sustained and substantial contribution to educational research over a period of time.