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Opinion

Recognizing Excellence and Leadership in Educational Research

CEA’s Whitworth and Pat Clifford Awards shine a spotlight on influential leaders and rising stars in educational research in Canada

The Canadian Education Association (CEA) is celebrating 125 years of advancing powerful ideas for greater student and teacher engagement in public education. One of the ways in which the CEA accomplishes its mandate to support and promote innovation in education is through its awards program for educational researchers.

The Canadian Education Association (CEA) is celebrating 125 years of advancing powerful ideas for greater student and teacher engagement in public education. One of the ways in which the CEA accomplishes its mandate to support and promote innovation in education is through its awards program for educational researchers. CEA celebrates the work of innovative researchers from across the country – their contributions, their promise, and their commitment to breaking new ground and revisiting commonly held assumptions in education policy, practice or theory in Canada.

The annual Pat Clifford Award for Early Career Research in Education and the triennial Whitworth Award for Career Research in Education are national awards to recognize educational researchers who demonstrate outstanding leadership, teaching and promise in their chosen fields of study and who make an impact on policy, practice or theory. 

This is the seventh year that I have served on CEA’s Research Awards Selection Committee, and my fifth year as the Chair. Over the years, I have found the review and adjudication process for the Pat Clifford and Whitworth Awards to be an enlightening, surprising and humbling experience! It is no small task to select the recipients of the CEA Research Awards given the exceptional accomplishments of both the established and rising education researchers who compete for these awards and devote their lives to the continual improvement of our public education systems in every province and territory in Canada. 

It is such a privilege to work with the pan-Canadian members of the CEA Research Awards Selection Committee who invest their time, expertise and experience in the review and adjudication process.  

Thank-you to:

  • Dr. Kris Magnusson, Dean of Education, Simon Fraser University
  • Dr. Ann Sherman, Dean of Education, Faculty of Education, University of New Brunswick
  • Dr. Catherine Burwell, Assistant Professor, Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary
  • Dr. Heather Kanuka, Professor, Faculty of Education, University of Alberta

With the May 31st application deadline rapidly approaching for both awards, it’s not too late for you, or one of your colleagues, to assemble and submit your application packages in order to be considered for the Pan-Canadian recognition that these awards provide.

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UPEI Faculty of Education Researcher Dr. Kate Tilleczek delivers Whitworth lecture at a national CEA event in Calgary in 2013.

CEA’s Whitworth Award for Career Research was first presented in 1967 and has been held by 50 researchers thus far. This prestigious award recognizes the impact that innovative and experienced Canadian researchers have made in their disciplines and in practice through sustained and substantive contributions to educational research and leadership over a period of time.

Who do you know that deserves recognition for their influential career in Canadian education research? Whitworth Award recipients join an illustrious group of researchers who have had a profound impact on education policy, practice and theory in Canadian education:  Kate Tilleczek, Louise Gaudreau, Kieren Egan, Lorna Earle, Michael Fullan, Carl Bereiter, Douglas Willms, and Andy Hargreaves, to name just a few. 

The Whitworth Award also provides additional networking and presentation opportunities with CEA’s national network, and comes with an invitation to submit a feature article about their latest research to Education Canada Magazine.

CEA’s Pat Clifford Award for Early Career Research in Education recognizes the high quality work achieved by emerging researchers in Canada and has provided a significant boost in awareness of the work of the nine researchers who have been recognized for this award since 2009 and continue to chart new territory in education policy, practice or theory in Canada: Michelle Hogue, Steve Masson, Jessica Toste, Norm Vaughan, Gregory Lowan-Trudeau, Carla Peck, Leighton Schnellert, Renee Guimond-Plourde and Sean Lessard.

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2015 Pat Clifford Award Winner Dr. Sean Lessard with CEA President & CEO Ron Canuel. 

The Pat Clifford Award has personal significance for me. As a Galileo Doctoral Fellow many years ago, I learned alongside Dr. Pat Clifford and Dr. Sharon Friesen in their Grade 6 classroom in Alberta. As a new professor, I taught with Pat and Sharon at the University of Calgary. Together, we published papers about engaged learning and teaching with technology and presented our research at national and international conferences. Pat and Sharon’s unwavering commitment to student learning inspired and shaped me as a teacher; their dedication to disrupting commonly held ideas about teaching and leadership forged me as a researcher. Pat and Sharon’s belief in my promise and their investment in this new researcher enabled me to build visibility for my research on engaging learning with technology. The Pat Clifford Award is an enduring commitment to supporting and mobilizing the work of new researchers whose ideas and scholarship serve to change education.

New researchers are encouraged to apply for this award to maximize the impact of your work in practice, and for the invitation to present our research at future CEA events and publish a feature article about your research in Education Canada magazine.

I applaud all applicants to the CEA Research Awards program for their courage and perseverance in making a difference in the lives of learners. Your application could lead to some amazing possibilities! 

Click here to learn more about how you can nominate yourself or a colleague for the 2016 CEA Whitworth and Pat Clifford Awards.

Please note that the deadline for submissions for both awards is Thursday May 31, 2016 by 5:00pm PDT. 

Meet the Expert

Michele Jacobsen

Michele Jacobsen

Professor and Associate Dean, Graduate Programs in Education Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary

Michele Jacobsen, PhD, is the Associate Dean, Graduate Programs in Education, in the Werklund School of Education at the University of Calgary. She uses design-based research approaches to study technology-enabled learning, both in real-time and online (anytime, anywhere), in Kindergarten to post-secondary classrooms.

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