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Teacher Leadership is Focus of Conference

sponKappa Delta Pi, the International Honor Society in Education, is hosting a conference this week at Mount Royal University. The Faculty of Continuing Education and Extension at Mount Royal University is proud to sponsor this prestigious event.

Learning, Leadership and Practice: Educating Global Citizens will take place from October 2-4 in the Roderick Mah Centre for Continuous Learning.

Dr. Charles Webber, Dean of Continuing Education and Extension at MRU, notes, “This conference will profile the groundbreaking efforts of international scholars and educational professionals to enhance the social and human capacity needed to sustain a civil society. It also will be a unique opportunity for participants to plan ongoing collaboration with peers from around the globe.”

Dr. Ann Lieberman
Dr. Ann Lieberman

Keynote speaker Dr. Ann Lieberman of Stanford University will give a presentation entitled Teacher Leadership: What Do We Know So Far?

Dr. Lieberman says that schools and teachers today are under increasing pressure to adapt teaching methods to help students become critical thinkers and problem solvers. Merely following established curriculum is not advancing the profession to meet the societal goal to create globally responsible citizens.

“A big idea is to create conditions for teachers to develop, and be supported in, their own leadership activities. Teachers have greater opportunities to change culture from within rather than relying on external expertise for professional development,” Dr. Lieberman says.

Dr. Lieberman will give examples of teachers being empowered to facilitate their own learning. These include the National Writing Project, a program established at Berkeley in 1974 and now offered across the US, to improve writing and learning for all learners. Another is the Teacher Learning and Leadership Program (TLLP), an annual project-based professional learning opportunity for experienced classroom teachers to take on leadership roles.

Dr. Lieberman will use these and other examples to examine what is going on when teacher leadership programs are working, and how schools and principals can support programs like these to create teacher leaders.

Dr. Ann Lieberman is an emeritus professor from Teachers College, Columbia University, and now Senior Scholar at Stanford University. She has been a Senior Scholar at The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching for the past 10 years. She was also president of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) in 1992. She was named a Kappa Delta Pi (KDP) Laureate in 1995. She is widely known for her work in the areas of teacher leadership and development, collaborative research, networks and school-university partnerships, and the problems and prospects for understanding educational change.

See previous blog posts about this conference:

– by Karen McCarthy

Project Management Student Now on Advisory Committee

Blog_Parvez_F14Working towards becoming a Project Management Professional (PMP) is yet another career stepping stone for Parvez Dhalech.

Parvez came to Calgary in 1996 from his native India, where he had a degree in psychology. Not finding any work in his field, he went on to earn his diploma in Computer Science at SAIT. He started his career as a software developer in 2000, working in IT for Shaw Communications for five years and for four years in corporate sales in South Africa.

Since 2008 Parvez has been an IT consultant in oil and gas, with a client list that includes Nexen, Transcanada Pipelines, Digital Oilfield Solutions and Cenovus Energy. He is currently heading a major IT project for the City of Calgary.

During his spare time Parvez, his wife and two children have embraced Calgary’s great outdoor activities like camping, hiking and skiing.

In the spring of 2014, Parvez decided to take MRU’s Project Management Extension Certificate. He is finishing up his Final Assessment Paper, presenting the City of Calgary IT project. The next step in becoming a Project Management Professional is to write the Project Management Institute’s exam, which he will be doing in the near future.

“I heard great things about Mount Royal University before I joined. It has a reputation for helping people meet their goals,” Parvez says.

He appreciated the flexibility to take courses while working full-time. “Mount Royal offers great options for professionals — I couldn’t just put aside my projects to come to class. Working downtown and coming here two evenings a week worked very well for my schedule,” he says.

Parvez appreciated the theoretical knowledge that the program gave him to complement his years of practical project management experience. “The instructors are highly educated, currently working in the field and PMI certified,” he says. “They have a wealth of experience and knowledge which helped me learn the theory side of things.”

“The team here has a great support structure,” Parvez notes. And now he will be part of that support team. In the spring Parvez was invited to sit on the Project Management Advisory Committee as a student representative, having been recommended by one of his instructors.

The Advisory Committee is a volunteer group of industry experts — plus one student and one graduate — who meet regularly to help ensure that Mount Royal’s Project Management curriculum is current and relevant. They also develop new programs like the Project Management in Construction Extension Certificate to meet training needs in Calgary and beyond.

— by Karen McCarthy

Scottish Sustainability Program to be Presented at Conference

Morag Watson
Morag Watson

What does sustainability mean to you? To Morag Watson and her colleagues at Learning for Sustainability Scotland (LfS Scotland), it’s a concept that encompasses 4 important pillars:

  • Citizenship education
  • Sustainable development in education
  • Outdoor learning
  • Children’s rights

The creation of this United Nations-recognized Regional Centre of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development has resulted from a profound change in the way that people think about sustainability and education, and required buy-in from leaders at all levels. This change in how people think about sustainability and education has had a significant impact on the Scottish education system.

LfSS_Logo_Colour

Morag will present “Learning to Lead Sustainable Development” at Mount Royal University during Kappa Delta Pi’s upcoming Learning, Leadership and Practice: Educating Global Citizens conference, October 2-4, 2014. She will also share the process of establishing principles of sustainability in Scotland’s public school system.

Morag is the Development Manager for LfS Scotland. From 2011-12 she was one of the lead members of a group of education decision makers tasked with formulating 31 recommendations that comprise the Learning for Sustainability Report, Scotland’s road map to embedding “Learning for Sustainability” in all schools.

“Before the Scottish National Party won a majority in 2011, sustainability was referenced in education policy but it wasn’t something all teachers were expected to incorporate into their teaching. Morag says. “After the election, the Scottish Government made a manifesto commitment supporting the creation of a One Planet Schools Working Group bringing everyone together to make recommendations and a plan to act on them. Learning for Sustainability is the culmination of that process.”

The group defined Learning for Sustainability as “a whole school approach that enables the school and its wider community to build the values, attitudes, knowledge, skills and confidence needed to develop practices and take decisions which are compatible with a sustainable and equitable society”.

A key element of the group’s success was attaining buy-in from local authority and government leaders.

One of the catalysts that led to the rethinking of sustainability education and the ambitious nature of the Learning for Sustainability recommendations was a leadership program – The Natural Change – which Morag led in 2010-11. “We would have meetings about learning for sustainability but it would be all the usual suspects that turned up,” Morag says, “everyone was enthusiastic but we weren’t in a position to change policies on an institutional level. We had expertise knocking on closed doors and we needed leadership to answer.”

“We went looking for 12 influential leaders in the education sector to participate in The Natural Change and help us open those doors. It took us 12 months to find leaders willing to commit time to the program; to build passion, enthusiasm and commitment. When we started we had no set outcome. We wanted to find out, if you fire people up in this way, what happens? We are now the first country in the world where sustainability is an entitlement for every school pupil, and embedded into Scotland’s Professional Standards for Teachers,” she says.

Morag and her team recently visited Hazelhead Academy, a large school in Aberdeen that has embraced sustainability. “Biology students could work in a local park. Then they got enthusiastic to do things on their own time, like volunteering as weekend guides in the nature preserve,” she says. “We saw pupils gaining confidence in participating effectively in community groups.”

“Previously there was an exodus of wealthier families in this area to private schools. But now they are staying in the state school because their children are getting an excellent education. Exam results underscore this,” she notes.

“There’s a big emphasis now in Scotland on values and how to live them. We expect to see sustainability in the 4 Cs in the schools: Curriculum, Campus, Cultural and Community. Embedding sustainability into curriculum and campus is easy. But when we see things happening within the community and on a cultural level, we know we are succeeding,” Morag says.


Morag Watson has worked in the field of Education for Sustainable Development for nearly two decades. Prior to LfS, she worked as Senior Policy Officer on Education for WWF Scotland and for the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh. Learning for Sustainability Scotland is headquartered at Edinburgh University.

Kappa Delta Pi is an International Honor Society in Education. It was founded in 1911 to foster excellence in education and promote fellowship among those dedicated to teaching.

The Faculty of Continuing Education and Extension at MRU is privileged to host this prestigious conference of educators. 

— by Karen McCarthy

MRU Kids Wraps Up for Another Summer

MRU Kids

From July 7 through August 29, MRU Kids welcomed 2,180 children and youth aged 5 to 17 to one and two-week day camps at Mount Royal University.

From Administrative Supervisor Joanna Franconeri, here are some highlights of this year’s MRU Kids programs.

2014 was a year of change and creativity
  • MRU Kids introduced a physical literacy program. In cooperation with Nadine Van Wyk, BPhEd, we developed an active and intuitive recreation program. The program, named PLAY for short, was designed to help campers experience physical activity outside of organized sports. Through MRU Recreation, our campers had an opportunity to try Zumba and yoga, and understand the value in maintaining an active lifestyle. The PLAY program was supported by the Move & Play Through Physical Literacy activity book, created by Alberta’s Be Fit for Life initiative.

Outdoor Adventures

  • Face-painting was a huge success for our younger campers. Allowing their inner butterflies and dragons to come through, campers had an opportunity to add some excitement to their day.

Face Painting

  • A new approach to training our staff members (group leaders and camp instructors) was formally applied this year. All staff attended a three-day orientation that focused on team building, safety and problem solving. Dean Charles F. Webber and Program Director Christina White Prosser began our orientation with words of advice and encouragement. Nadine Van Wyk led the staff in PLAY activities — this hands-on learning was fundamental to the program’s success.

Staff Learning PLAY Activities

What’s next for MRU Kids?
  • 2015 will mark our 25th anniversary. To mark this milestone MRU Kids is revitalizing the components that made this camp a success 25 years ago. We will be introducing new curriculum and reviving past successes. Under development is an old favourite: a Broadway-style camp where campers learn and perform plays while developing their technical skills. Brand new to the MRU Kids roster is a counselor-in-training camp designed to help teens refine their leadership skills and gain valuable experience working with children.
  • Camp schedules and registration for the 2015 MRU Kids session will be available in early March at mtroyal.ca/mrukids.
Check out more MRU Kids camp photos on our Facebook photo album.
— by Karen McCarthy