Dennis Sumara
2019 CATE Award for Research on Teacher Education


In recognition of Dennis Sumara’s exceptional contributions to and leadership of research on teacher education over his career, both within Canada and internationally.


First and foremost, Dennis Sumara is an exceptional scholar in education. Indeed, Dennis is one of Canada’s most distinguished researchers on teachers, teaching and teacher education.  Over three decades, Dennis has made substantial research and scholarly contributions in curriculum and instruction, in such areas as phenomenological approaches to the teaching of literature and literacy; the development and articulation of queer theory and research on gender and sexuality in teaching and teacher education; applications of constructivism and progressive approaches to curriculum in teacher education and schooling.  The resultant corpus of Dennis’s work – spanning over one hundred and forty scholarly publications, books, monographs and major articles and chapters — has had a major impact on teacher education and the reform of teaching in Canadian education more generally. His contributions to teacher education research are widely adopted and well recognised in North American and international communities.


Dennis Sumara’s early scholarly work was recognized by The Canadian Association of Curriculum Studies Dissertation of the Year Award for his work Literary Imagination and the Curriculum. His book Why Reading Literature in School Still Matters: Imagination, Interpretation, Insight, was recognized for excellence with an Ed Fry Book Award at the National Reading Conference (USA). Three of his books have been widely adopted at several universities across Canada for pre-service and graduate education: 1) Engaging Minds: Changing Teaching for Complex Times (First, Second, & Third Editions), 2) Complexity and Education: Inquiries Into Learning, Teaching and Research, and 3) Action Research as a Living Practice.  A highly sought after expert on Teacher Education, Dennis Sumara has accepted over 35 invitations as a

keynote speaker on diverse topics such as Literary Engagements As Purposeful Pedagogy, Complexity Science and Initial Teacher Education, Fitting Teacher Education in/to/for an Increasingly Complex World, and Leading Educational Institutions In Complex Times. Dennis Sumara’s leadership and contribution to the International scholarly community continues to grow and have impact through the organization of several conferences in Curriculum Studies and by establishing and serving as the Founding Editor of the peer reviewed journal, Journal of the Canadian Association for Curriculum Studies, currently in its 16th Volume, and co-editor of the Journal of Curriculum Studies for four years.


Over his career, Dr. Sumara has worked in five different faculties of education across three provinces, and has constantly broadened his research perspective and influence. At Simon Fraser, he led the development of cohort-based teacher education in inner city schools. He also established participatory action-research projects with teachers in their classrooms. While at York University, Dennis contributed to an inclusive teacher education curriculum that drew from his research in complexity theory and anti-oppressive education. At the University of Alberta, Dennis built on his earlier leadership in foundational education courses and led the development of new curriculum and pedagogical approaches to teacher education. As Head of the Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy at UBC, Dennis reshaped the teacher education and graduate programs to reflect a more complex, inclusive, and interdisciplinary structure. As has been his practice throughout his career, Dr. Sumara was guided by his research in complexity thinking and teacher education to create more inclusive conditions for learning.


Second, Dennis is an exceptional leader in Teacher Education.

Dennis’s diverse research, teaching and leadership experiences across Canada laid the groundwork for his leadership of the Werklund School of Education. From 2009 – 2019, Dennis Sumara led a change in the research culture, activity and impact of collective scholarship in Teacher Education that has raised the Research Reputation of Werklund School of Education to the top 5 of the U15 Faculties of Education in Canada.  Dennis Sumara led significant change and innovation in the Werklund School of Education during his decade as Dean.  It was through Dennis’s leadership that the Werklund School of Education became the first named faculty of education in Canada, and attracted a significant philanthropic gift of 25 million dollars that have been strategically invested in academic, research and community priorities, such as awards for doctoral students, undergraduate students, and postdoctoral scholars, investments in Werklund professorships, hiring new academic staff, Excellence in Teaching Awards, graduate supervision, research and support staff awards, Teaching and learning and research grants, and Student initiative funds.


As Dean, Dennis also engaged in fund development in the community, and enthusiastically shared our aspirational goals and vision for changing teacher education, and invited diverse individuals to invest their time, talent and treasure in the School’s vision. Dennis secured an additional $20 million in external funding for several new initiatives that he championed, including the Werklund Foundation Centre for Youth Leadership Education, the Imperial Oil STEM in Education Initiative, the Carlson Family ADHD Research Award, the Canadian Oilsands Early Math Learning Initiative, and the Silver Gummy Research Chair in Masculinities Studies. Each initiative directly impacts teacher education in provincial, national and international communities. In the last 10 years, 10 new research chairs and professors have been recruited, along with 53 new tenure-stream faculty members, 18 new staff members, all in priority areas aligned with the faculty’s and university’s Strategic Academic Plans. With Dr. Sumara’s leadership, the Werklund School of Education has recruited 18 new post-doctoral fellows, a notable achievement for a Canadian Faculty of Education.


Finally, Dennis is an outstanding researcher in Teacher Education because he is an exceptional teacher.


As the Dean, Dennis Sumara led development of several new undergraduate and graduate programs in teacher education, educational research and psychology, that have increased student engagement and success.  He has led the newly designed BEd program that allows for direct entry of students from high schools, as well as the first Community-Based BEd program in Western Canada that allows students from rural and remote locations to engage in teacher education from their home communities. Dennis has led implementation of newly designed, flexibly delivered and highly attractive professional masters and doctoral programs with more than 1,300 students currently enrolled, that impact schools, school jurisdictions, diverse work contexts and community organizations both nationally and internationally via distinguished graduates who lead innovation and change in leadership, teaching and teacher education, and educational psychology.


Dennis Sumara’s mobilisation and sponsorship of the Werklund School of Education, of his academic colleagues, his leadership in rethinking and reworking research on teacher education has had a major impact not just on Calgary and Alberta schools and teachers, but has also had a visible role in ‘changing the subject’ of education In Canada and around the globe.  Dennis Sumara has systematically refocused our understanding of conventional, albeit progressive, approaches to teacher education into dynamic, innovative and challenging approaches to teacher education in Canada.  He has deliberately brought issues of diversity, inclusion and interdisciplinarity into teacher education, with a centrepiece focus on Indigenous issues, provoking curriculum, and promoting excellence in teacher education.


In the words of one referee:  “There are indeed many fine Canadian scholars and researchers in teacher education of Dr. Sumara’s generation; and many teacher educators who have ‘successfully’ transitioned to Deanships, Provost positions and so forth. But there are very few who have translated the principled heart and soul of their scholarship and research not just into grants and publications, but into the reformation of a field and the remaking of the very practices, procedures and experiences of teacher education for this next generation of young Canadian teachers.  Dr. Dennis Sumara has made a unique and genuine lifetime contribution to Canadian teacher education and to the field of education that warrants this esteemed recognition.”



Alexandre Mesquita, PhD

The evolution of fourth year BEALS students’ beliefs and practices when teaching ESL related to formative assessment




Originally from Brazil, Dr. Alexandre Mesquita’s research focused on the evolution of pre-service ESL teachers’ beliefs and practices related to formative assessment and the impacts of these beliefs and practices on their learning to teach process. His study highlights the importance of helping pre-service teachers identify their prior beliefs and unlearn previous assessment practices to learn new ones and improving the partnership (links) between teacher educators and supervisors with associate teachers (and school). In terms of his professional experience, he is currently a sessional lecturer at the Université de Sherbrooke and the Cégep de Thetford Mines. As a sessional lecturer, he has taught and supervised pre-service ESL teachers at both primary and secondary levels through different courses for the last year 7 years. In addition, since July 2016, he has been the director of communications of CATE (Canadian Association for Teacher Education).

Candy Skyhar, PhD

Grassroots professional growth: Inquiring into the effectiveness of a locally constructed professional development model for rural teachers




Dr. Candy Skyhar is currently an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Education (Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy) at Brandon University. She is passionate about teacher education as well as the provision of effective and meaningful teacher professional development, particularly for teachers in rural contexts. As an educator who taught in three different rural Manitoba communities over her 20-year teaching career, Candy both advocated for equity for rural teachers, and worked towards the improvement of professional development opportunities available to educators. Her Ph.D. research, which built on her previous work as a PD committee chair and part-time Numeracy Coach, examined possibilities for developing contextually responsive PD models that mitigate challenges divisions and teachers face with regards to providing and accessing meaningful PD.

Yang Liu, PhD

Understanding the Transition of Teachers from Game Users to Game Designers



Yang Liu completed her PhD at the Werklund School of Education of the University of Calgary, and is currently a Learning and Instructional Design Specialist with Faculty of Social Work. Yang is passionate about gaming and how gaming could impact on student’s learning and motivate student’s passion to learn. Her research interests are teacher designed games, game-based learning, and computer-supported collaborative learning. Prior to her current role, Yang has worked as a K-12 classroom teacher and an ESL instructor.

Xiaolin Xu, PhD

Exploring the Intersection of Teachers’ Negotiation of Personal Identities, Professional Identities, and Cultural Expectations



Xiaolin Xu completed her Master’s and doctoral degrees in Faculty of Education, Memorial University of Newfoundland. Her research interests lie in teacher identities and teacher education; arts-based research; cultural studies; and narrative approaches to teaching, learning and research. She has taught English as a Foreign Language for two years in China. She has also taught as a per-course instructor at Memorial University. Her doctoral dissertation explores the intersection of teachers’ negotiation of personal identities, professional identities, and cultural expectations of teachers.

Mimi Masson, PhD

A Critical Re-imagining of French-Language Teacher Learning and Professional Identities





Mimi Masson est professeure à temps partiel à l’Université d’Ottawa. Elle enseigne depuis plus de 10 ans dans le domaine des langues étrangères/secondes (anglais et français) et dans le domaine de la didactique des langues. Elle a travaillé, en tant qu’enseignante et en tant que responsable pour l’élaboration de programmes d’études, avec des jeunes (niveaux maternelle, primaire et secondaire) et des adultes (à l’université et des professionnels) dans les secteurs publiques et privés au Japon et au Canada.

Sa recherche de thèse, effectuée à l’Université de Toronto (OISE), explore comment les réseaux d’apprentissage professionnel peuvent aider les enseignants de français langue seconde (FLS) canadiens à développer des liens, une communauté de soutien, leur identité professionnelle et leur capacité de leader. En 2017, Mimi a gagné le prix CRSH J’ai Une Histoire à Raconter en reconnaissance pour ses contributions à son domaine de recherche (vidéo disponible au Actuellement, Mimi est aussi conseillère de recherches avec Canadian Parents for French, une organisation nationale à but non-lucratif qui vise à promouvoir l’enseignement du FLS au Canada.

Yishin Khoo, PhD

A narrative inquiry into a teacher’s experience of learning to educate for citizenship on a shifting Canada-China inter-school reciprocal learning landscape



Yishin Khoo received her PhD at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto, and is currently working as a post-doctoral fellow for the Canada-China Reciprocal Learning Partnership Grant Project. Prior to pursuing her doctoral study in curriculum studies and teacher education, Yishin was involved in designing and delivering community educational programs to young people in Canada, Sri Lanka and China. She is passionate about bridging school and community as well as western and eastern thinking and practices in education. She also serves as a board member of Rural China Education Foundation, and is committed to fostering sustainable spaces for educators to learn and teach for a more sustainable future. Using narrative inquiry theory and methodology, her research examines how teachers re-tell and re-live their stories of educating for citizenship – from the local to the global – in the complexity of their classroom settings within West-East dialectics.

Hawazen Alharbi, PhD

Using Design-Based Research to Design a miniMOOC For Faculty Development On Quality Graduate Supervision



Hawazen Alharbi is currently an Assistant Professor at King Abdulaziz University in Saudi Arabia in the department of Educational Technology. Prior to that, she worked as a lecturer for several years. She has a masters’ degree in Instructional Technology from Wilkes University, Pennsylvania and a PhD in Educational Technology from the University of Calgary. Her research interests focus on professional development, MOOCs, design-based research and graduate supervision research.

Simon Adu-Boateng

Examining the perspectives and practices of high school science teachers on inclusive pedagogy



Born and raised in Ghana, Simon Adu-Boateng developed a great passion for teaching after high school because of inadequate science teachers, which almost truncated his educational journey and career. Given this interest, Simon proceeded to St Joseph’s College of Education, Ghana, where he obtained a diploma in education in 2002. He pursued further education at the University of Cape Coast in Ghana and was awarded a Bachelor’s degree in science education in 2010. Simon recently defended his Master of Education degree in Curriculum, Teaching, and Learning Studies at the Faculty of Education, Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN). His thesis was entitled: Examining the perspectives and practices of high school science teachers on inclusive pedagogy for examination. This study explored how science teachers adopt inclusive science pedagogy to meet the diverse learning needs of students in the regular classroom. Prior to Simon’s graduate studies at MUN, he spent approximately 12 years in the classroom as a high school science teacher in Ghana and South Africa.

Cara Song

Parental Perceptions of Grit: First Steps Towards Building Effective Character Education Programs



Cara Song is a recent graduate of Nipissing University’s Master of Education program, and an elementary teacher with the Near North District School Board. She is passionate about educational research and seeks to expand upon her research on grit, resilience and character education programming.  Her recent thesis focuses on the effectiveness of current character education programming, incorporating the perceptions of parents and guardians of preadolescent students to gain a better understanding on how grit should be fostered in schools.

Anne-Marie Lafortune

Differences in Students’ Perceptions of the Community of Inquiry in a Blended Synchronous Delivery Mode



Anne-Marie Lafortune has been a permanent teacher at Cégep de la Gaspésie et des iles for nine years. Before, she taught English as a second language for two years in South Korea, one year in France at the Lycée de Cheylard and one year at Flinders University in Australia.

With a B.A. in sociology and politics from McGill University, she has just completed her master’s degree in education. Her subject is the differences in students’ perceptions of the Community of Inquiry in a blended synchronous delivery format. Anne-Marie also researched the cognitive approach at Lehman University in New York in 2009 and is currently involved in a research project on the Helsinki pedagogical model in Finland. She recently received an award for Excellence in Education from Université de Sherbrooke.

Donated Books for CATE Awards Ceremony 2019


Please click on the link above to consult the donated books for this year’s CATE Awards Ceremony.



Please click on the links below to consult the previous Award winners.

2018 Award

2017 Award

2016 Award



This award has been created to recognise significant contributions to research in teacher education in Canada. Criteria for the award include evidence of excellence in research in teacher education through publications, presentations or other contributions, as well as overall influence on the field of teacher education research in Canada and internationally. Click here for more details.



Previous award winners for contributions to research in teacher education:

2017 – F. Michael Connelly

2016 – Deborah Britzman

2015 – Jean Clandinin

2014 – Peter Grimmett

2013 – not awarded

2012 – Tom Russell – inaugural winner

Chaque année, l’ACFE reconnaît les étudiants diplômés et les leaders de terrain distingués dans la formation des enseignants canadiens. Des informations sur les procédures d’éligibilité et d’application sont disponibles ci-dessous. Veuillez-vous rendre au bas de la page pour obtenir des informations sur les récipiendaires des années précédentes.



Attention aux superviseurs des étudiants(es) de deuxième et troisième cycle: Avez-vous un étudiant de deuxième ou troisièm cylce qui effectue des recherches sur un sujet en rapport avec la formation des enseignants et qui se défendra avant la conférence de la SCÉÉ de l’année prochaine? Si oui, s’il vous plaît encourager l’étudiant(e) à revoir les critères (en bas) et demander la reconnaissance CATE Prix des thèses et mémoires sur la formation des enseignants. Vous devrez soumettre une lettre de recommandation dans le cadre de la candidature de l’étudiant(e). Les superviseurs des candidats sont également invités à discuter brièvement l’importance des travaux et féliciter dans le cadre de la remise des prix si vous êtes en mesure d’y participer.


Attention, étudiants(es) de deuxième et troisième cycle: Si vous envisagez de défendre votre thèse ou votre mémoire entre le 1er juillet 2018 et le 31 mai 2019 et que vous effectuez une recherche pertinente pour la formation des enseignants, veuillez envisager de postuler au Prix de reconnaissance CATE pour thèses et mémoires sur la formation des enseignants. Bien que les candidats se présentent eux-mêmes, vous devez fournir une lettre de recommandation de votre supérieur hiérarchique dans le cadre du processus de candidature.


Les travaux des candidats retenus recevront les réponses du comité d’évaluation lors de la célébration de la formation des enseignants au Canada par le CATE. Les candidats doivent indiquer qu’ils seront en mesure de présenter leur thèse / thèse sous forme de poster à la conférence de la CSSE (Université de la Colombie-Britannique, Vancouver, Colombie-Britannique, du 2 au 5 juin 2019). Les superviseurs de la faculté seront également invités à faire une brève présentation sur les lauréats et leurs études. Les candidats retenus recevront un certificat de reconnaissance et une adhésion gratuite à CATE l’année suivante; Cependant, tous les coûts liés aux voyages et à l’inscription à la conférence sont à la charge des candidats.

Pour qu’une thèse ou mémoire soit considérée pour un prix de reconnaissance, l’étude doit aborder directement le domaine de la formation des enseignants, non seulement dans la conclusion, mais tout au long de la recherche. L’étude doit également porter sur un ou plusieurs des sujets suivants: (1) la formation des enseignants et les problèmes de notre société, (2) l’étude des pratiques de formation des enseignants, ou (3) les défis et les possibilités en matière de formation des enseignants.


Pour que votre thèse ou mémoire soit considérée pour un prix, veuillez examiner les critères en base. Les propositions doivent être envoyées avant le 1er mars 2019. Les soumissions complétées doivent être envoyées électroniquement sous forme de pièces jointes Word ou PDF, y compris la lettre de recommandation du superviseur de votre faculté, à l’adresse suivante:


Dr. Jodi Nickel

Associate Professor

Department of Education

Mount Royal University


Cliqué ici pour plus d’information sur les critères d’admission.


Cliqué ici pour le formulaire de soumission.