Deanna Rexe receives Dean's Convocation Medal

June 01, 2015

As one of SFU's most outstanding graduate students from the Faculty of Education, Dr. Deanna Rexe is being recognized with the award of the Dean of Graduate Studies Convocation Medal. On behalf of SFU, we congratulate Dr. Rexe on her outstanding achievements. 

When Dr. Deanna Rexe started her doctoral program, she knew that she wanted to build a deeper understanding of educational policy formation in Canada. She has now exceeded her wildest dreams, not only receiving the Dean of Graduate Studies Convocation Medal, but also the national award for the best dissertation on higher education in Canada — the George L. Geis Dissertation Award, from the Canadian Society for the Study of Higher Education, formally presented at Congress 2015.  

Her dissertation, The Political Economy of Tuition Policy Formation in Canada, offers insights for provincial policymakers who are setting tuition fees and for advocates and practitioners who are seeking to influence government decisions on post-secondary policy. She won the 3 Minute Thesis competition in the Faculty of Education in 2014 for her presentation on her research, and was a strong contender in the SFU finals.  

Over the course of her doctoral work, she received a number of awards in recognition of her important research, including a Graduate Fellowship and a Future Leaders Travel Grant from the US State Department and the US Embassy in Ottawa. She was also Principal Investigator for a $75,000 project for the Trades Training Consortium of BC.

Dr. Rexe's stellar academic career has come after her first successful career as a community college administrator: She was a Director of Institutional Research and Planning at Vancouver Community College and was promoted to Associate Vice President, Planning and Strategy and then Interim Vice President, Strategy and Enrolment.

Because of her background in post-secondary education, she was able to conduct valuable interviews with participants in every stage of the tuition policy formation process, from leaders of student advocacy groups to Deputy Ministers to Cabinet Ministers.

She says, "My thesis helped people understand the dynamics of policy formation and provides lessons on how to advocate for and achieve policy goals." She adds, "The Geiss Award was particularly affirming and heartwarming because it provided external validation from a national organization for the incredibly solitary and difficult journey to a completed dissertation."

Dr. Rexe is currently affiliated with SFU's Faculty of Education as an adjunct professor and is also an affiliated scholar with SFU's Centre for the Study of Educational Leadership and Policy, where she is actively developing new research projects in post-secondary policy. 

She says, "I am humbled and very appreciative of these recognitions. I am grateful for the support and encouragement from the Educational Leadership faculty at SFU who have given me wonderful opportunities to teach and conduct research, and especially for my outstanding supervisor Dr. Michelle Nilson and my committee."

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