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Cheers to New Chapters
On February 22, 2023, we honoured our recent retirees: Allan MacKinnon, Carolyn Mamchur, David Kaufman, Diane Dagenais, Dolores van der Wey, Lannie Kanvesky, Stephen (Sen) Campbell and Wanda Cassidy. We wish them the very best as they celebrate new chapters in their lives. Learn more about their incredible achievements and SFU journeys.
In his own words, “development and teaching have been the thicker part of his career,” and 32 years with the Faculty of Education have offered ample opportunities to build relationships and effect change. Read More >>
“I am not attracted to well-rounded people, nor do I want to be one. I prefer people with sharp edges, they make an impact,” she recently said in an interview. Read More >>
Diane Dagenais has been called “a good fairy,” who has changed both individual lives and has contributed to transforming the society we live in. Read More >>
Dolores van der Wey
With focus on Coalition and reparative politics in university contexts, Dolores’ work has been inextricably linked to anti-oppression and anti-racism education. Read More >>
A true Vygotskian, she firmly believes that higher psychological capacities, like self-regulated learning, reflect the social and cultural contexts in which they take place and develop as a result of interactions with others. Read More >>
Stephen (Sen) Campbell
With successive careers in industry and academia and a lifelong interest in the nature of consciousness, he has combined education and neuroscience, allowing them to transcend their individual space and become complementary. Read More >>
She is a successful administrator, and she has impacted generations of students. And with over a hundred quotes and media interviews related to her research, she is probably more famous than some sitting heads of state. Read More >>
In his own words, “development and teaching have been the thicker part of his career,” and 32 years with the Faculty of Education have offered ample opportunities to build relationships and effect change.
Dr. MacKinnon’s legacy includes major international projects in Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam, as well as work to launch the Surrey Campus and broaden the entrance requirements to SFU. And while his area was science education, Allan has always been passionate about reflective practice in learning. This has culminated in the co-development of the field programs, which have since served over 252 cohorts and transformed the pedagogical practice of close to 6,000 teachers.
And it was service to students that really set him apart. “He has always had a particular kind of graciousness and a real passion for students, and he brought a kind of playfulness through his music and humanness,” notes Dr. Celeste Snowber.
Allan himself noted: “There is so much to learn from students, and I feel so rich as a result.” Not only did he supervise 35 Doctoral and 58 Masters theses and projects, but he also spent hours and hours in the Student Advisement Centre, counselling students who came to the PDP from across the university. These experiences, he says, shaped him as a professor.
Many of his international graduates became real education reformers and leaders in their countries, and his Canadian students speak about Allan’s “exponential impact” on their lives.
“When I think of him as an instructor, the relationship was not [as if] there was someone above me; he was authentic and there was such a humility about him,” says Tony Botelho who had Dr. MacKinnon as his MA Supervisor. “He was so good at giving me the space to figure out what I needed to figure out, nudging me when I needed to be nudged and encouraging me to explore.”
“Multi, a combining of many, is who and what Allan is,” says his former colleague Claude Dionne. “Multi-MacKinnon, many times over, showed his passion and dedication alongside, or, as he put it, ‘at the elbows’ with others. Multi-MacKinnon made us laugh and groove as a community.”
Multi-thanks Allan for all that you have done!
“I am not attracted to well-rounded people, nor do I want to be one. I prefer people with sharp edges, they make an impact,” she recently said in an interview.
A teacher, a scholar, a screenplay writer, Dr. Carolyn Mamchur has been known to upset apple carts and push the envelope on many things. She is also someone who is known for her deep love – of people, her gardens, and animals -- and for modeling the kind of care that goes beyond what many of us could even imagine.
“She is so strong and so vulnerable at the same time,” says her former student and colleague Dr. Vandy Britton. “She has made life an exciting adventure for herself, while it has been so overwhelmingly challenging in many ways. She has just kept going, and I find it so impressive.”
Carolyn has attended to her own artistry while helping others discover metaphors for ways of being in the world, her colleagues say. She is highly attuned to the healing powers of nature and has been able to open them for others.
Dr. Celeste Snowber has called her a woman of many “p’s”: powerful, passionate, purposeful, playful, and provocative. “The big gift Carolyn has given people over the decades is that she has opened up a place for students to find their voice,” she says. “We find each other in our own stories; and Carolyn has done this in all her classes.”
“What is possible?!” Carolyn would famously say, setting the bar high for both herself, and those around her. Then she would create the platforms and find the ways to make the seemingly impossible possible.
“She believed in me more than I ever believed in myself. She was such an instrumental person in my life in terms of making me see possibilities for myself in academia that I had never imagined. She is a teacher in the very best sense of the word,” says Vandy. “I now work at the University of the Fraser Valley as an Associate Professor, and I can say that the reason I am where I am is because of Carolyn.”
As Dr. Kaufman himself notes, he has been on a path of personal growth since he was 16 years old, when he read his first self-help book. Since then, he has been a faculty member at four universities in Engineering and Education, published more than 120 peer-reviewed articles and four books, served as a reviewer for many journals, granting agencies and professional associations, and received more than $4 million in funding. He has also trained as a therapist, taught yoga and aerobics classes and worked as a personal trainer.
“David Kaufman is like a candle who has lit my career path. Working under his supervision has been very enjoyable, and I have learned and grown a lot,” says his former student Dr. Adhi Susilo. “He is my role model, and my success is his blessing.”
David’s research interests have included educational technology, medical education, problem-based learning and the use of digital games and simulations for students’ learning. He developed the Certificate Program for Graduate Students, which has become an important training program for graduate students.
As part of the Pan-Canadian AGEWELL network, David investigated how digital games can enhance the cognitive, social and physical lives of older adults. He also focused on digital storytelling for seniors, with over 150 legacy stories gathered and subsequently shared at libraries and seniors’ homes.
David also did research on seniors’ and youths’ happiness, a track he has continued after retiring from SFU. Last year, he published a book entitled Super Happy: How to banish worry, anxiety, and stress and reclaim joy and inner peace. He has also developed courses dealing with the topic of “happiness” and plans to conduct research with the adults who take these courses.
“David's early training was in Engineering. That discipline teaches careful and thorough planning is a first step on a path to success,” says Dr. Phil Winne. “David practiced that lesson wisely, spending the last decade of his career discovering how to age gracefully. One of his research grants was titled, ‘Sharing the Wisdom of Our Elders.’ I thank you for sharing, Elder David.”
She has been described as humble, civil and very good at pushing others into the limelight. Diane Dagenais has also been called “a good fairy,” who has changed both individual lives and has contributed to transforming the society we live in.
Diane’s scholarship in applied linguistics focuses on multilingualism, multiliteracies and second language education, and its impact goes far beyond this university. It’s putting French education on the map in Western Canada that is her true legacy, colleagues say.
As part of a consortium organized by the Deans of education from western provinces, Diane worked to determine SFU’s contribution to the creation of joint French graduate programs. Together with colleagues from universities in Alberta and Saskatchewan, she developed asynchronous online courses to expand options in French for graduate education students.
Through a four-year partnership of Canadian, American and Mexican universities, Diane helped graduate students in North America develop professional skills that include a multicultural framework for teaching educational methodologies. And as an early literacy research consultant, she has contributed to advancing lasting solutions to the pressing educational challenges in West Africa.
Diane has been instrumental in the creation of SFU’s Office of Francophone and Francophile Affairs and the development of many of the programs it supports. She has contributed to the Faculty’s programs in French, such as the doctoral program in Educational Leadership and an off-campus master’s program offered in Victoria, BC.
Diane has also developed and taught the first video-conferencing course offered by the Faculty of Education simultaneously at sites in Burnaby and Kamloops. Her EDUC 826 Reading Process web-based course was twinned with an equivalent graduate seminar at the University of Montreal.
Diane has served on the SFU Senate and its Committees, as well as the Human Rights Policy Board, and she is the recipient of the 2019 Mentorship Award from the Canadian Society for Studies in Education.
“She deeply cares about people and the role of education in fighting inequalities, and her ultimate contribution to research has been about building a better world,” says her colleague Cécile Bullock. “And we will honour this legacy.”
An equity journey is never easy, but those who have been fortunate to immerse in scholarship and discussions with Dr. Dolores van der Wey consider these among the most influential experiences they have ever had.
“Caring, patient, strong and brilliant; she encouraged me to dig deeply into my own life and privilege and get courageous at seeing myself,” notes Dr. Timothy Mossman who had Dolores as a professor while pursuing his doctorate in the Faculty of Education. “Dolores helped me grow as a scholar and understand the social injustices in this world.”
With focus on Coalition and reparative politics in university contexts, Dolores’ work has been inextricably linked to anti-oppression and anti-racism education – both at the Faculty of Education and beyond. She has been instrumental in transforming inquiry into teaching and learning through SFU’s Institute for the Study of Teaching and Learning in the Disciplines (ISTLD). In ISTLD’s “Decolonizing Teaching” Seminar series, Dolores guided faculty members from diverse disciplines across the university in their journeys to decolonize their courses and curricula. She mentored faculty participants in developing “the knowledge and skills necessary to both identify colonialism within their discipline and teaching as well as enact changes to decenter it. No matter what discipline the questions came from, Dolores was able to challenge faculty participants to question themselves on an existential level about who they think they are and who they want to be.
Dolores would enter the ISTLD-DT classroom, and there was this quiet, soft power about her. She would say things that were disruptive, things that were super-challenging, things that were difficult for “well-intentioned” faculty members to hear. But she would always do this with openness, compassion, and hope.
Dolores embodies equity, Indigeneity and inquiry, her friends and colleagues say. And she has not only researched these core Faculty values but has fully practised them with every molecule of her being.
“She is an equity education unicorn,” says former ISTLD Decolonizing Teaching participant and FoE colleague Dr. Ena Lee. “And I hope that one day I will be able to do this work in the way that Dolores does it every day. That’s a skill but it’s also a gift.”
“Many have known a young man like Alex; he was nine going on 90, he was worldly wise, concerned about issues, controversies and global crises beyond his age,” Lannie Kanevsky wrote in a paper for the Gifted Child Quarterly. In her quest to find the best ways for kids like Alex to learn, she has looked up to them as her wisest teachers and inspiration. And she has become their advocate.
“Children taught her to be ahead of her time because her heart was with them” says Dr. Vicki Kelly. “In my world we acknowledge the gift of a child, and in the words of Gabriel George every child comes with a character, a gift and a struggle. This is a huge teaching, and Lannie knew this as well even when her field wasn’t talking about it.”
Lannie’s interests have their roots in her teaching experiences. A true Vygotskian, she firmly believes that higher psychological capacities, like self-regulated learning, reflect the social and cultural contexts in which they take place and develop as a result of interactions with others.
A life-long and life-wide learner, Lannie has been highly attuned to learning communities. She knew how to foster collaboration and collegiality by honouring each and every member of a group, and her colleagues recognize this as a gift and as a living legacy.
“Within Advanced Professional Studies, she will be remembered as a committed and collaborative colleague who graciously shared her time, talents and scholarship to support teacher education,” notes Dr. Paula Rosehart. “Long after her time as Director of Field Programs, she continued to support faculty associates in the co-visioning of graduate diploma programs and in the co-development and delivery of GDE courses.”
A great believer in conversation, she was valued both inside and outside her “cognate” group.
“It was wonderful for me to have a good colleague who is a great listener and whose perspective combines personal care, friendship and professional evaluation,” says Dr. Rina Zazkis.
And not only will she be remembered as a very kind and generous scholar, colleague and friend but also as a very capable sailor and a talented baker who made some of the best brownies ever!
Bridging the worlds of education and neuroscience is sometimes viewed as building a “bridge too far.” Not for Dr. Sen Campbell!
With successive careers in industry and academia and a lifelong interest in the nature of consciousness, he has combined education and neuroscience, allowing them to transcend their individual space and become complementary.
Colleagues and students have called him an “astronaut” and a “philosopher.”
Dr. Rina Zazkis, who had many conversations with him, initially as a supervisor and then as a colleague, remembers: “I would listen to Sen for a few minutes, and then, if I felt unable to follow, I would usually say: ‘fasten your seatbelt, we are about to land.’” And they did land – on several joint publications and edited books. They also pioneered a particular area of mathematics education research, that of elementary number theory.
Sen firmly believes that mathematics provides “the best way to make sense of the world, the deepest way of thinking about it.” He has also found a way to take an in-depth look at the cognition of learning, observing behaviour at high resolution and in fine granularity.
The ENGAMMETRON became that panopticon – capturing “aha” moments in real time – from eye movement to brain activity to facial expressions to mouse movements on the screen. The lab also provided the “existence proof” that it was possible to combine different behavioural monitoring methods with a theoretical framework to enable a deep understanding of what was actually going on during an “aha” moment.
It would be easy to note the books, the articles, the ENGRAMMETRON, but Sen’s most notable contribution was providing the philosophical foundation for the Mathematics Education PhD at SFU.
Alfred Renyi famously said: “A mathematician is a machine for turning coffee into theorems.” In a similar vein, Dr. Sen Campbell was a machine, fueled heavily and often by Caffè Americanos, for turning SFU’s Math Ed PhD students of all ilk into philosophically well-grounded researchers in the field of mathematics education,” notes Dr. Egan Chernoff.
“And you’ll be pleased to note, Sen, that I am, currently, rereading Tarnas!” he adds.
She has been called an education trailblazer and an impeccable scholar. She is a successful administrator, and she has impacted generations of students. And with over a hundred quotes and media interviews related to her research, she is probably more famous than some sitting heads of state.
Dr. Wanda Cassidy is also known as someone who has a very deep heart and models the ethic of care. “My work is driven by my values and passions,” she said in a recent interview. “Each of us has a purpose here on Earth to contribute in a meaningful and positive way. I have always felt this strong purpose to spend my time on things that are important to society and the wider picture.”
A primary aim of Wanda’s research has been to impact policy and practice in schools and postsecondary institutions. She has worked with teachers to build caring communities at a time when technology was proliferating and bullying was no longer limited to the schoolyard.
She is also a Co-Founder of the endowed Centre for Education, Law and Society (CELS) and has spent 25 years at its helm. According to Wanda, educating young people to be informed citizens, willing and able to advocate for justice, has been one the key Centre’s goals.
“CELS has always been at the forefront of dealing with important contemporary issues in a social justice context,” notes Patrick Clarke who has worked as a CELS coordinator and has also served as President of BC Teachers Federation.
In January 2023, CELS was officially renamed the Cassidy Centre for Educational Justice.
Wanda’s service has been recognized with multiple awards and distinctions, including the Isidore Starr Award for Excellence in Law-Related Education from the American Bar Association, the SFU Excellence in Teaching and Faculty of Education Community Engagement Awards.
“She is an incredible leader, and she has wisdom, and she is able to enact and “womenfest” this wisdom with exemplary graciousness,” says Dr. Celeste Snowber.