On behalf of Dean, Dr. Susan O'Neill, and the entire Faculty of Education, we want to congratulate our Spring 2020 class of graduates!

Missed the event? Watch the recording here!

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Messages from the Faculty of Education

Dear graduates of the TEAL-F program,

Congratulations on your wonderful achievement, completing a Masters degree in Education! We live in weird times and many of you might be disappointed to not have the opportunity to celebrate your accomplishments with your classmates and instructors in person. Despite these strange circumstances, I hope you know that your instructors are proud of you and believe you are ready to tackle the many social, economic, and ecological challenges that our world faces. I know you will do your best to make a difference and wish you success in all your professional and personal endeavours! Dream big and keep in touch!

Dr. Roumi Ilieva

To Raj Samra and Halimah Beaulieu

Congratulations to Raj Samra and Halimah Beaulieu for the very successful completion of your MA’s in the Equity Studies in Education program.

That, of course, includes defence of your theses. For Raj, “Smothering Othering: South Asian Students in K-12 Canadian Classrooms” and Halimah’s “The Understated Power of Reading Contemporary Indigenous Literature in Canada, a White Supremacist Nation.”

It is very telling that Kumari Beck, examiner for you, Raj began by saying “superb thesis”, “powerful,” “insightful.” And your examiner, Halimah, Daniel Heath Justice (UBC), whose scholarship is in Indigenous literature, began our examining committee discussion by saying “Fantastic job!” “thoughtful and thought provoking,” and “[this is] exactly what we want to see.”

The scholarly work completed by you both, Raj and Halimah, exemplifies the important and vital scholarship for which the Equity Studies in Education program was conceptualized; you both, demonstrated the courage, tenacity, and confidence necessary to undertake such, critical, disruptive work that so often meets with resistance and denial in educational contexts and society at large, as evidenced by your research. Further, your work demonstrates how Equity Studies might significantly inform discourses on equity in the faculty.

I am honoured to have had the opportunity to work with you both, and to observe how you provided support for each other throughout the process. My warmest wishes as you move forward from here. Again, congratulations!

Dr. Dolores van der Wey

Greetings and congratulations to our graduates!

It has been such a great pleasure to accompany you through your program of studies and here we are celebrating your accomplishments in unusual ways. We are still here cheering you on, although we wish it could have been different. We wish you the very best as you “go make a difference” in your classrooms, workplaces, communities and wherever your influence lies. We know you care deeply about the issues you took up here in your program, and we are honoured you choose to come study with us. You have contributed to our learning and to the program!


Dr. Özlem Sensoy & Dr. Kumari Beck

Congratulations, MEd EP Students!!!

You have worked so hard, and persevered, all the while running your lives, and even faced down Covid-19.  You were an exceptional cohort, and I know the future of education, online or in the classroom, is in good hands with you.  Although I will greatly miss our “community”, I know you are hard at work creating other communities, and I wish you the very best.

This is your great moment to reflect and appreciate your accomplishment!

Take good care,

Susan Barber

To Jing Li (Thesis: Community in the making: weaving places of learning, cultural production, and community building in a community festival space in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside),

First, Jing, I would like to compliment you for achieving such an original work for your doctoral research. You were, always, an outstanding student, and I believe you can be very proud of the outcome. Your thesis is very much like the person you are: surprising original, complex, sophisticated, humble, vibrant and passionate at the same time. Your work gives visibility and voice to amazing people, artists and visitors, who strive to share their experiences, their memories and hopes. Your own voice and posture in this work is powerful, authentic, and moving. Your study for your doctoral thesis stands to make a significant contribution to our understanding of an important, understudied community event, here, in the heart of Vancouver. Once again, congratulations Jing for your amazing work. It was a privilege for me to act as your senior supervisor and participate in your doctoral journey. I have learnt a lot from you. Thank you. I truly believe you are an inspirational young scholar, and I wish you the best for your future.

Dr. Danièle Moore

Dear Dr. Olivia Kanna,

This is one of the happiest days as you would be virtually receiving a Dean of Graduate Studies Convocation Medal. Teaching English to trauma afflicted refugees and immigrants is your daily reality in your class. You noticed that the traditional methods of language teaching do not work effectively and came to the realization that trauma needed to be addressed for any learning to take place in the class. In every research you have undertaken in your doctoral program, including your dissertation research, you were always motivated by great compassion for the suffering other, especially your students, and you embarked on a research path that led you to studying trauma from multi- and inter-disciplines. I am in complete agreement with your external examiner who stated in her report: “The scope of the thesis, covering psychology, philosophy, neuroscience, psychotherapy, neurobiology, and other topics, is very impressive. Such interdisciplinary approach is not easy to maneuver and the author does an amazing job weaving these fields together to give an in-depth understanding of how we teach and heal traumatized language learners at the same time. It is only through such an interdisciplinary lens, I believe, that we can understand the incredible human cruelty and profound human suffering . . . and that rebuilding human life after it has been smashed can happen only at the deepest level of our being through contemplative methods and profound care and love.” May your learning and teaching journey continue to inspire us all and help us to fare through the present turbulent time.

Dr. Heesoon Bai

Congratulations to all Faculty of Education graduates! Graduation is a time to honour yourselves for your achievements – and an exciting beginning, rather than an end. Learning is a gift and a lifelong endeavour that allows us to become change makers in communities, schools, and organizations. Thank you for choosing SFU as a partner in your learning and good luck with all the amazing things your future will bring!

Celeste Hambleton
Program Manager, Field Programs

Greetings to all our wonderful graduates!

My warmest congratulations to you all on successfully completing your degree. I am so sorry that the current situation has meant that we can’t be together to celebrate your achievement in person, but it is still important to mark this day in the best way we can.

It has been such a pleasure to work with, and learn from you, and I know that your experience of these difficult times, combined with everything you learned in your program, will shape the way you see your work as teachers and educational leaders in ways we can’t foresee right now. You should be very proud of all that you have accomplished, and I look forward to celebrating in real life when the situation permits.

In the meantime, I wish you all the best for a safe and healthy summer,

Dr. Ann Chinnery

I want to extend my congratulations to our graduates for their notable achievements and my gratitude to all those who helped pave their pathway to success.

I especially want to note the accomplishment of Erin Thrift, winner of the Dean’s Convocation Medal for her doctoral dissertation, What is Social Justice? Implications for the Field of Education. Erin’s dissertation addresses the problem that while the term “social justice” has come to bear lofty moral significance in educational circles and has become the impetus for numerous educational initiatives, few seem to be very clear on what the term means or how it can be used coherently in justifying theoretical, methodological, and practical endeavors. In the attempt to clarify the meaning of “social justice” and its relationship to education and schooling, Erin traced the historical emergence and development of the concept over the last three centuries and, particularly, its intimate relationship with the liberal political tradition. The goal of Erin’s historical approach was to render a “best account” of social justice; that is, one that explains the idea in light of its unique historical development, that retrieves the implicit ideals that have been held consistently over time, and that shows how it can be defended as well as used to address challenges that confound competing conceptions. Erin’s dissertation is of exceptional quality. Her oral defense was among the most vigorous intellectual examinations of a student’s ideas I have witnessed over my career as a professor and Erin acquitted herself most admirably. Congratulations Erin!

I wish all of you good health, happiness, and the best in your future endeavors.

Dr. Jeff Sugarman

Chère finissante / Cher finissant,

Toute l'équipe du Bureau des affaires francophones de SFU aimerait vous féliciter et vous souhaiter le plus grand succès dans votre carrière en éducation en français. N'oubliez pas de porter fièrement votre hoodie SFU - J'enseigne en français! *

Nous tenons à vous dire qu'il nous fera toujours plaisir de collaborer avec vous dans le cadre de différents projets et événements dans les années à venir, car comme vous le savez si bien maintenant, devenir enseignant est un parcours et non une finalité!  

Ce fut un plaisir de vous côtoyer durant vos études en français à la Faculté d'éducation, que ce soit sur place (PDP - Module français) ou à distance (Diplôme d'études supérieures).  

Vous avez relevé tous les défis avec brio! Encore une fois bravo!  

Vous serez toujours les bienvenus au BAFF de SFU.

Avec nos salutations les plus sincères,

Gino, Hélène, Betty, Fara et David  

* Si vous n'avez pas reçu votre hoodie SFU - J'enseigne en français, communiquez avec Laurence Gagnon à frecruit@sfu.ca pour en faire la demande.