Equity Studies in Education

The Equity Studies in Education is designed for students who wish to study and develop expertise in an equity framework for education. The program conceptualizes education broadly as a concept that includes schooling, but also includes other social forces that shape knowledge in society.


In addition to the conceptual, the pedagogical standpoint of this program is also rooted in an anti-oppression, equity frame. Acknowledging that we do this work on the unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples, the program instructors operate from a critical pedagogy of care, inclusion, hope, and advocacy for dismantling the ongoing legacy of settler colonialism, racism, hetero/sexism, ableism, classism, linguicism, and other socially-constructed and sustained systems of oppression. While we advocate for and work towards these ideals, we also acknowledge that we are each limited by the experiences and standpoints from which we know and experience the world. It is expected that students in this program will engage in an ongoing critical, self-reflective stance on the processes of equity as we seek to understand and achieve it in school, other social institutions, and society at large, as well as in our own contexts as students, faculty, and citizens working towards a just society.


Teresa Dettling, MEd - Social Justice Activist.

Vive Wong, MEd - Non-profit organization in the Community Engagement Sector.

Christie Mendes, MEd - Learning and Development.

Sarah Shove, (MEd) - Grade 7 Teacher, Delta School District.

Madeline Brewster, (MEd) - High School Teacher, Vancouver School District.

Mark Touzeau, (MEd) - Primary School Teacher, Langley School Dictrict.

MA, MEd Research Projects

  • "Equity, diversity, and inclusion trainings: A critical examination of professional development for social change"
    (MEd Comps, 2021) 
    Committee: Sensoy/ Jordan
  • "Skilled women immigrants in Canada: Challenges faced in entering the labour market and the role of postsecondary education" 
    (MEd Comps, 2021) 
    Committee: Beck/ R. Ilieva
  • "Cripping accommodation and inclusion: A critical discourse analysis of accommodations policies and inclusion discourses at BC’s three largest post-secondary institutions" 
    (MA Thesis, 2021)
    Committee: Sensoy/ Smythe/ Loutzenheiser (UBC); Examiner: Bathseba Opini, UBC
  • "Implementing equity in student advising in the context of university EDI initiatives" 
    (MEd Comps, 2021) 
    Committee: Beck/ R. Cox
  • "Smothering othering: South Asian students in K-12 Canadian classrooms" 
    (MA Thesis, 2020) 
    Committee: van der Wey/ Lee; Examiner: K. Beck
  • "The unstated power of reading contemporary Indigenous literature in Canada, a White supremacist nation" 
    (MA Thesis, 2020)
    Committee: van der Wey/ Lee; Examiner: Daniel Heath Justice, UBC
  • "A critical policy scan of sexual violence policies at 15 major post-secondary institutions in Canada"
    (MEd Comps, 2019)

    Committee: Cassidy/ Beck/ S. Poyntz
  • "Mostly "in" and sometimes "out": Queer teacher experience in British Columbia"
    (MEd Comps, 2019)
    Committee: Beck/ Chinnery
  • “Anti-racism policies, antiracism education for school administrators”
    (MEd Comps, 2019) 

    Committee: Beck/ Dharamshi
  • “Mentorship education in the professional development of nurses”
    (MEd Comps, 2019) 
    Committee: Sensoy/ Dharamshi
  • “Securitization, surveillance, and policing in schools”
    (MEd Comps, 2019) 
    Committee: Chinnery/ Beck
  • “Understanding and allyship between Indigenous and migrant communities”
    (MEd Comps, 2019)
    Committee: Chinnery/ Parent
  • “Examining the relationship between First Nations people and early Chinese settlers in BC: Shared experiences and challenges imposed by the state and current implications” 
    (MEd Comps, 2019)

    Committee: vanderWey/ Han
  • “The challenges of decolonizing education in BC classrooms"
    (MEd Comps, 2018) 

    Committee: Chinnery/ Dharamshi
  • "Employment learning needs of immigrant women"
    (MEd Comps, 2018)

    Committee: Smythe/ Lee
  • "Whose stories? Whose lives? A critical narrative analysis of British Columbia's foster parent training module"
    (MEd Comps, 2018)
    Committee: vanderWey/ Smythe
  • “Integrating Indigenous education into secondary classrooms"
    (MEd Comps, 2018)
    Committee: Beck/ Parent
  • Unforgiveness: An alternative space for people who cannot forgive
    (MA Thesis, 2018)

    Committee: Sensoy/ Chinnery/ G. McCarron; Examiner: Masahiro Minami
  • Challenging racial privilege in international experiential learning programs with Canadian university students
    (MA Thesis, 2018)
    Committee: Beck/ Marshall; Examiner: Roumi Ilieva
  • “Reading queerly: Queer critical pedagogy in schools"
    (MEd Comps, 2018)

    Committee: Marshall/ Beck
  • “Creating Space for Transgender Two-Spirit and Non-Binary Individuals in Gender-Segregated Shelter and Housing Programs" (MEd Comps, 2017)
    Committee: Jordan/ Smythe/ CJ Rowe
  • “Normative Masculinities in Children’s Fiction” (MEd Comps, 2017)
    Committee: Marshall/ T. Rogers, UBC
  • “Teaching Unions in Social Justice Movements”
    (MEd Comps, 2017)

    Committee: Smythe/ Marshall
  • “The Invisibility of Injustice in Social Justice 12” (MEd Comps, 2017)
    Committee: Sensoy/ Han
  • “White teacher identity development"
    (MEd Comps, 2017)

    Committee: Beck/ Marshall 
  • “Me and the Media: Being Muslim in Canada” (MEd Comps, 2016)
    Committee: Sensoy/ Beck 



The latest Equity Studies student and faculty news, informational updates, past and upcoming events, and more.


Upcoming Events

No Events scheduled at this time.

Archived Events

Tuesday, May 31, 2022 | Simon Fraser University | Burnaby

The Polarization of Privilege

Decades of research and scholarship have explored social privilege in its many dimensions. Yet, privilege remains a thorny topic and difficult to talk about, inciting eye-rolling, confusion, denial, resentment, and perhaps even rage, among other responses. Walton argues that building understanding of equity relies on reshaping educational approaches to teaching about privilege. Recognizing the risks of polarization in spaces of learning, Walton insists that it is up to social justice scholars and educators to find ways to mitigate it. In his view, the work is especially incumbent upon those who, like himself, benefit from social privilege. His presentation for Equity Studies in Education focuses on how scholars and educators can teach about social privilege in ways that engage all students, even the most resentful ones. The question is: How?

About Dr. Gerald Walton: Dr. Gerald Walton is Professor in the Faculty of Education at Lakehead University. Raised in the Canadian military without having been taught anything about colonialism in school, he grew up in several places in Canada and oversees, never enjoying the constant uprooting but always doing well in his studies. He graduated with his BA and MA from the University of Victoria and his PhD from Queen’s University, focusing his scholarship on privilege and exclusion to understand his own experience. Focusing on the topic of bullying, he argued in his dissertation, as he still does, that bullying persists because of a fundamental misunderstanding of what it is in the first place. An award-winning educator and student mentor, Walton draws from his own experiences of social privilege on one hand, and social oppression on the other, in his approach to education. In addition to many academic and general articles, he is also co-author of Being boys: Shaping gender norms to weaken rape culture (2021) and editor of The gay agenda: Claiming space, identity, and justice (2014).

Gerald Walton: The Polarization of Privilege from CELS on Vimeo.


Wednesday, February 24, 2021 | ESE Black History Month Lecture | Dr. Annette Henry | University of British Columbia

Why Black History Month Isn't Enough: What Else Educators Must Know and Do

How do researchers build relationships with cultural communities? How do we, especially where we are cultural outsiders, bridge issues of power and build trusting and mutually beneficial research and advocacy relationships? And in turn, how do cultural insiders build trust as university workers representing institutional contexts that have often amplified the marginalization experienced by Black communities, Indigenous communities, communities of Colour, and otherwise marginalized peoples? In this talk, Dr. Henry will draw on her decades of experience and scholarship working with Black students, teachers, activists, and community-based organizations to share her insights on how researchers can better navigate circumstances working across race and culture.

About Dr. Henry: Annette Henry holds the David Lam Chair in Multicultural Education in the Faculty of Education at the University of British Columbia. She is a Professor in the Department of Language and Literacy Education and cross-appointed to the Institute for Race, Gender, Sexuality and Social Justice. Her scholarship examines race, class, language, gender and culture in socio-cultural contexts of teaching and learning in the lives of Black students, Black oral histories, and Black women teachers’ practice in Canada, the U.S. and the Caribbean. She has written extensively about equity in the academy, diverse feminisms and conceptual and methodological research issues especially in culture-specific contexts. She is the 2018 recipient of the Canadian Association of University Teachers Equity Award.

View the recording of Dr. Henry's talk (SFU ID required).


Tuesday, March 10, 2020 | Transforming Simon Fraser University: Bringing Back the Canoe to Undertake Our Collective Responsibilities to Walk Together on Saltən & Lhukw’lhukw’ayten

Dr. Gwendolyn Point | BCAFN Elder Representative

Shoysqwelwhet (Dr. Gwendolyn Point) is from the Stó:lō Nation. She is a distinguished educator, scholar, mentor, visionary, cultural advisor, and leader. At various points in her career, Shoysqwelwhet has taught at the elementary, secondary, and post-secondary levels, and held positions in leadership and administration with the Stó:lō Nation and the provincial government. She is former Chancellor for the University of the Fraser Valley and is currently serving as the Elder for the B.C. Assembly of First Nations Chiefs.

Dr. Point holds a Doctorate in Education from SFU and is a board member for PAVCOand the Provincial First Nations Education Steering Committee. Her work in Indigenous education and Stó:lō language revitalization, as well as her contributions to Indigenous sovereignty, healing and self-determining community-based research have been recognized with numerous distinctions and awards. Among them are an honourary Doctorate in Education from the University of Victoria, a University of British Columbia Alumni Volunteer Leadership award, the Order of Chilliwack, and the Rotary Harris Fellow Award.

View a recording of Dr. Point's talk (SFU ID required).


Monday, November 18, 2019

You Say You Want a Revolution: Criticalizing Youth Activism in the Post-Truth Era | Shirley R. Steinberg, PhD

How do we become critical allies and supporters of youth, without becoming their critics? Our futures are determined by our desire to understand and work authentically with youth as educators, community workers, and activists. In order to become facilitators and supporters of our youth, it is essential to discuss the history and culture of youth and to contextualize the worth of an empowered youth population.

View a recording of Dr. Steinberg's talk.


Wednesday, March 13, 2019 | Intersections and Interventions: Making Visible the Invisible Violence of Power

Yasmin Jiwani, PhD

This presentation focuses on the role of the mainstream media in making visible, hyper-visible and invisible the violence of power. Through intersectional frames of analysis of specific spectacular cases of violence, Dr. Jiwani interrogates how frames make certain bodies legible by situating them in a matrix of meaning that rationalizes certain kinds of responses and valuations of worthiness and grievability. Dr. Jiwani ends with an examination of various tactical interventions as pedagogies of hope in countering and talking back to the violence(s) of power.

View a recording of Dr. Jiwani’s talk.


Tuesday, November 20, 2018

White Fragility: Why It's So Hard For White People To Talk About Racism | Robin DiAngelo, PhD

White people in the U.S. and Canada live in a society that is deeply separate and unequal by race, and white people are the beneficiaries of that separation and inequality. As a result, we are insulated from racial stress, at the same time that we come to feel entitled to and deserving of our advantage. Given how seldom we experience racial discomfort, we haven’t had to build our racial stamina. We consider a challenge to our racial worldviews as a challenge to our very identities as good, moral people. Thus, we perceive any attempt to connect us to the system of racism as an unsettling and unfair moral offense. The smallest amount of racial stress is intolerable—the mere suggestion that being white has meaning often triggers a range of defensive responses. These include emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt and behaviors such as argumentation, silence, and withdrawal from the stress-inducing situation. These responses work to reinstate white equilibrium as they repel the challenge, return our racial comfort, and maintain our dominance within the racial hierarchy. I conceptualize this process as white fragility. This talk will provide an overview of the socialization that inculcates white fragility and the perspectives and skills needed for white people to build their racial stamina and engage more constructively across race.


Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Awareness and Prevention of Sexualized Violence Against Indigenous Women and Girls: Dismantling and Deconstructing Colonial Constructs | Lisa Monchalin, PhD

Indigenous women in Canada are hypersexualized through all facets of western media and culture stemming from imperial colonial legacies. These ideas and misrepresentations have permeated institutions, infused today’s value systems, and have become embedded in western media and culture. It is argued that this sexualization is tied to extreme levels of violence and victimization affecting Indigenous women today. In this presentation, the dominant western narratives are deconstructed, challenged, and re-evaluated in an effort to raise awareness, examine solutions, and explore possibilities for next steps forward. It is argued that Indigenous women are a driving force for change. Many are raising awareness and empowering communities through cultural reclamation, acts of resurgence, and self-expression through art, music, and dance.

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