Faculty of Education celebrates 40 years

What’s it like to be a 40-year-old Faculty of Education in the third largest University in Canada in 2012? That is the question Dean Alice Pitt addressed Wednesday, June 6 at the celebration of the Faculty’s 40th anniversary.

Close to 160 guests gathered in the Schulich Executive Dining room, including faculty, staff, donors, alumni, students and friends, laughed, ate and reminisced about excellence in education.

The York/Westview Choral project opened the celebrations with a performance of Bye Bye Blackbird and Music Moves Me. The chorale, now in its 20th year, is made up of students from various grades across 11 schools in the local community. The event was also a homecoming for the chorale’s pianist Daniel Suzuki (a teacher at Gulfstream Elementary School) who graduated from the BEd program in 2008.

Pitt spoke about the origin of the Faculty as a response to the shift from Ontario College of Education to university-based teacher education programs. “Since taking over the administration of Lakeshore Teachers College in 1971 we have developed and grown into the second largest Faculty of Education in Ontario,” she said. “We have expanded from a small and unique concurrent program into a larger Faculty offering accredited pre-service and in-service certifications and a nationally recognized graduate program. Pitt’s full comments can be read here.

The Faculty of Education recognized the 2011 convocation award student winners and Susan Rose, a teacher at Smithson Public School in the Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB), was presented with the Faculty Alumni Association’s annual Excellence in Teaching Award. Rose was recognized for her ongoing commitment and work in the area of Deaf Education. Since completing her MEd at York in 1984, Rose has worked with deaf and hard of hearing Susan Rosestudents in various capacities, teaching students from the preschool to high-school level, developing curriculum and resources, and working with colleagues to improve deaf and hard of hearing students’ learning.

Susan Rose

One of the other highlights of the evening was a dramatic performance of a Student Anthology on Teacher Education by four teacher candidates. Under the direction of course director Kathleen Gould Lundy, the students explored the world of arts and education witnessing first hand how drama education can positively impact their students’ lives. Through the use of scene work, improvisation, roleplaying, creative development and character and story development, the teacher candidates put together an anthology that explored their thoughts, feelings and experiences about their year at York and their overall feelings about teaching as a career choice.

The Mike Cado Trio (MEd) entertained those present and the celebration closed with the premiere of a video that tells the story of York’s Faculty of Education as it enters its fifth decade.

The 40th anniversary event included President & Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri’s welcome message, alumni retrospective videos, and a gallery of photos, which can be viewed by visiting the Faculty of Education website.