This article is part of a 2022 Faculty of Education Legacy digitization project and was first published in Legacy 2008.

Back row: Danny Balderson, Marlo Steed, Keith Roscoe, Ken Heidebrecht, Guy Pomahac, Lance Grigg, Robert Miller, Maurice Hollingsworth, Tom Wilson, Kevin Orr, Kerry Bernes, Jim Henry, Michelle Snyder, Diane McKenzie, Kelly Vaselenak, Scott Powell, Margaret Beintema, Alyson Worrall, Johnel Tailfeathers, Jean Mankee, Margaret Joblonkay, Shari Platt, Leah Fowler, Robin Bright, Kath Remmie, Deb Sollway, Doug Orr, Janice Rahn, Jeff Davis
Middle row: Joyce Ito, Pamela Winsor, Nancy Grigg, Marguerite Anderson, Noella Piquette, Dawn McBride, Robert Runte, Nola Aitken, Palmer Acheson, Jane O'Dea, Richard Butt, Brian Titley, Art Aitken, David Townsend, Craig Loewen, Judy Lavorato, Lola Major, Carol Knibbs, Pam Adams, Sherrie Nickel, Darcy McKenna, Thelma Gunn, Rick Mrazek, Brian Walker
Front row: Darcy Tamayose, Nicole Spence, Susan Pollock, Gerald McConaghy, Jim Zook, Kaz Mazuek, Trevor Humphrey


Dean Dr. Jane O’Dea takes a look back at key milestones for the Faculty. She credits the Faculty’s founding members for developing a teacher preparation model that has stood the test of time and the Faculty’s sense of community and partnerships with stakeholders for enhancing its first-class reputation in undergraduate and graduate programming and education research.

Faculty of Education deans: Russell Leskiw (1967 – 1974), Robert N. Anderson (1974 – 1979; 1986 – 1987), Jon Thorlacius (1979 – 1982), Eric Mokosch (1982 – 1986; 1987 – 1994), Myrna L. Greene (1995), Laurence Walker (1995 – 2000)

The original undergraduate program’s emphasis on both theory and practice was quite unique at the time, and it is still in many ways unique today. Other schools have modelled their teacher preparation programs on what happens at the U of L.

Since the undergraduate program began in 1967, our students have completed a certain amount of classes on campus and then gone out into the school system where they have been supervised by faculty and their mentor teachers. This combination of theory and practice with faculty supervision makes for the best kind of instruction. In one semester, students learn the theory and have a chance to try it out. Faculty who teach the courses get to work with teachers in the schools and see if what we are teaching is effective or needs modification.

We are particularly proud of Professional Semester III, which is a unique internship that gives our students the chance to transition from university to the school system. Our student interns assume 50 per cent of a teacher’s workload, and that teacher becomes a mentor to them. This internship is a safe place for students to experience the kind of difficulties that many first-year teachers encounter.

The development of the five-year combined degree program in 1991 has allowed our students to earn a bachelor’s degree in arts, science, fine arts, music or management as well as education. I like to say that it’s not just the Faculty of Education producing great teachers – it’s our partnership with the rest of the University. The combined degree symbolizes that collaboration in a very important way.

Another important change has been the addition of specializations in technology, special/inclusive education and early childhood education. In addition to having a major and a minor, our students can take electives and have practica geared to one of these three areas.

The Niitsitapi Teacher Education program that we developed and offered with Red Crow Community College from 2003 to 2005 changed our view of education. This unique program based on Blackfoot culture was really an exchange of gifts. The Blackfoot community and the elders shared their culture, and we offered our knowledge of teaching. Nineteen students completed the education portion of Niitsitapi.

The general master of education program introduced in 1984 was the first graduate program at the University. We have offered the general MEd program to distant cohorts in Alberta and British Columbia school districts. We’re always experimenting with different modes of delivery that accommodate teachers’ busy schedules and offer a challenging and exciting graduate experience.

MEd programs with specializations in counselling psychology and educational leadership were introduced in 1999 and 2004, respectively. The Faculty has also been collaborating in the Campus Alberta Applied Psychology (CAAP) master of counselling psychology program since 2001. In 2005, we began offering an MEd program with an emphasis on literacy to a cohort of students in Belize. This program is an example of how the general MEd can be tailored to the unique needs of a particular community.

Slated to begin in January 2009, the First Nations, Métis, Inuit (FNMI) Master of Education Curriculum Leadership program will be offered in collaboration with Mi’Kai’sto Red Crow Community College. It’s the only program of its kind in Canada.

Our success has always been rooted in a strong sense of community, a close working relationship with the teaching profession, school districts and relevant educational stakeholders and a shared commitment to excellence in teaching and scholarship.

As the Faculty looks to the future, we will continue to be guided by enduring traditions, the spirit of innovators and a shared vision.

Article first published in the Faculty of Education Legacy 2008.

For more information please contact:

Darcy Tamayose
Communications Officer
Dean's Office • Faculty of Education
University of Lethbridge
Learn more about the Faculty of Education: Legacy Magazine (2008-2019)
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