Kathryn Desrochers (BSc/BEd ’13, MEd ’21) has had a stellar MEd (Educational Leadership) program experience with supervisors Drs. Pamela Adams and Carmen Mombourquette that culminated with no less than two significant recognitions. Earlier in March, her thesis was selected by the Canadian Association for the Study of Educational Administration for the Margaret Haughey Award for Best Master’s Thesis of 2020. Then in May, she was recipient of the Faculty of Education Medal of Merit, awarded to the student in the graduate program with the highest academic standing.

Kathryn has a beautifully inquisitive spirit,” says co-supervisor Dr. Pamela Adams. “On more than one occasion her wonderings caused me to think more deeply and differently about my own understandings. I look forward to her continued growth.”

Why did you choose to pursue graduate studies?
The primary reason I chose to pursue graduate studies was because I was looking to learn in a new and different way. As someone who had been classroom teaching for several years, I was ready to challenge myself and deepen my knowledge and understanding. Pursuing graduate studies seemed like a way to expand my horizons and push myself to hopefully develop a broader and more nuanced understanding of education as a whole.

What does your research focus on? What do you hope your research will accomplish?
My research focused on how teachers perceive leadership behaviours to impact their efficacy. I was interested in developing an understanding of how leaders can help teachers to feel more effective in their schools and classrooms. My hope is that my research might start to help bridge the gap between understanding how leadership practices impact teachers in their day to day practice, their effectiveness, and their beliefs in their own abilities; and how to leverage these leadership skills to make our schools and systems the best they can possibly be.

What was your most memorable experience while at the University of Lethbridge?
The most memorable experience was probably that entire first summer that our Master of Education cohort was together. It was such a steep learning curve, but we were in it together and I had the opportunity to get to know a group of incredible educators and leaders. The learning and connections formed during that summer set the foundation for the rest of my graduate studies journey.

What does this academic recognition mean to you?
To me this award is represents my growth as a learner and it is reflective of all of the support I received along the way. It is an opportunity to reflect back and realize that over the course of this degree I grew to learn to express myself clearly and thoughtfully through my writing, and how to use those skills within my thesis. This award felt like a culmination of the skills I have developed over the past few years.

What advice would you give to those who are about to begin their journey at graduate studies?
The advice I would offer to anyone beginning any journey in their learning is to get comfortable with being uncomfortable, getting it wrong, and not knowing the answer. I have come to believe those things are the cost of entry into anything truly worthwhile. If you can approach situations with an open enough mind to really embrace how very little you know, you’re going to open yourself up to learning more than you could have ever imagined.

Link to thesis:
Rural Teachers’ Perceptions of Leadership Practices Influencing Efficacy here.

Photo courtesy: Kathryn Desrochers

Related story links to Faculty of Education Graduate Studies and Research:
Canadian Association for Study of Educational Administration: Best Master’s Thesis 2020 goes to Kathryn Desrochers (MEd’21)
Alumni Research: Martin Parent (MEd '20) Video Podcasting to the Teacher World
The Creativity of Curriculum and 36 Years with the Faculty of Education: Dr. Richard Butt
MEd Student Research: Our Future Really Needs Us To Be Critical Thinkers
Mental Health Care: Pivoting for the Pandemic
Book Spotlight: A Generative Approach to Leadership for All Educators by Pamela Adams, Carmen Mombourquette and David Townsend
Leadership in Education: The Power of Generative Dialogue
Bridging Neuroscience and Education: Riley Kostek (BSc’09/BEd’11)
Teaching and Assessing for Life Beyond the Classroom: Dr. David Slomp
Five questions with Shining Graduate Rita Lal (BSc/BEd '01, MEd '20)
Teaching Multiple Literacies in Canadian Classrooms: Sarah Gagnon (BSc/BEd’11, MEd candidate)
Wellness is About Writing: Teri Hartman (BA/BEd '02, current MEd student)


For more information please contact:

Darcy Tamayose
Communications Officer
Dean's Office • Faculty of Education
University of Lethbridge
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