The history of the Faculty of Education is different from that of other faculties, both at uOttawa and at other Ontario universities—it was bilingual from the start. The Faculty began as a very modest, small, poorly funded institution. Since then, it has expanded into one that carries out world-class research and the only of its kind in Ontario.
The University of Ottawa had various teaching schools before eventually becoming the faculty we know today. The English-language Ottawa Normal School opened in 1875, while the French-language school, École de pedagogie de L’Universite d’Ottawa, opened in 1923. This was followed by the École normale in 1927, founded by Father René Lamoureux—an ardent defender of francophone rights. Since then, the Faculty of Education has shaped itself into an example of excellence, leadership and bilingualism and a hub for research and innovation, becoming one of the leading education faculties in Canada.
The Faculty of Education, which became an official faculty in 1967, celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. In honour of this special occasion, former Dean Raymond Leblanc and former Vice-Dean of Research Stéphane Lévesque decided to commemorate the Faculty and how it has developed over the years. With the help of Professor Sharon Anne Cook as author, they are bringing us a book on the impressive history of the Faculty of Education, A History of the Faculty of Education, University of Ottawa, 1874–2015.
What will readers be surprised to learn about the Faculty of Education?
Sharon Cook: Definitely the important role that women played within the Faculty of Education. The Faculty used to be a very male-directed, patriarchal system, and I was delighted to find, in both the francophone and anglophone sectors, that there are some really impressive women who left their mark on the institution and made it a more humane place.
Raymond Leblanc: During summer, the Faculty was filled with students! Between 1980 and 1995, the Faculty offered only in-class summer Additional Qualification (AQ) courses. Today, most of our AQ courses are hybrid or offered entirely online. This makes it easier for our students to balance their personal, school and work lives. Also, students don’t need to be living in Ottawa to take our courses. They can be earning their certificate from pretty much anywhere.
You have both worked here for over 25 years. How has the Faculty changed?
Sharon Cook: I was hired at the Faculty of Education in 1990. Because I’ve been associated with teacher education, I saw the Faculty of Education develop from a largely practice-based institution into one of the largest and most diverse faculties of education in Ontario. More importantly, I’ve experienced the success the Faculty has had in forging an identity that represents both the francophone and anglophone populations.
Raymond Leblanc: I started working at the Faculty 37 years ago, in 1981. The Faculty has changed in many ways, but particularly in the area of research. The Faculty started solely to provide education but over the years has blossomed into a research institution. We now have research laboratories, research chairs and a variety of research projects that our students are involved in.
How do you think the Faculty will be 50 years from now?
Sharon Cook: I anticipate that the Faculty will continue to have a major influence in teacher education in both the province and the country. I also believe that it will become an even more international faculty. We now have many students from other countries, more specifically in the Formation à l’enseignement program, and I believe we’ll see this expand even more in the coming years.
Raymond Leblanc: I hope that 50 years from now the Faculty will be even more inclusive, with a more diverse mix of students and faculty members—from those with disabilities to those with more varied backgrounds. I hope as well that there’ll be more internationalization in our projects and research.
Here are the photos of the event.