Excellence in Education lecture Series

The University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Education, Ontario’s first bilingual teacher training institution, remains committed to promoting excellence in teaching and research, now and forever. Launched in 2011-2012 to mark its 45th anniversary, the Faculty of Education continues the Excellence in Education lecture Series. These lectures aim to share the Faculty professors’ exceptional research expertise and to provide a better understanding of issues that affect us all.

Lectures presented throughout the year are free and open to the public.


Building Connections: Racisms and the Problems of our Time

"I am proposing a Pedagogy of Connection as a new approach to antiracism education that is designed to meet the challenges posed by the problems of our time. For example, in the fact of large migrations of people fleeing political oppression, social chaos and the consequences of global warming, racisms are becoming more and more popular, and manifest in the most extreme forms. At the same time, the widespread, previously existing political consensus that racism is always wrong has been breaking down. Thus, despite more than half a century of educational efforts intended to combat racism, racist and fascist movements are growing more popular. Now, more than ever, the key antiracist challenge remains one of finding ways to end the exclusions that racisms enact.  Through shared explorations of the material, symbolic and embodied connections that tie all human beings together in complex ways, a Pedagogy of Connection can begin to bridge these exclusions, while helping to ensure that racisms do not have the space to develop in the first place."

Speaker: Timothy J. Stanley, Professor, University of Ottawa Faculty of Education 

The presentation will be in English.

Date : December 9, 2019

Time : 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Location: Desmarais Building (DMS) Room 4101, 55 Laurier Avenue East, Ottawa, ON, K1N 6N5

Please register : https://eventman.ca/event/et?lang=en


Education 2030

What are the skills our learners will need to be happy, healthy and productive citizens in 2030? There appears to be a growing consensus on this between the education and business sectors. Jennifer Adams will share her extensive expertise to present a look at 21st century skills, locally, nationally and internationally.

Speaker: Jennifer Adams, Former Director of the Ottawa Carleton District School Board

The presentation will be in English.

Date : April 17, 2019

Time : 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Location: Johnson Hall, 157 séraphin-Marion, Ottawa, ON K1N 6N5

Please register : https://eventman.ca/event/dm?lang=en


The Quality Evaluation of our Academic Programs: A necessary evil?

Ontario Universities have to submit their new programs and major modifications proposals to a Quality Assurance process.  All existing programs also have to be reviewed on a regular basis. In this talk, I will explain how the Ontario Quality Assurance system works and how it fits in the international QA trend. Although the system seems to work well and ensures that university programs maintain high quality standards and meet students’ expectations, many issues must be addressed.  It is important to make sure that the fairness, validity and utility requirements that are described in the literature about program evaluation are met.  In addition, the Ontario QA process may be perceived as very bureaucratic and raises concerns with regard of the institution autonomy.

Speaker : Michel Laurier

The talk will be delivered mainly be French with passages in English and slides in both languages.

Date : October, 30, 2018

Time : 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Lamoureux Hall, LMX 203

Please register : https://eventman.ca/event/d0?lang=en


Saved by a Story: The Healing Power of Narrative 

We are surrounded by taken-for-granted stories that shape our views of ourselves and the world we live in. Many of these serve interests that are not our own and can contribute to discouragement and struggle. Stories can oppress, but they can also heal.

In this keynote talk, David Paré explored how narrative research and practice offers exciting possibilities for stepping into new territories of meaning and identity.

Speaker: David Paré  

English presentation only.

Date: May, 2, 2017

Time: 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Desmarais building, DMS 12102


What Can the History of Education Teach Us about Canada at 150?

2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the University of Ottawa Faculty of Education and the 150th anniversary of Confederation. This special year affords an excellent opportunity to not only celebrate all that it means to be Canadian but also to reflect on Canadian history and current consequences of past actions.  What can we learn from the history of education in Canada? Are the “two solitudes” still a reality? How can education better incorporate marginalized narratives, including racialized, gendered and Aboriginal perspectives?


This bilingual panel brings together four academics who will engage the public in a dialogue connecting how we learn and think about the history of education to our everyday lives as Canadian citizens. In particular, the panel will address this big question in terms of:

  • French-English relations (Stéphane Lévesque)
  • Northern and Indigenous perspectives (Heather McGregor)
  • Racism and anti-racism (Tim Stanley)
  • Citizenship education (Lorna McLean)


Host: Giacomo Panico, CBC/Radio-Canada


March, 2, 2017 - Cocktail at 5:30 p.m. and panel at 6:30 p.m.

Desmarais building, DMS 12102 


Tuesday, October 18th, 5:30 p.m., DMS 12102

Colla Jean MacDonald, Ph.D. 

Eight Days a Week: My Life as a University Professor

Dr. MacDonald uses song lyrics to highlight key lessons from her personal life and university career. She will explore her experiences over three decades making the transition from traditional face-to-face teaching to eLearning pedagogy. Dr. MacDonald uses music to facilitate her story, whether collaborating with her graduate students, the World Health Organization, the Faculty of Medicine, the National Board of Medical Examiners, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation, Doctors Without Boarders, the Ontario Nurses Association, the Bruyère Research Institute or the University of Malta. She will describe her exhilarating journey integrating education with health care,  focusing on her efforts to develop innovative, authentic learning solutions for a complex, changing education system.

The presentation is in English.

Desmarais Building, DMS 12102
55 Laurier Ave. East
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
K1N 6N5


Tuesday, May 3rd, 5:30 p.m., DMS 12102

Bradley Cousins, Ph.D.

"The Unbearable Lightness of Evidence"

“There is no means of testing which decision is better because there is no basis for comparison.” Such was the quandary of Tomáš, the famed protagonist of Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being.

But then again, there’s evaluation.

When we evaluate, we judge. When we judge, we compare. When we compare, we gather our observations and hold them up against something.

We do this every day, sometimes thousands of times. And when we throw in evidence, systematically collected evidence, we have “evaluation,” a domain of professional inquiry and practice with a rich, albeit recent, history.

But evidence, in and of itself, is light. It is shallow, static, even pedantic. We need to make it heavier. We need to make it worth something. We need to make it useful. Useful as leverage for positive change in programs and policies. Useful as a guide to professional, practical decision making. Useful for deep practice-based exploration, inquiry and learning.

Professor Cousins will reflect on a career-long quest to understand evaluation use, encompassing research and practice on making evaluation useful, the power of collaboration and participation, and the challenges of cultural context. Along the way, he will share postcards of insight and amusement, as well as thoughts about unlocking the power and potential of evaluation to bring about social betterment.

Over a 30-year span, Brad Cousins has published numerous books and articles on evaluation theory and practice, in education and beyond. He is recognized globally as a leading researcher and authority on evaluation use, participatory and collaborative practice, and evaluation capacity building.

The presentation is in English.

Desmarais Building, DMS 12102
55 Laurier Ave. East
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
K1N 6N5


Thursday, March 10th, 6:30 p.m., FSS 4007

David Guillemette, Ph.D.

L'absence de gouvernail - A dialogue between the education and theatre communities on participartory approaches (in French) 

Using Robert Filliou’s play L’absence de gouvernail [TR: The absence of a rudder], which explores codes of theatre, the processes involved in theatrical creation and the relationship between authors and their audiences, Professor David Guillemette draws parallels between these elements in the play and in the world of education.

In new pedagogies involving participatory approaches to teaching, students create their own learning activities and the teacher acts as a guide or facilitator rather than a “transmitter” of knowledge. Guillemette, joined by two producers who have used a participatory approach in their productions, discusses the vertical teacher-student relationship and the traditional structure of teaching and learning activities. The experience of the teacher committed to the participatory approach is of great interest to Professor Guillemette, whose research focuses on this experience—to date the subject of few studies.

Performances of L’absence de gouvernail will take place throughout the day on Thursday, March 10, 2016, in FSS 4007. 

The talk and the performances are in French. 

Faculty of Social Sciences Building, FSS 4007
120 University 
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
K1N 6N5



Tuesday, October 6th, 6:30 p.m., FSS 4007

Dany Laveault, PhD

À quoi sert l'evaluation scolaire? Peut-on s'y fier? (in French) 

Of the teacher’s many tasks, grading students’ work is without a doubt one of the most demanding, but it is also one of the tasks most often met with mixed feelings. Grading, on the one hand, can potentially have a negative effect on student learning and, on the other hand, is a source of motivation for learning. Often, the teacher is torn between these competing forces. How can they be reconciled in the best interest of the teaching profession and, ultimately, the student?

 Faculty of Social Sciences Building, FSS 4007
120 University
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
K1N 6N5

Wednesday, May 6th, 5:30 p.m., DMS 12102 

Joel Westheimer, PhD

What Kind of Citizen? Education Our Children for the Common Good

Our primary and secondary schools could be rich and rewarding places in which children and teens gain the abilities required for our democracy to flourish: the power to think deeply and critically, the skills to discuss matters of real importance, and the awareness that intelligent adults can have different opinions. Instead, too many of our schools endlessly prepare students to take tests on a narrow set of subjects at the expense of teaching them how to think. How did we allow this to happen?

Joel Westheimer—author, uOttawa professor and University Research Chair in Democracy and Education—draws on groundbreaking research not only to deliver a stinging rebuke of current reform practices, but also to show us how we can save our schools from today’s myopic interpretation of what constitutes an education; how we can align schools’ goals with what children, parents and teachers really care about; and how we can get our schools to nurture the kind of citizens that will enable our democracy to truly thrive.

Desmarais Building (DMS 12102)
55 Laurier Ave. East
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
K1N 6N5

Watch an excerpt of the lecture 

Thursday, March 5th, 6:30 p.m., FSS 4007

Flow into Fitness: Embracing the Feelings, Forms, and Functions of Daily Physical (Inter)Activity 

Rebecca Lloyd, PhD

This interactive keynote address will invite us to “defy the conventional” in the way we conceive and perceive movement. Is it something we do to become “fit” in a compartmentalised way? Or is movement a central feature of who we are as relational beings? The speaker will discuss how movement is now existentially presented in schools under the curricular concept of “physical literacy”, and will suggest practical tips and prompts that invite us to consider how we can become more physically literate and attuned to how movement is at the heart of our daily thinking, feeling and functioning processes.

Faculty of Social Sciences Building, FSS 4007
120 University
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
K1N 6N5

Watch an excerpt of the lecture 


Christine Suurtamm

Breaking Boundaries : Images of Collaborative Inquiry

Fractals unmasked!

Fractals are geometric images that can be found in nature, art, and geography (to name a few). Dr. Suurtamm will provide a simple explanation of fractals, give insights into their use in art and nature and demonstrate how their characteristics help them serve as dynamic models for learning and research communities.

Faculty of Social Sciences Building (FSS 4007)
120 Université
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
K1N 6N5

Watch an excerpt of the lecture 

(in French only)

Nathalie Bélanger, Phyllis Dalley, Stéphane Lévesque et André Samson

Table ronde sur la construction identitaire en Ontario français

L'identité, ça se construit à l'école!

Quels sont les enjeux de la construction identitaire en milieu scolaire francophone en Ontario? Quatre professeurs chevronnés de l'Université d'Ottawa livreront le fruit de leur recherche et répondront aux questions de l'auditoire. 

Une table-ronde animée par Véronique Soucy, directrice et animatrice à la radio franco-ontarienne Unique FM

Pavillon des Sciences sociales
FSS 4007
120, rue Université
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
K1N 6N5

Regardez la conférence (en français seulement)


Awad Ibrahim 

Critical Hip-Hop Ill-Literacies: Re-mixing Culture, Language and the Politics of Boundaries in Education

It is high time we re-think our notion of literacy! At a time when education is becoming highly standardized and test-oriented and ‘language’ is becoming normative and prescriptively ‘grammatical,’ I am arguing that the Hip-Hop generation is ‘grammaticalizing’ both language and culture. They are flipping the script and standardizing their own language, where ‘ill’ and ‘sick’ are becoming ‘sensational’ and ‘skillful.’ “Damn, that cat is ill!,” meaning, “That poet is incredibly skilled.” If a language teacher doesn’t know this, I am arguing, s/he needs to become literate – not the other way around. Using DJ-ing as a metaphor and re-mixing as an analytic vehicle, I will attempt to rethink the notion of literacy (through ‘ill-literacy’) and the boundaries of education (through Hip-Hop culture and language). Welcome to poetics of critical Hip-Hop ill-literacies!

Alumni Auditorium
University Centre
85 University St.
Wednesday, March 6th, 2013
6:30 p.m.

Watch an extract of the lecture 

Nicholas Ng-A-Fook

Who is afraid of teacher activists? : A step in front of our children

Nicholas Ng-A-Fook reexamines what is at stake for teachers who are committed to a social justice curriculum within and outside the contexts of public schooling.

As one example, he will discuss our obligations as teachers to remember the lived experiences of survivors who suffered the violent colonial effects of residential schooling and its absence from the Ontario school curriculum.

Faculty of Social Sciences Building
Room 4007
120 Université
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
K1N 6N5

Watch an excerpt of the lecture


Tracy Vaillancourt

Why does bullying hurt so much? Insights from Neuroscience 

For decades, schoolyard intimidation was considered part and parcel of childhood, a “rite of passage” to “toughen kids up” or to help them “build character.” Nevertheless, common sense, often born out of personal experience, tells us that being bullied hurts. It hurts so much that some youth take their life or consider suicide as a way of ending their suffering.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel School
675 Gardenvale Road, Ottawa, ON, K1K 1C9
Thursday, February 9, 2012
6:30 p.m.

 Watch an excerpt of the lecture

Jonathan Bolduc

La musique aide-t-elle à apprendre? Regards sur les bienfaits de l’enseignement et de la pratique musicale

In French only

La musique permet-elle d’aiguiser l’esprit critique, la pensée créative, l’imagination, la discipline personnelle ainsi que diverses habiletés utiles dans la vie quotidienne? Existe-t-il des liens entre l’apprentissage musical et la lecture et les mathématiques?

Les parents, les enseignants et toute la communauté scolaire trouveront dans cette conférence des réponses sur les bienfaits de l’enseignement et de la pratique musicale.

École secondaire publique De La salle
501, Old St-Patrick,
Ottawa, Ontario K1N 8R3
Le jeudi 26 avril 2012 à 18h30

Listen to an excerpt of the lecture


Joel Westheimer

The rest is no fairytale

Once upon a time, not too long ago, teaching was considered a profession, but then came standardization, tests, and value-added merit pay schemes that ate all humanity for breakfast…the rest is no fairytale.

Educational Centre,
Lamoureux Hall
145 Jean-Jacques Lussier,
Room 250
Thursday October 20th, 2011
6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Listen to an excerpt of the presentation

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