University of Calgary

Dennis Sumara reappointed Dean of Education

UToday HomeJuly 10, 2013

Dennis Sumara, Faculty of Education dean.Dennis Sumara, Faculty of Education dean.I am pleased to announce that Dr. Dennis Sumara has been reappointed for a six-year term as dean of the Faculty of Education effective July 1, 2013.

In March of this year, Sumara indicated his willingness to be considered for reappointment. An Advisory Decanal Review Committee was established to consider Sumara’s performance during his first term as dean and the appropriateness of his reappointment. The committee invited and reviewed commentary from those within the faculty and from the external community. Thank you to everyone who took the time to provide input.

Sumara began his first five-year term as dean of education on Sept. 1, 2009. From 2006 to 2009, Sumara was professor and head of the Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy at the University of British Columbia. Prior to his appointment at UBC, he held academic positions at the University of Alberta, York University and Simon Fraser University. Sumara also has 10 years of experience as a junior high school language arts teacher in rural southwestern Alberta.

His research interests include literary engagement, normative and counter-normative structures in teacher education, and the complexity of educational structures and systems. Sumara is an accomplished scholar, particularly in areas of community-engaged action research. He has secured, as either principal or co-researcher, $1.3 million in SSHRC research funding, and has had more than 100 articles/chapters and six books published.

Under Sumara’s leadership during his first decanal term, the Faculty of Education developed a 2011-2016 Academic Strategic Plan aligned with the university’s Eyes Highvision and focused on becoming a highly connected and agile learning organization. A new Bachelor of Education program allowing direct entry of students from high schools was developed and implemented, along with newly designed, flexibly delivered professional graduate programs, with more than 1,200 students currently enrolled.

Through Sumara’s leadership of the faculty’s fund development activities, more than $10 million has been raised to support new activities such as the Werklund Foundation Centre for Youth Leadership Education, the Imperial Oil STEM in Education Initiative, the Carlson Family ADHD Research Award, and the Canadian Oilsands Early Math Learning Initiative. Over the last several years, three new research chairs have been recruited, along with 25 tenure-stream faculty members, all in priority areas aligned with the faculty’s and university’s Strategic Academic Plans. In addition, the faculty will have recruited 14 new post-doctoral fellows in the coming year, a notable achievement for a Canadian faculty of education.

In addition to his work as dean of education, Sumara co-chaired several highly successful University of Calgary United Way campaigns. He also chaired the task force that developed the Integrated Framework for Teaching and Learning passed by General Faculties Council, a document that was foundational to the plans for the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning.

I would like to thank the members of the Advisory Decanal Review Committee, which I chaired, for undertaking the extensive consultation process. They were: J. Kent Donlevy (Education); Jennifer Lock (Education); Jo Towers (Education); Ian Winchester (Education); Clayton MacGillivray (Education – AUPE); Kristi Rosko (Education – MaPS); Alastair Cribb (Dean, Veterinary Medicine); Susan Bennett (Arts - GFC); Leslie Reid (Science - GFC); Franco Rizzuti (Past-President, GSA); Levi Nilson (Arts representative, SU); Mary-Ellen Tyler (TUCFA); Paulette Hanna (community representative); Mavis Clark (alumni representative); and Linda Schwartz (Provost’s Office).

Sumara is a visionary leader who has been a significant change agent in the Faculty of Education and on our campus more broadly. We look forward to the further implementation of the faculty’s strategic plan and to a consolidation of the changes that have occurred within the faculty.

Please join me in congratulating Dennis Sumara on his reappointment.

Dru Marshall

Provost and Vice-President (Academic)


Follow UToday on Twitter.
Check the UToday website for news about events, people and trends at University of Calgary.
Follow what’s happening on campus using our interactive calendar.