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In their own words: Meet this year’s OISE Leaders & Legends Awards winners

May 27, 2020

By Perry King


Many friends and alumni of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education have made outstanding contributions to the social, economic, political and cultural wellbeing of individuals and communities the world over.

Here at OISE, six of them – Carol A. Mullen, Sam Long, Carol Nash, Jillian Roberts, Doug McDougall and Edward Jackson – are being recognized with our Leaders and Legends Awards program.

Nominated by their peers at the Institute, the annual honour recognizes members who have shone through leadership in teaching, research and advocacy – while striving for excellence in academic programs, student experience, research and scholarship.

“This year’s winners of the 2020 Leaders and Legends Awards have truly crystallized the mission of our Institute – to prepare and equip our scholars, teachers and professional leaders to address current and emerging challenges with the scale, academic excellence and collaborative energy that few institutions in the world can do,” said Glen Jones, OISE’s Dean.

“Their work has not gone unnoticed and I, on behalf of the OISE community, deeply congratulate them for their well-deserved honour.”

OISE News spoke to all the winners – who are being recognized in six categories. Learn more about each award, and the winners, below.

Excellence Award

Carol A. Mullen, MA, PhD
Professor of Educational Leadership, Virginia Tech

The Excellence Award honours an individual who is committed to pursuing and achieving the highest levels of performance in their field. Dr. Carol A. Mullen, who earned her PhD and MA at OISE, has taught at Virginia Tech’s School of Education since 2013. The twice-awarded Fulbright Scholar has taught at numerous universities and colleges in the United States and Canada.

Her impact has been global, contributing humanitarian research, excellence in scholarship, and proactive mentorship and volunteerism to many communities. To date, she has chaired dissertations at four universities, published in numerous places (25 books, 152 journal articles and book chapters, and 16 special issues of journals), and volunteers tirelessly as a public speaker, faculty mentor and in leadership at Kappa Delta Pi at Virginia Tech.

Carol is elated to receive this award from OISE.

“OISE has always been my first love in the world of academe and this award tremendously amplifies my pride of being a graduate from this remarkable place,” she said. “I feel exuberant – overwhelmed with joy to be named a winner! My alma mater, my nourishing mother, recognizing me with a prestigious alumnus award is a dream come true.

I’m feeling I’ve come full circle on my career journey – OISE has my heart, always has and always will. I truly appreciate how well I’m treated every time I visit my academic home and spend time with faculty, staff, and students.”

Emerging Leader Award

Sam Long, MT
High School Teacher, Denver, Colorado

The Emerging Leader Award recognizes an individual who has shown vision, initiative and great promise in inspiring and organizing positive change in their communities. Sam Long, a Master of Teaching graduate, is a high school teacher in Denver, Colo., specializing in STEM education – but he is so much more than that.

Sam has consulted on state and national policy and curriculum in addressing issues of LGBT inclusion and racialized identities, seeking to assure a safer, more inclusive learning environment. He is currently a part of the Colorado Governor’s Commission 1192 for Inclusion of Minorities in Social Studies Curriculum. He has initiated and facilitated gay straight alliances in schools and at district levels. He has been recognized by national and human rights organizations for his impressive capacity to enhance learning for oft-marginalized youth.

Sam reflects on his award win with joy.

“I feel honored and energized after learning that I have been named a winner of the Emerging Leader Award. The OISE Master of Teaching program allowed me to cultivate my passions for social justice and science education,” he said. “I love bringing that perspective to the students I teach in Colorado. My time at OISE also gave me the confidence and theoretical background to become involved in broader conversations in education."

“I am now a part of the global conversation with my work in trans teacher advocacy and gender-inclusive biology curriculum development.”

Innovation Award

Carol Nash, BEd, MA, PhD
Scholar in Residence, History of Medicine Program, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto

The innovation award is bestowed to those who have fostered novel ideas, approaches or solutions in their field. It celebrates outstanding performance, resulting in new or improved innovations.

Dr. Carol Nash, a Scholar in Residence at U of T’s History of Medicine Program, is the founder and facilitator of a number of self-directed programs in communities based on consensus decision making at both the secondary level and post-secondary levels.

Carol is honoured to be named a winner.

As an alumna and parent, Carol co-founded a Toronto-based democratic public school, Alpha II Alternative School – where students self-direct their learning in a community based on consensus decision-making.

In the role of Scholar in Residence, she co-founded the History of Medicine Interest Group, a forum for people doing primary research on healthcare history, on a topic that is personally important to them. In Carol’s vision, the exchange of personal stories is a catalyst to help members move their research forward in developing health narratives. This group evolved to her founding the Health-Narratives Research Group in order to help reduce the prevalence of depression and anxiety so evident now in researchers. Carol is also an active mentor and publisher.

“I am thrilled that my life’s work in creating and nurturing self-directed learning programs in communities based on consensus decision making (where consensus means that each person’s point of view is taken into consideration) has been recognized by OISE with this award,” said Carol, who has previously won an Arbor Award and mentorship awards from University College and the University of Toronto.

Distinguished Service Award

Jillian Roberts, MEd
Child Psychologist
Associate Professor, Educational Psychology and Leadership Studies, 
University of Victoria

This award honours exceptional individuals for longstanding or distinguished service in an area of public importance. Dr. Jillian Roberts, a faculty member at the University of Victoria, is a child psychologist, author and mother of three. She is the author of two best-selling and award-winning series of children’s books, and is the co-founder of FamilySparks, a social impact company that creates mental wellness products and services for families and businesses.

Jillian, a Master of Education graduate, was deeply honoured to win an award from her alma mater.

“I am thrilled to be named with this honour. The award underscores the importance of mental health and community-based work,” she said. “Receiving the Distinguished Service Award is especially meaningful as my life’s work as a psychologist began at OISE!”

Mentor of the Year Award

Doug McDougall, MEd, EdD
Professor of Mathematics Education, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto

This award honours an individual who has offered exceptional support, guidance and encouragement to members of the OISE community.

Professor Doug McDougall, a professor of mathematics education at OISE, is many things. He is Editor-in-Chief of the Canadian Journal for Science, Mathematics and Technology Education. He is also a former Associate Dean, Programs at OISE and former chair of OISE’s department of curriculum, teaching and learning.

Above all, the professor is a proud mentor of others. He was honoured when one of his students, Jemille Chu Morrison, nominated him.

“I started as a secondary school teacher first, then I became an elementary school teacher and now I'm a professor. The reason I pursued each of these roles was that I was really interested in helping people – that I had great mentors when I was growing up in the jobs that I had,” he said. “And so I just tried to learn a bit from each of those people.”

One of those great mentors, he notes, was Professor Emerita Gila Hanna (who helped integrate him into the research community and was a great editor to his work), and Professor Emeritus Dennis Thiessen, who taught him a great deal about leadership – especially in his time chair of the department of curriculum, teaching and learning.

“As I was in those roles, I wanted to be similar to them,” said Doug, who assumed the CTL chair after Theissen.

Doug says this award from his peers is a special recognition. “I’m absolutely thrilled to be recognized for the work that I've done over these many years,” he added.

Global Service Award

Edward Jackson, MEd, EdD
Adjunct Research Professor in the School of Public Policy and Administration, Carleton University

The Global Service Award celebrates an extraordinary individual for commitment to addressing the world's social and humanitarian challenges with notable global impact.

Dr. Edward Jackson, who serves as faculty at Carleton University in Ottawa, has built a distinguished, high-impact career in global development as a multi-disciplinary scholar, consultant, author, editor and volunteer.

Edward, who earned his Doctor of Education with OISE in 1981, has research and teaching interests in areas including regional development, civil society, social enterprise, higher education, community-university partnerships, and foreign aid. Edward has been a visiting lecturer at Trent, Victoria and Warsaw universities and is an adjunct professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Ottawa.

He has directed research, evaluation and outreach projects supported by the Aga Khan Foundation of Canada, Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Global Affairs Canada – among other agencies. He is also a fervent volunteer, serving with World University Service of Canada and the Canada Forum for Impact Investment and Development.

“It’s a real honour to receive this award,” he said. “I also see this award as a tribute to the fine faculty members, talented students and dynamic community partners that made my time at OISE a privileged moment of exploration and growth." 

“It was the perfect career launchpad. I was able to apply the principles of adult education and community development to everything that came later. I feel very fortunate in so many ways.”

Special thanks to the Leaders and Legends Awards Committee who had the difficult task of selecting the very best from a strong field of candidates. Thank you to Chair Beth Corcoran, Albert Luk, Belinda Longe, Talena Jackson, Nicole Jolly, Asmita BhutaniKristina Leis and to OISE Alumni Association Executive Awards Chair Edward Thompson and OISEAA President Cindy Sinclair.


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