Fiona Walton (2012)

fiona4Affiliation at the time of the award: University of Prince Edward Island.

Citation: Fiona Walton’s nominator said: “Her work has expanded the notion of what, and where, a university can be in the Canadian context.” This was exemplified on Canada Day 2009 when 21 Inuit women students in Iqaluit graduated with Master of Education degrees. Fiona was instrumental in establishing that groundbreaking program. In Fiona’s teaching philosophy she writes about “rocking the boat and stirring the pot in ways that maintain safety, but also provoke critique and invite pre-service teachers and undergraduate students to take an active role in shaping and improving the world,” and that is what she has managed to do in her work on Inuit education over 30 years.

Fiona is a visionary, courageous, and determined educator who effects change, makes a difference, and whose tireless efforts promote and create a lasting legacy in Aboriginal education. As a co-creator of innovative courses such as Leadership in Postcolonial Education, Introduction to Aboriginal Education, and Integrating Aboriginal Themes into the Curriculum, Fiona changes minds and hearts as she helps teachers to create safe and inclusive learning environments for all students. Highlighting her experience in pre-service teaching and working with Fiona, one student noted: “She gave me room to grow and the freedom to fail, but I always knew she was nearby, encouraging me to take risks and improve my teaching.”