Heather Zwicker (2013)

ZwickerAffiliation at the time of the award: University of Alberta, English and Film Studies.

Citation: The next time you are in Edmonton, you will see a vibrant city, a university, government buildings, and restaurants. Heather Zwicker sees literature, culture, and an opportunity. She sees a course for students to learn how to “read” Edmonton through theoretical texts, local literature, cartography, personal experience, and history.

But her vision is larger than this wonderful city, or any single city, course, subject, or body of work. Heather believes in educating for active citizenship. She cares about the world of ideas, but she cares even more abut how ideas affect the lives of people, and specifically, how her students develop a new kind of literacy. “I want my students to know how to read social texts like cities, politics, histories and futures, and they develop this ability by learning how to read literature and theory.” She believes learning at its best is a dangerous and unsettling venture, and she wants her students to feel the tension. Their contributions are valued, but learning is an adventure in which they are fundamentally changed.

In short, Heather Zwicker is out to make the world a better place, one course at a time—exactly what this amazing teacher is doing.

3M Speaker
Discipline of Study / Research Field:

  • English literature, with an emphasis on popular fiction, Canadian, and world lit
  • digital media
  • cultural studies

Current Role:

  • Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research, University of Alberta

Presentation Topic/s:

  • The Value of Graduate Education
  • Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • Mentorship
  • Public/Industry Partnerships
  • University-Community Engagement
  • Doctoral Education for the 21st Century
  • Innovative Graduate Programs
  • Public Humanities
  • Master’s Degrees: Canada’s Stealthy Competitive Edge
  • Graduate Student Interns
  • PhDs beyond the Academy


In short, and as you can see from that list, I’m happy to talk about all things graduate.