Lakehead University Professor Named Canada Research Chair in Environmental Education

(November 24, 2010 – Thunder Bay, ON) Lakehead University’s Dr. David Greenwood has been named Canada Research Chair in Environmental Education.  An announcement was made today by the Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Industry, at which he also announced approximately 310 new or renewed Canada Research Chairs at 53 Canadian universities.  The Canadian Government’s $275.6 million investment in the Canada Research Chairs Program also includes $13.4 million from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) for research infrastructure associated with the new Chair awards. The funding will enable Canada to strengthen its position as a world leader in university research and development.

Dr. Greenwood, an Associate Professor in Lakehead University’s Faculty of Education, has long been interested in the applicability of “place studies” to education. His research focuses on situating and connecting individuals, communities, histories, cultures, and ecosystems within the context of their specific “places,” in a global, interconnected context. He says the intersection of place and environment invites broad questions regarding the purpose and practice of education in the 21st century. In light of the recognition of numerous social and ecological consequences of human activity on the planet, Dr. Greenwood’s research investigates the types of environmental education we must consider given our impact as a species, and as diverse cultures, on one another, on other species, on ecosystems, and even on larger systems such as the global climate. His research program asks how educators should respond to the growing complexities been people, place, and planet.|

“Answering these complex questions often comes from looking beyond business as usual in the educational establishment. What is important is that learners of all ages have opportunities to experience the cultural, ecological, and educational significance of the places in which they live, and of their own life stories across multiple geographies. Such experiences can be nurtured by working with history teachers to integrate family and community history into the curriculum, inviting high school students to contribute to a local urban renewal project, or convening a university geography class in a local farmers’ market and/or organic garden,” explains Dr. Greenwood, noting the tremendous transformative and pedagogical power generated by these experiences.   

Dr. Greenwood is leading an interdisciplinary initiative to establish a new Centre for Environmental, Sustainability, and Place Studies, which will be housed in a new Environmental Education Research Lab at Lakehead University. The proposed Centre, he says, will create and support interdisciplinary environmental research, education, and outreach. Among its many activities will be developing programs and lines of inquiry aimed at “greening” schools and universities, and establishing an international research group to coordinate philosophical and empirical research on “place” at multiple sites.

“The Chairs Program has been pivotal in attracting world-class researchers to Lakehead University and enhancing our research capacities in areas which have been strategically prioritized for fostering research and innovation excellence,” says Dr. Rui Wang, Vice-President (Research), Lakehead University.  “We are proud to have Dr. Greenwood in this new role and look forward to seeing research results which are incredibly relevant to many of today’s emerging environmental issues and concerns.” 

Dr. Wang notes that Dr. Greenwood was the recipient of the Faculty Excellence Award for Research in the College of Education at Washington State University in 2006. Internationally, he is among the most frequently cited theorists in the interdisciplinary field of Environmental Education. “As are the rest of our Canada Research Chairs, Dr. Greenwood is a prime example of the renowned international experts Lakehead University attracts,” says Dr. Wang.

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the Canada Research Chairs Program.   Since its inception, it has brought breakthroughs in numerous research and innovation frontiers, such as clean energy, the control of infectious disease, business management, and digital technologies.  The Program continues to help strengthen Canada’s capacity for leading-edge research, while at the same time, building economic opportunities for Canadians.

The 310 chairholders included in today’s announcement will conduct research across a range of important fields including water security, molecular neuroscience, and globalization. The results of their research will hold the potential to benefit all sectors of Canadian society.
Lakehead University’s other Canada Research Chairs are:

  • Dr. Michel Bédard, Public Health Program, Chair in Aging and Health
  • Dr. Lionel Catalan, Department of Chemical Engineering, Chair in Industrial Waste Management and Site Remediation
  • Dr. Aicheng Chen, Department of Chemistry, Chair in Material and Environmental Chemistry
  • Dr. Gary Genosko, Department of Sociology, Chair in Technoculture Studies
  • Dr. David A. Greenwood, Faculty of Education, Chair in Environmental Education
  • Dr. Judy Iseke, Faculty of Education, Chair in Indigenous Education
  • Dr. Ellie Prepas, Faculty of Forestry and the Forest Environment, Chair in Sustainable Water Management and the Boreal Forest
  • Dr. Gregory Pyle, Department of Biology, Chair in Environmental Biotechnology and Ecotoxicology
  • Dr. Alla Reznik, Department of Physics, Chair in the Physics of Molecular Imaging

A full list of the chairholders announced today is available on the Canada Research Chairs website.

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MEDIA: Please note that both Dr. Wang and Greenwood are attending the national SSHRC announcement in Toronto today, and this information is being issued in conjunction with the national release, as requested by SSHRC to be held under embargo until 3:00 p.m. this afternoon.  For more information or to arrange interview times with Drs. Wang and Greenwood via email or telephone while they are in Toronto, or in person once they return to Thunder Bay, please contact Heather Scott, Communications Officer, at 807-343-8177 or commun@lakeheadu.ca.

About Lakehead
Lakehead is a comprehensive university with a reputation for innovative programs and cutting-edge research. With a main campus located in Thunder Bay, Ontario and a campus in Orillia, Ontario, Lakehead has over 8,280 students and 2,250 faculty and staff, and is home to the west campus of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine. In 2006, Research Infosource Inc. named Lakehead University Canada's Research University of the Year in the undergraduate category. For more information on Lakehead University, visit www.lakeheadu.ca

Last updated November 24, 2010

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