Celebrating excellence in the Faculty of Education

Faculty of Education
Awards and recognition
Research and innovation

By Christine L. Cusack

Communications, Faculty of Education

Interlinking metal gears engraved with words excellence and innovation
Congratulations to the six Faculty of Education members who received Awards for Excellence for their contributions to knowledge, teaching, administrative services, and impact in the broader community. Their accomplishments were highlighted during a ceremony on April 9, in the company of family, friends and colleagues.

“It’s really important for us to come together as a community, especially for moments such as this,” Dean Richard Barwell said in his opening remarks.

“Our work is often challenging and complex, yet our successes are evident. Our staff are extremely committed, and we see results from their efforts show up in student satisfaction surveys. Our researchers and alumni are also doing incredible work, and are recognized provincially, nationally, and internationally,” he added. 

“Everyone who works at the Faculty of Education is dedicated to our success, because we all believe strongly in the power of education to change lives and make the world a better place.”

Collage of awards winners
First row: Tasha-Ann Ausman, Christine L. Cusack, Joël Thibeault; Second row: Christine Tippett, Tessandra Wendzich, Joel Westheimer

Learn more about our Awards for Excellence winners.


This award recognizes professors for their exceptional contributions to research in education.

Joel Westheimer is a full professor in the Faculty of Education, former University Research Chair in Democracy and Education, and education columnist for CBC Radio’s Ottawa Morning. He is a co-founder and executive director of Democratic Dialogue, a research collaborative dedicated to the critical exploration of democratic ideals in education and society. He is also a member of the U.S. National Academy of Education, a fellow of the American Educational Research Association, and one of 60 current laureates of the Kappa Delta Pi honor society. The second edition of his award-winning book What Kind of Citizen? Educating Our Children for the Common Good was published in 2024.

New Researcher 

This award recognizes an early-career professor who has made outstanding research contributions.

Joël Thibeault is an associate professor in the Faculty of Education and an adjunct professor at the University of Regina. His research focuses on the teaching and learning of French grammar in francophone minority settings, pluriligualism, the use of children’s literature in the teaching of linguistic conventions, and the integrated teaching of French and English at school. He has received a research grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council to conduct a study on the integrated teaching of French and English grammar.

Thesis Supervision 

This award recognizes professors for their excellence in graduate student supervision.

Christine Tippett is a full professor in the Faculty of Education. She was an engineer before she obtained her teaching degree, and this influences her ways of thinking about science education. She leads the STEM in the Early Years research project which focuses on how learning science technology, engineering, and mathematics at a very young age can build a solid foundation for later, more formal STEM education. She was the recipient of the Faculty of Education’s New Researcher Award in 2015.

Part-Time Professor 

This award recognizes the contribution of an APTPUO member who has made unique and innovative contributions and has had a positive impact on student learning and progress.

Tasha-Ann Ausman is a long-term appointment professor in the Faculty of Education and a full-time mathematics and science teacher with the Western Quebec School Board. Her research uses decolonizing, psychoanalytic, and post-colonial frameworks in the areas of curriculum studies, STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math), and queer studies. She is currently working on research approaches to decolonize science and mathematics teaching in secondary classrooms and to understand the intersection of visual arts-based pedagogies and biology.

Support Staff 

This award recognizes a support staff member who has shown initiative, innovation, and leadership.

Christine L. Cusack is a communications advisor, helping promote the work of the Faculty of Education community since 2019. During her career in public relations and communications, she has held positions in the areas of government, human rights, and research.  She is also a former teacher with fond memories of her years in the elementary classroom. A proud University of Ottawa alumna, her academic background includes an MA in communication and a PhD in religious studies. 


This award recognizes graduates’ exceptional contributions to enhancing the reputation of the Faculty and the University through their outstanding career, public or community service, or academic achievements.

Tessandra Wendzich began her academic career in the humanities and religious studies, but her passion for teaching and research inspired a shift to education, in which she earned a BEd, an MEd, and a PhD.  She taught at the elementary, secondary, and postsecondary levels and has co-authored articles on educational music in national and international journals.  Her current research focuses on the implementation and practical application of nutrition policies in Ontario schools. Her drive to promote wellness via nutrition comes from the notion that “healthy bodies create healthy minds.”