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Dr. Leona English  

Professor Emerita 

Dr. Leona English is a leader in the field of adult education, both in Canada and internationally. She is the most published Canadian author in adult education and she has received significant international recognition. In 2021, she received the Canadian Association for the Study of Adult Education Lifetime Achievement Award. She was also the inaugural recipient in 2016 of the Honorary Fellow of the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning, and in 2015, she was inducted into the International Adult and Continuing Education Hall of Fame.  

Dr. English holds two PhD degrees, a Doctorate in Education from Columbia University and a Doctorate in Philosophy from the University of Technology in Australia. She joined the StFX Department of Adult Education in 1996, where she has had an exceptional career as a professor and researcher. Her main areas of scholarship include gender and learning, spirituality, and adult education.  

Dr. English’s work on critical pedagogy and feminist organizations filled important gaps in the field. She consistently received research funding since arriving at StFX, where she also served five terms as department chair and twice as chair of the University Research Ethics Board. Externally, she was president of the Canadian Association for the Study of Adult Education and served as Head of Research and Publications at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Institute for Lifelong Learning in Hamburg, Germany.  

A valued mentor to many, she was chosen by her peers to be editor of the highly regarded International Encyclopedia of Adult Education. Among many accolades, she was twice awarded the American Association for Adult and Continuing Education’s Cyril O. Houle Award for outstanding literature in adult education.  


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Dr. Peter Kikkert 

Outstanding Teaching Award 

Dr. Peter Kikkert is an associate professor, coordinator of the Public Policy and Governance (PGOV) Program, and Research Fellow with the Brian Mulroney Institute of Government at StFX. Dr. Kikkert's person-centered and innovative teaching approach has been consistently evident in the impacts he has had on students and the PGOV program. Nominators describe his unwavering dedication to each student's success and learning outcomes, his nurturing of individual potential, and preparation for real-world challenges.  

In the classroom, whether guiding newcomers to policy research in a 100 level class, or engaging advanced students in an honours seminar, Dr. Kikkert excels in making complex subjects accessible and intriguing. His support for extracurricular learning and community building within the PGOV program has significantly contributed to its growth and development. “His contributions have not only elevated the PGOV program but have also left an indelible mark on the lives of numerous students, including myself,” writes one nominator.  

Dr. Kikkert has written extensively on historic and contemporary safety, security, and sovereignty issues in the polar regions. His current research focuses on how to strengthen search and rescue and emergency management capabilities in rural, remote, and Northern communities. Putting his research into practice, Dr. Kikkert serves as a searcher with Strait Area Ground Search and Rescue in Nova Scotia and sits on its Board of Directors. 


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Dr. Riley Olstead 

Outstanding Teaching Award 

Dr. Riley Olstead, an associate professor in the StFX Department of Sociology, has an exceptional capacity to inspire and facilitate student learning. She teaches and does research in the areas of settler colonialism, decolonisation, and especially the ethics of settler academic responses to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Her work focuses on decolonial health, agriculture, climate change and Indigenous/settler relations and ontologies.  

Dr. Olstead holds a PhD, M.A., and a University Teaching Diploma from York University, and a B.A. from the University of British Columbia. Student nominators speak of her impact on their learning and in their lives. “She pushes us to think more critically about the world around us, challenging everyone, encouraging us students to develop our academic abilities through presentations, writing papers, or engaging in conversations in class,” writes one. Another says: “I chose St. Francis Xavier because of the small class sizes and community-oriented environment. I did not expect to feel inspired and empowered by the compassion and tenacity of instructors like Dr. Olstead.”  

Dr. Olstead is known for her compassion in teaching and encouraging students to think outside stereotypical ideas. She has also partnered with psychologist Ivan Drouin to develop a six-week workshop, supporting learning about climate change from a decolonial perspective as well as helping students with mindfulness techniques for anxiety and other challenging emotions. Says a nominator: “Professors like Dr. Riley Olstead, who go well above and beyond for students, truly make St. Francis Xavier University the exceptional university it is.”   


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Dr. Daniel Robinson 

University Research Award 

Dr. Robinson joined the StFX Faculty of Education in 2009 and quickly established himself as an outstanding teacher, scholar, researcher, and leader. Currently, he serves as both the Chair of the Department of Curriculum and Leadership, and Coordinator of PhD in Educational Studies. Dr. Robinson is well known as a leading scholar in the field of physical education and sport pedagogy.  

A prolific author, he has over 100 publications, including over 70 peer-reviewed journal articles, three books, 15 book chapters, and over 10 teacher resources. Dr. Robinson has presented his research at over 90 international and national conferences. Widely recognized for his impactful work, he is a recipient of the Metzler-Freedman Exemplary Paper Award and the Dr. Andy Anderson Young Professional Award. His research is often timely, equity-focused, and responsive.  

His work appears in highly regarded and high-impact peer-reviewed journals, including, selectively: Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, Curriculum Studies in Health and Physical Education, European Physical Education Review, International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education, Journal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning, Journal of American Indian Education, Journal of Intercollegiate Sport, Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, Kinesiology Review, Measurement in Physical Education and Exercise Science, and Teaching and Teacher Education.  

Dr. Robinson’s current research focuses upon the following: culturally relevant pedagogy; inclusive and adapted physical education, physical activity, and sport; physical literacy; and school communities’ health promotion programming. Dr. Robinson is also an active collaborator who continues to mentor and inspire as he provides exemplary support for colleagues and students as they develop their identities as scholars.