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2012 CEA Pat Clifford Award Winner: Clearing a Path to Post-Secondary Science Programs for Aboriginal Learners

Dr. Michelle Hogue’s research blends required curricular and institutional demands with narrative and arts practices, and holistic knowledge, which has the potential to change science education for Aboriginal learners.
Release date: 
10 October 2012
The Canadian Education Association (CEA) is pleased to recognize Dr. Michelle Hogue, Assistant Professor and Coordinator of the First Nations Transition Program at the University of Lethbridge, with the 2012 Pat Clifford Award for Early Career Research in Education, for her work in improving attendance, engagement, and success for aboriginal learners.

High school is where a high First Nations student dropout occurs and disengagement from science subjects plays a big part in this unfortunate trend. Dr. Hogue’s publications and presentations provide a wealth of insight into how schools and universities can bridge science education between Aboriginal and Western cultures, and offers different methodologies of teaching science to Aboriginal students.

“Eurocentric teaching methods are counterintuitive to Aboriginal ways of coming to know and learning by doing, particularly in the sciences and mathematics. As a result, most Aboriginal students do not pursue the sciences, the result of which is the severe underrepresentation of Aboriginal people in science and science related professions,” says Dr. Hogue, adding: “But this population can succeed if we change the way we teach.”

Dr. Hogue is conducting research and developing new teaching practices in a pilot project with high school students, educators, and administrators on the Blackfoot Reserve in Southern Alberta. With innovative pedagogy that integrates drama, narrative and cultural stories into learning chemistry, Dr. Hogue theoretically and directly addresses science, specifically chemistry, one major barrier to further studies in health, counseling, medicine, pharmacy and other science-related professions. 

The Clifford Award Selection Committee was genuinely impressed with the originality, depth, and relevance of Dr. Hogue’s work.

“Dr. Hogue’s work has the potential to transform Aboriginal teaching methodologies,” says Dr. Michele Jacobsen, Chair of the Pat Clifford Award Nominations Committee. “And we applaud her courage and perseverance in developing an evidence-based approach to increase learning, comprehension, and academic success of Aboriginal learners in the sciences.”  

Dr. Hogue will present her research work and be formally recognized with the Pat Clifford Award at the CEA Council Meetings on October 24th in Toronto.

To access a Q & A article with Dr. Hogue, and for a bibliography of her work, please visit:

About the Pat Clifford Award
This Award is named after Dr. Pat Clifford, one of the co-founders of The Galileo Educational Network.  Pat had an extensive teaching background from primary through graduate level, and was the recipient of numerous awards for both research and teaching practice. Pat passed away in August of 2008 but she left a gift to us in her teaching, scholarly writing, poetry and stories.   

About the Canadian Education Association (CEA)
Founded in 1891, the Canadian Education Association (CEA) is a network of passionate educators advancing ideas for greater student and teacher engagement in public education. CEA does this by conducting research and spreading useful ideas through its publications, website, workshops, symposia, and social media channels, and supporting education systems to be more adaptive to the rapidly changing needs of all learners in an effort to reverse the trend of students ‘tuning out’ of their learning opportunities.

For more information:
Max Cooke
CEA Director of Communications (bilingual)
416-591-6300 ext. 225
Twitter: @max_cooke