Associate Professor wins prestigious AERA award
Published on May 23 2012
This past April, at the American Educational Research Association conference held in Vancouver, British Columbia, Dr. Darlene Ciuffetelli Parker, Associate Professor at Brock University, was honoured as the recipient of the Early Career Award on behalf of the Narrative Research Special Interest Group.
The award is presented to an individual who has shown outstanding accomplishments in narrative research during the early stages of their career.
Having recently co-authored a narrative inquiry book as well as a poverty and education book entitled Poverty and Schools in Ontario: How Seven Elementary Schools are Working to Improve Education, Ciuffetelli Parker’s work has garnered ample attention.
Serving on the Early Career Award selection committee were Dr. Shijing Xu, Associate Professor, University of Windsor (Canada), Dr. Amy Johnson Lachuk, University of Southern Carolina (USA) and Dr. Cheryl J. Craig, University of Houston (USA), concluding that “Darlene Ciuffetelli Parker is doing exquisite work in narrative inquiry in teacher education. Her pedagogical use of narrative inquiry in teaching teachers is particularly strong. Her literacy narrative article published in Teaching and Teacher Education (Web of Science/Tier 1 journal) helped student teachers to push the boundaries of their thinking. Darlene Ciuffetelli Parker is truly doing outstanding work.”
Admittedly she is still humbled by the honour and says that being notified of winning the award was unanticipated.
“Honestly, this award recognition came very unexpectedly and I was shockingly delighted,” she said. “There is tremendous work in narrative inquiry research being done internationally and, thus, for my own work to be recognized in such a manner was a very humbling and rewarding experience.”
With her research interests (teacher education, narrative inquiry, marginalized communities, diversity and literacy education) stemming from the environments she grew up and taught in, Ciuffetelli Parker employs narrative inquiry methodology in her research and her teaching in order to better understand life and narrative as expressed through story.
She was afforded the opportunity during her graduate studies at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto (OISE/UT), to work with Professor Michael Connelly (OISE/UT), the man she calls the “Rock Star” of narrative inquiry.
“[Michael] Connelly, for me, is the teacher with the capital ‘T’,” she says. “[He was] the educator who allowed me to understand education, theory, practice and policy in a way that is told and retold, lived and relived through the essence of experience.”
The knowledge Ciuffetelli Parker was able to absorb from her time working under Connelly has not only propelled her research, but also her status in the field of education as a professor, earning the 2012 Faculty of Education Award for Excellence in Teaching.
“I have always taught my courses, whether they be foundational teaching courses, or graduate study courses, with a narrative inquiry lens,” she says. “That has, in large part, been the success of my teaching relationship with my students.”
Moving forward Dr. Ciuffetelli Parker hopes her work will make a difference, not just in the world of academia, but producing work that will have an impact on a global scale.
“Outside the classroom, my research has taken me beyond studying literacy narratives and literacy teacher education into areas with a social justice stance, such as diversity, or more specific: students and families living in poverty and how education and poverty are important concepts to study in order to make a significant impact in our world,” she says. “My plan is to combine, intimately now, my research work in poverty and education and literacy, with my narrative inquiry methodology and to use narrative as a forum for in-depth, detailed and hopefully profound narratives that make an impact on theory, practice and most important in our current economic world landscape, policy change.”