Published on Brock University (http://brocku.ca)
Dr. Mary Breunig, Associate Professor of Recreation and Leisure Studies, was recently named President of the Association for Experiential Education (AEE), which is a nonprofit, professional membership association dedicated to experiential education and the students, educators and practitioners who utilize its philosophy. Experiential education is a philosophy and methodology in which educators purposefully engage with learners in direct experience and focused reflection in order to increase knowledge, develop skills and clarify values (AEE, 2011). AEE has been in existence since the early 1970s, and has a long history of developing and advocating for experiential education theory and practices in a wide variety of academic and non-academic settings.
Mary’s involvement with AEE spans over 15 years. She served as Chair of the Northeast Region in the late 1990s, and more recently, as Co-Editor of the Journal of Experiential Education, a peer-reviewed, scholarly journal presenting a diverse range of research and conceptual articles in subject areas such as outdoor adventure programming, service learning, environmental education, therapeutic programming, and the theoretical development of experiential education. In 2008, Mary received AEE’s Experiential Teacher of the Year Award for her excellence in implementing experiential education principles and theories in teaching practice. This award is granted to a teacher who has practiced innovative, experiential education methodologies in a public or private school system.
In accepting her role as President, Dr. Breunig remarked, “I am humbled by this opportunity to serve the Association and the fields of experiential education. I remain committed to supporting educators in their efforts to bring about a more just and compassionate world through experiential education theories and praxes.”
Dr. Breunig has worked in the field(s) of experiential education for over 20 years. Prior to coming to Brock, Mary taught experiential education to kindergarten through grade twelve students at Friends Seminary in New York City. She also coordinated the school’s extensive service learning program. Dr. Breunig served as a Lecturer at Lakehead University in the School of Outdoor Recreation, Parks and Tourism for five years. Mary is a member of the Council of Outdoor Educators of Ontario, the American Educational Research Association, and has been involved with the planning of the Niagara Social Justice Forum for a number of years.
In 2009, Dr. Breunig received a SSHRC Standard Research Grant titled, Evaluating the Impact of Integrated Environmental Studies Programs in Ontario on Students’ Environmental Actions, Behaviours and Professional Pathways. Mary also conducts research related to sense of community and participation on wilderness trips, and writes about the disparity between what self-identified experiential educators and critical pedagogues theorize and their actual classroom praxis. She has co-authored several books, and she recently became an instructor for the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). Dr. Breunig has also worked for Outward Bound Australia, SUNY Cortland, the Cradlerock Group and Wilderness Inquiry.
For more information visit the research profile for Mary Breunig