Faculty of Education

Faculty of Education
Faculty of Education

Luce-Kapler to grow community as new dean

Wednesday August 5, 2015

By Mike Young, Communications Intern, originally printed in the Queen’s Gazette

Dr. Luce-Kapler looks forward with great excitement to the future of the Faculty of Education at a time of change and renewal.

Rebecca Luce-KaplerRebecca Luce-Kapler was at home and about to leave for a vacation when she received an e-mail from Provost Alan Harrison asking her to call him at her earliest convenience. She called him immediately and was offered the position of dean of Education at Queen’s.

Accepting his offer, she hung up the phone and then ran around the house, looking for her husband. She remembers yelling one thing: “I GOT THE JOB!”

“I didn’t realize just how much I wanted the job until I got closer to finding out. I’ll never forget how good that felt,” says Dr. Luce-Kapler, who stepped into her new role on July 1.

Dr. Luce-Kapler, who lives on a cliff overlooking a lake and who confesses a great love for Kingston, first came to Queen’s with similar feelings of excitement in 1997 to work on language and literacy research and programming within the Faculty of Education.

A B.Ed graduate who pursued her graduate work at the University of Alberta, Dr. Luce-Kapler set out to complete a master’s degree with the intention of returning to teach in the classroom.

During that process, however, she came to realize that she wanted to make a deeper impact on education beyond the traditional school-teacher setting. She ended up staying to complete a PhD in language and literacy education, fostering a love for research and higher education at the same time.

Arriving at Queen’s, she was surprised to find that transitioning between provinces was more difficult than expected.

“When I came to Queen’s, I thought, it’s not going to be that big a transition because it’s still Canada… well it turns out that Alberta and Ontario are kind of different,” she laughs.

Due to the immediate bonds and sense of community that she experienced within her new faculty, however, Dr. Luce-Kapler grew to love her city and her Queen’s community. “I thought I’d stay for a few years and then go back to the prairies, and I never did,” she admits.

She cites the collaborative environment and special relationships she has developed as the primary reason that she never left.

“There’s an intermingling between disciplines and levels here that I found very synergistic,” she says. “I ended up doing research that I never imagined I’d have the chance to do… and I really, really like our students.”

Now at the helm of this community, Dr. Luce-Kapler feels excitement about the myriad of opportunities that lie ahead. Recognizing things will get even more hectic when September rolls around, she has not wasted any time in getting to work.

One such opportunity is the introduction of a new Bachelor of Education program, whose first cohort started at the faculty in May. The provincially mandated changes for B.Ed programs in Ontario have led to the complete restructuring of the faculty’s education program. The Queen’s program now takes 16 months to complete and sees students starting in the spring, rather than in September.

She describes the feedback from students she’s spoken with so far as being positive, and says she is excited to help shape teacher education at Queen’s within a new provincial framework.

“The opportunity to see this program and its students grow, and to continue to grow our community as a whole on a number of different levels – it’s all very exciting,” she says.

When speaking about growth, Dr. Luce-Kapler routinely focuses on the people involved in the process, and the importance of forming meaningful relationships within the faculty.

She speaks, particularly, of her close relationship with former dean Stephen Elliott, who she met soon after arriving to Queen’s. He became one of her first friends and has continued to be a wonderful support system.

[Dr. Luce-Kapler]The connections she made with her colleagues were fostered in unique ways. When Dr. Luce-Kapler first arrived, she, Dr. Elliott and Dr. Peter Chin (who now serves as Associate Dean, Undergraduate Studies), formed a hermeneutic reading group, reading texts from that philosophical perspective.

“I was lonely when I first came – I knew no one here and my entire family was in Alberta. Back in Alberta, I was part of a reading group and I really missed that, so I asked Peter [Chin] who I knew was from the west as well if he wanted to join a hermeneutic reading group, and he said yes. Stephen [Elliott] was walking by, asked us ‘what’s hermeneutics?’, and we said that he’d had to join to find out. So for a year, the three of us had a hermeneutic reading group.”

She explains how when the three of them went on to become the administration team years later, they laughed when thinking back to their earlier experiences together.

A lover of gardening, cooking, and poetry, regularly drafting biographical poetry about women’s experiences in her spare time, Dr. Luce-Kapler is a people-oriented leader who greatly cherishes opportunities to bring individuals together and share experiences. Perhaps most telling is how she describes her colleagues as friends and her faculty at large as a family.

“The Faculty of Education at Queen’s is non-departmentalized, and so it really feels like you’re working in a community together,” she says.

When it comes to her new role, Dr. Luce-Kapler feels like everything has fallen into place in the right way at the right time.

“Things have flowed in a lovely way since I arrived here. I couldn’t be happier to be where I am, and I cannot wait to see where this faculty goes from here.” 

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