Kathleen Gallagher is a leading Canadian education scholar who invokes the power of theatre to educate students in elementary and high schools about complex social issues. For the past 16 years, she has worked closely with public schools in Canada and around the world to gather the experiences of some of their most marginalized students, and shared these powerful stories through dramatic forms to promote understanding, tolerance and learning. Her research contributions have been celebrated internationally within the field of education, applied theatre and qualitative methodology.
Since joining the Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education in 1999, Kathleen has distinguished herself as an outstanding scholar, teacher and colleague. Following the completion of her Bachelor's, Master's and Doctoral degrees at the University of Toronto, she was promoted to the rank of Full Professor just five years after receiving tenure. She is now completing her second term as a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair and is shortlisted as a Tier 1 Chair. Her founding leadership of the Centre for Urban Schooling at the University of Toronto (2005-2012) placed questions of education and equity in the foreground of school district concerns through her advocacy for the most marginalized students in our public schools. She has worked closely with local practitioners to directly impact their work; internationally, her multi-sited, global research projects have ignited vital conversations about educational attainment and the well-being of young people in the global north and south. This remarkable record of research contributions and professional accomplishments in her early career underpins her recent designation as associate chair of research.
A fellow of the Salzburg Seminar, funded by the Harvard Graduate School and Kellogg Foundation, she has delivered multiple international keynote addresses and won teaching and lecture awards. Her many books, published by the University of Toronto Press, have received awards from the American Association of Educational Research, including Most Distinguished Book in Curriculum Studies.
Kathleen has attracted research funding from a wide array of federal and provincial granting agencies, as well as U of T’s Connaught Fund and private donors who made major gifts to the Centre for Urban Schooling during her tenure. Her work at the Centre for Urban Schooling was supported by two large grants from the Provost's office at the University of Toronto. Her infrastructure grants have greatly benefitted students at OISE by facilitating their training in new qualitative research software programs and new forms of visual and multi-media methodologies. There are a number of students from the Graduate Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies, where she is cross-appointed, who come to OISE to join her many research project teams as mentees, co-authors of published works, and co-presenters at major international conferences. Graduate students, and international universities, regularly seek her contributions to speaker series because of her superior knowledge of student mentorship and large-scale research project operations.
Professor Kathleen Gallagher is an exemplary scholar of socially innovative research questions, and is an artistic pioneer in the creative and impactful mobilization of research results. Having collaborated across disciplines and sectors throughout the course of her career, she draws from the expertise of a constellation of partners engaged in the shared enterprise of research and practice. Her collaborative and generous approach to her research, and her tremendous capacity to attract funding for large-scale, global projects that engage students and produce locally and globally applicable products, make her well qualified to stand among the University’s most accomplished faculty as a Distinguished Professor.