Professor Rolheiser is Associate Dean, Teacher Education, of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto (OISE/UT). Prior to becoming a university professor and senior administrator, she worked as an elementary school teacher, district consultant, and school administrator. Professor Rolheiser is a committed teacher-leader in school district/university partnerships. While the scholarship path she has taken is multi-dimensional, it continues to be based strongly in cooperative learning, the foundation for her research, field development, and teaching expertise.
Professor Rolheiser’s work locally and nationally, as well as her consultancy internationally, has focused on the redesign of teacher education, instructional and assessment innovation, teacher development, school improvement, leadership, system reform and managing educational change. Ongoing research and development projects explicitly link many of these interests as she facilitates improvement in universities, school districts, and schools.
At the University of Toronto Professor Rolheiser has been both a participant and leader in cutting-edge programmatic changes in teacher education, such as the two-year Master of Teaching program. These changes have strengthened partnerships among the university and broader communities. An example of one such partnership is her current work as a professional development teacher, consultant, and researcher in a long-term district initiative with York Region District School Board’s Literacy Collaborative. This work is focused on the improvement of literacy achievement for K-12 students through leadership training for administrator/teacher teams. The findings form this work are also being used to support improvement in other school districts across Ontario, with the goal of contributing to greater literacy leadership capacity. Professor Rolheiser has also previously provided leadership for Edmonton Catholic Schools in a five-year system initiative, Assessment for Learning, focused on strengthening assessments and instructional practices across all schools. Likewise, her creative teaching approaches and program design skills have been used in projects worldwide, e.g., for Chicago Public Schools, the Board of Regents for the State of Louisiana, the Centre for Development and Learning (Louisiana), the School Leadership Centre for Greater New Orleans (University of New Orleans), the United States Department of Defense Schools (Pacific Region), and the Soros Foundation (Central and Eastern Europe). As an instructional and educational change leader, she has presented over 500 keynotes, invited addresses, seminars and workshops for a broad range of professional organizations, universities and educational systems worldwide.
Professor Rolheiser bases her instruction on the growing knowledge base about effective learning and teaching, while also contributing to this research base through her own studies. Her teaching scholarship is reflected in a range of publications, including journal articles, book chapters and books such as Cooperative Learning: Where Heart Meets Mind; Self-Evaluation: Helping Students Get Better At It!; The Portfolio Organizer: Succeeding with Portfolios in your Classroom; and, Beyond Monet: The Artful Science of Instructional Integration. Her books have been distributed widely, and translated into French, Lithuanian, Mongolian, and Thai. The value of her scholarship is also reflected by honours, such as the 2004 American Educational Studies Association (AESA) Critics’ Choice Award for the book, Cooperative Learning: The Challenge for Teacher Education, in which she has co-authored lead chapter, “Practices in teacher education and Cooperative learning at The University of Toronto”. Professor Rolheiser has also published articles widely, both in prestigious academic journals such as the Elementary School Journal, Assessment in Education, Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, Assessing Writing, Teaching and Teacher Education, School Effectiveness and School Improvement, as well as in international and national practitioner journals such as Educational Leadership, the Journal of Staff Development, and OISE/UT’s journal, Orbit.
Through numerous awards and nominations, Professor Rolheiser has been recognized as an outstanding teacher by students and colleagues. She had been honoured as the recipient of the Pearl Turner Memorial Prize (1976), the Canadian College of Teachers’ Teacher of the Year Award (1988), and OISE/UT’s Student Teachers Union Award (1999); these acknowledgements reflect her career-long commitment to excellence in teaching.
At the core of Professors Rolheiser’s professional work is a genuine and passionate love of teaching.