McDowell Foundation was established in 1991 by the Saskatchewan
Teachers' Federation (STF). For decades the STF had included a core
of members that pushed the provincial organization towards greater
teacher involvement in educational research. These teachers wanted
their organization to take a leadership role in generating research
that was practical, relevant, and effective in improving teaching
The STF saw teacher
research as an important avenue for the professional development of teachers and
extending teachers' influence over educational directions. Throughout the 1960s
and 1970s, it made a number of short-lived efforts to develop a strong research
presence for teachers. Then in the 1980s, three significant developments led to
a renewed drive to establish a solid foundation for teacher research:
The STF conducted a Study of Teaching that raised teachers' awareness of
the opportunities research can provide to explore and discuss their classroom
The Competency Committee of the STF adjudicated a case that demonstrated the need
for the teaching profession to ask questions about the nature of teaching and
the quality of teaching practices.
The STF received a $150,000 grant from the Future Corporation, a
temporary agency set up by the Saskatchewan government to provide
seed money for projects that would position the province for success
in the 21st Century. The grant was intended to support the establishment
of a fund for research into innovative teaching.
by the momentum from these three events, the STF worked to create a national foundation
for research into teaching and register it as a charitable organization. In 1991,
it was decided to name the foundation after Dr. Stirling McDowell, an educational
researcher and teacher advocate known and respected across Canada.
the next few years, the governance structures and policies for the McDowell Foundation
were developed and refined to include an independent Board of Directors, an Advisory
Committee with representatives from the educational and business communities,
and a Project Review Committee responsible for selecting projects for research
grants. In addition, an intensive fund-raising campaign was initiated to build
an endowment fund from which to fund the work of the McDowell Foundation.
1994, the fund had grown to the point where the Foundation could issue its first
annual call for research proposals. The following year, the first Learning from
Practice conference was held to showcase the results of McDowell Foundation research
projects. Many more milestones were to follow:
1997, the McDowell Foundation opened an Information Centre about its work in the
lobby of the STF Building in Saskatoon.|
1997, the Foundation produced a promotional video entitled Learning from Practice.|
1998, the annual McDowell Award was instituted to recognize individuals who have
made outstanding contributions to educational research.|
2001, the Foundation began a year-long celebration of its 10th anniversary with
an "extravaganza" in Saskatoon.|
Foundation continues to grow and develop as teachers express new research needs
and opportunities are found to further their professional studies.
Minister of Education John Melenchuk (RIGHT) receives a
McDowell Foundation sweater from Derwyn Crozier-Smith, then
President of the McDowell Foundation, after announcing the Foundation's
10th Anniversary in the Legislature.