Conference Thailand (Chaing Mai) 2024

Dr. Colleen Kawalilak

Pronouns: she/her



Werklund School of Education, Specialization, Adult Learning

Visiting Research Fellow

Faculty of Education, Murdoch University, Perth, W. Australlia

Contact information

Phone number

Office: 403.220.2570


Office: EDT622

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Clayton MacGillivray
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Twitter: @UCalgaryEduc


Educational Background

Doctor of Philosophy Education, The University of Calgary, 2004

Master of Education Education, The University of Calgary, 2000

Bachelor of General Studies Liberal Arts, Athabasca University, 1997


Dr. Kawalilak joined the Werklund School of Education in 2004 after completing her PhD in Adult, Community, and Higher Education at the University of Calgary. Prior to this she worked as: a social worker with Services for the Handicapped, Child Protection, and Family Life Education (Parent Resource Unit) with Alberta Social Services (1973-1981); Instructor and Program Coordinator, Bow Valley College (1981-2000); and as a Teaching & Learning Centre Consultant, SAIT Polytechnic (2000-2004). Dr. Kawalilak’s extensive background in planning and delivering programs for adult learners in a variety of traditional, non-traditional, and diverse adult work and learning contexts informs her research, teaching, and service in our undergraduate and graduate programs.

Colleen’s work as Associate Dean International includes the negotiation of international agreements that support students and faculty with opportunities to work, learn, and research in diverse and challenging international contexts. Her work includes providing leadership and supporting the internationalization agenda in the Werklund School of Education. One of these initiatives is our Teaching Across Borders program,  in our Bachelor of Education program.

Professional & Community Affiliations

Dr. Kawalilak remains active in the community through her research, service, and facilitation work that focuses on adult learning, teaching and learning for adult educators, strategic planning, and diversity and ethics awareness education. She volunteers her time on the Research Ethics Board (REB) with Bow Valley College and has led research initiatives for the College in First Nations communities. She has delivered numerous workshops/training sessions for SAIT Polytechnic in strategic planning, action planning, ethics, diversity, and inclusion. Her expertise has extended to the development and facilitation of online courses for the University of Victoria in the Certificate in Adult Learning program.


  • Canadian Association for the Study of Adult Education (CASAE)
  • Canadian Association for the Study of Educational Administration (CASEA)
  • Canadian Association for the Study of Education (CSSE)
  • Canadian Educational Researchers' Association (CERA)
  • Canadian Association for the Study of Women and Education (CASWE)
  • Citizenship and Education Research Network (CERN)
  • European Society for Research on the Education of Adults (ESREA)
  • Standing Conference on University Teaching and Research in the Education of Adults (SCUTREA)
  • European Association for International Education (EAIE)
  • Alliance for International Education (AIE)


Areas of Research

Scholarly Activity

Dr. Kawalilak teaches and supervises students who areas of interest and research are located in adult education and adult learning in diverse formal and informal work and learning contexts. She is interested in the power and potential of dialogue within safe, challenging, and inclusive spaces that support diversity and advancing intercultural capacities, knowledge sharing, and relationality in teaching, learning, and leadership. Dr. Kawalilak's current research focuses on lifelong learning in professional contexts, reflexive practice, work and learning within and across diverse cultural contexts, relationship formation supported and informed by dialogue (trust, inclusion, compassion, care, and authentic relationship), and fostering a culture and practice of ethical internationalization in higher education.


Adult Education
Adult Learning (formal, informal, incidental)
Teaching and Learrning
Internationalisation, Culturally Diverse Contexts
Advancing Intercultural Capacities
Relational Epistemologies
Lifelong Learning 
Professional Development (Adult Educators)
Reflective Practice
Organizational Well-Being
Qualitative Research

Participation in university strategic initiatives


  • University of Calgary Teaching Awards - Award for Graduate Supervision, University of Calgary. 2019
  • WSE Distinguished Graduate Supervision Award, University of Calgary, Werklund School of Education. 2018
  • UofC Service Award (15 yrs.), University of Calgary. 2019
  • Internationalization Achievement Award (Teaching Across Borders), University of Calgary (International). 2018
  • GREAT Supervisor Award, Faculty of Graduate Studies, University of Calgary. 2016
  • GREAT Supervisor Award, Faculty of Graduate Studies, University of Calgary. 2014


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