Shirley R. Steinberg

Professor Shirley R. Steinberg



Professor of Education

Werklund School of Education, Specialization, Leadership

Contact information

Phone number

Office: 403.210.6447


Office: EDT932

For media enquiries, contact

Clayton MacGillivray
Content and Media Specialist

Twitter: @UCalgaryEduc

Preferred method of communication



Educational Background

PhD Curriculum: Cultural Studies, Pennsylvania State University, 1997

MEd Literacy, University of Lethbridge, 1990

BEd Literacy, University of Lethbridge, 1987


Shirley R. Steinberg is a Professor of Education at the University of Calgary. She is the author and editor of many books on critical pedagogy, urban and youth culture, and cultural studies. Originally a social/improvisational theatre creator, she has facilitated happenings and flashmobs globally. A regular contributor to Canadian and American press, she is an internationally known speaker and teacher. She is also the Founding Editor of Taboo: The Journal of Culture and Education, the Founding and Managing Editor of The International Journal of Critical Pedagogy, and Co-founder and Co-editor of The International Journal for Leadership in Learning.

Professional & Community Affiliations

As an international speaker, teacher, and author, Shirley is a collaborator with several countries on several continents. Formerly the Werklund Research Chair in Critical Youth Studies, she continues her work in creating a robust global network infrastructure for critical pedagogy, critical youth studies, and community workers. Her work on Islamophobia is rooted in re-articulating the changing nature of Islamophobia, in what she terms the Third Wave. For the past six years, she has collaborated with Southern Alberta Blackfoot Nation communities.

Steinberg serves on the Executive Boards of OBAT Canada, a Canadian nonprofit organization that provides ocular procedures to restore eyesight and places community wells in Bangladesh and Pakistan, and Think For Actions, a Calgary-based group that researches equity issues in diverse populations, She is the Chief Information Organizational Officer for S.I.Y.S. (Struggle Is Your Success), a grassroots non-profit organization that works with youth to understand their potential and become successful entrepreneurs and the Educational Advisor for the Robb Nash Project, a Canadian organization with goals to reach young people who are struggling, to hear their voices and to be supported,


Current Research Professor Affiliations:

  • The University of Barcelona
  • Sapienza University, Rome, Italy
  • Murdoch University, Perth, Australia
  • IPEC, Instituto de Pedagogia Critica Chihuahua, Mexico
  • Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia


Areas of Research

Scholarly Activity

Dr. Steinberg's work focuses on cultural/social/education development and leadership which includes critical communities and youth involvement. She is concerned with how society views young people and those who are marginalized, and with creating an environment in which all are viewed as positive democratic agents within society. As a Research Chair, she established an international network of youth and community workers engaged in a critical pedagogical approach to activism and pedagogy. Her work continues to be focused on social theory and critical pedagogy within issues of Leadership and Women, Critical Diversity/Inclusion Studies, and Critical Qualitative Research; and a strong commitment to facilitating and publishing new and emerging scholars.

  • Critical and Transformative Leadership
  • Critical Pedagogy
  • Youth Studies and Community Activism
  • Social Justice Pedagogies
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  • Critical Media Literacies
  • Qualitative Research/Interpretive Inquiry
  • Women in Leadership
  • Communication, Media and Film> Popular Culture
  • Communication, Media and Film> Theories of Communication, Media and Film 
  • Sociology>Social Inequality and Social Justice
  • Sociology>Social Networks 
  • Leadership and Coaching
  • Critical Disability
  • Immigrant, Refugee, Ethno-Cultural, and Racialized Groups 
  • Community Based Education 
  • Qualitative Research Methods
  • Curriculum and Learning
  • Leadership 

Participation in university strategic initiatives


Course number Course title Semester
EDER 719 Advanced Special Topics in Educational Leadership Summer 2022
EDER 720 Advanced Approaches to Interpretive Inquiry Fall 2022
EDER 783.02 Critical Praxis as Social Justice Summer 2021


Integrating Hip-hop and Poetry Kainai High School Summer Students

This grant facilitated Hip-hop artists to collaborate with KHS English teacher and KHS counselors in using poetry through Hip-hop and Photovoice as methods of self-expression, Grant: Indigenous Welcome Grant 2020

Elders' History and Stories of Previous Pandemics and Relationship to Covid-19

This grant facilitated Elders from Kainai and Pilkani Nations to speak to students and faculty about the historical significance and erasure of pandemic effects on First Nations Peoples, Grant: Indigenous Welcome Grant 2021.

Land-based Education: Connecting Students with What is Theirs

This new grant (2023) has been created to work with Kainai HS science teachers, counselors, and environmental researchers to investigate the importance of land-based learning and the notion or becoming stewards or the land, Grant: Ptarmigan Foundation Indigenous Education Grants


  • Critics Choice Book Award, American Education Studies Association 2022. 2022
  • 16 different Film Festival Awards for film: "Elders' Room", International Film Festival. 2021
  • Best Director, Short Documentary, Toronto International Women's Film Festival. 2021
  • The Whitworth Award for Career Education Research Excellence (2019-2022), EdCan Canada: 2019
  • Woman of Wonder Award, Islamic Circle of North American INCA Calgary Chapter. 2016
  • Lifetime Achievement Award , International Conference for Critical Media Literacy. 2015
  • Paulo Freire Lifetime Achievement Award for Social Justice and Education, Chapman University Faculty of Education. 2011
  • Helen Divitis Jones Medal for Excellence in Teaching, Texas Tech University Faculty of Education. 2009
  • Distinguished Alumnus of the Year, The University of Lethbridge. 2006