Xu Zhao

Dr. Xu Zhao

Pronouns: She/Her


Associate Professor

Werklund School of Education, Specialization, Counselling Psychology

Contact information

Web presence

Phone number

Office: 403.220.5382


Office: EDT640

For media enquiries, contact

Clayton MacGillivray
Content and Media Specialist

Email: clmacgil@ucalgary.ca
Twitter: @UCalgaryEduc


Educational Background

Doctor of Education Human Development and Psychology, Harvard University, 2011


Areas of Research

Scholarly Activity

Dr. Zhao's research in North America and China explores one broad questionFacing rampant achievement anxiety and social stress, how can educators and parents promote children's academic success and at the same time protect their mental health and socioemotional well-being? Her research in China has focused on understanding how children's social, moral, and civic development is influenced by the education system, parental practices, and broader social, economic and historical processes. Her research in Canada focuses on the mental health, well-being, and success of ethnic minority youth and families. The applied goal of her research is to understand the knowledge, skills and opportunities that help individuals and communities transcend cultural differences, overcome cultural barriers and prejudices, and support the healthy and successful development of children, families, and communities in a multi-cultural society. The theoretical and critical agenda underlying her research activities is, in the words of Michael W. Apple, to "explicate the manifest and latent or coded reflections of modes of material production, ideological values, class relations, and structures of social power—racial and sexual as well as politico economic—on the state of consciousness of people in a precise historical or socio-economic situation." Dr. Zhao serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Moral Education. She also consults for schools and community programs in Canada and China on the promotion of children's long-term positive development. 

  • Youth social, moral and civic development
  • Child and youth mental health
  • Preventive intervention program development
  • Cross-cultural transitions
  • Qualitative research methods

Participation in university strategic initiatives


Course number Course title Semester
EDUC 309 SEC 01 S01 Early Childhood Development Fall 2021
EDPS 611 Qualitative Research Methodologies Spring 2021
EDER 655.14 Developing resilient youth Winter 2022
EDPS 693 Child Development Winter 2022


  • On-going:  Promoting Youth Mental Health and Well-being in Schools and Communities (PI). Supported by UCalgary International Collaborative Grant, Werklund Dean's Office grant, Werklund Teaching and Learning Grant, and Werklund Community Engagement Grant, and Goldian International Gift and Research Contract. 
  • 2020-2022. Promising practices for children and youth: A model of Canada-China collaboration (Co-Investigator). SSHRC Partnership Grant. 
  • 2017-2020. Early Childhood Bilingual Education and Parental Practice in China (PI). Supported by Goldian International Gift and Research Contract. 
  • 2016-2018. Young Newcomer Social Integration in Canadian Schools (PI). SSHRC Insight Development Grant. "Barriers and Bridges: An Integrated Approach to Understanding the Process of Newcomer Social Integration in Canadian High Schools".  
  • 2016-2018.  An Inter-Professional Approach to Innovative Research and Practices with Newcomers (Co-PI). UCalgary Human Dynamics Research Grant. 


  • Harvard Chen Yidan Visiting Global Fellow, Harvard Graduate School of Education . 2021
  • Harvard Gutman Library Distinguished Book Author, 2016
  • University of Calgary Werklund Postdoctoral Fellowship (2014-2017), 2014
  • Association of Moral Education (AME) Dissertation Award Finalist, 2013
  • Harvard China Fund Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2011
  • Harvard Graduate School of Education Qualifying Paper Passed with Distinction, 2007
  • Council of Alumni for Social Enterprises (CASE) Fellowship, 2006
  • Harvard Graduate School of Education Entering Award (2003-2005), 2003
  • Shenzhen Polytechnic Teaching Award, 1998


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