My Master of Adult education experience was more than I could have imagined personally, professionally, and academically. I use my knowledge every day and cannot imagine what it would be like not to have taken the program. The program has changed my view of learning, my hopes for the next generation of learners, and instilled in me a desire to be a continuous lifelong creative instructor and learner. 

Lisa Dobson, Master of Adult Education (2017)

The strength of our program is in our participants. The Department boasts over 700 graduates from every province and territory in Canada, as well as from countries around the world: United States, England, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Chinese Taipei, India, and Egypt. Over the past 40 years, we have had the privilege of working with phenomenal leaders and practitioners who have made outstanding contributions to their communities and professions and to the field of adult education. Graduates have done to pursue doctoral studies in a variety of disciplines and have been active in the transfer of knowledge through conference presentations, academic publications, and through professional development and training. If you'd like to know more about what our participants and graduates are doing now, see our Facebook page.

Bernard C. Anderson
Field: Management

“Understanding how the adults you are working with learn, how your key stakeholders perceive your message(s), how you are perceived as a communicator, and how to structure your facilitation are all key components of the study of adult education.”

Bernard currently works as the Executive Director of Health Human Resources Planning and Strategy in the Professional Services and Health Benefits Division in Alberta’s Ministry of Health. Bernard has graduate degrees in public administration from Dalhousie University, as well as a Master of Adult Education from St. FX. He previously worked as an adjunct professor at Dalhousie University, teaching courses focused on policy, finance and management. He has also taught in community colleges, in the area of human services, with emphasis on non-profit administration. Bernard has held several management positions in the provincial and municipal governments in Nova Scotia, and spent several years as a registered social worker in a variety of community program settings/community organization work.
Thesis: Training Programs for Non-Profit Organizations: Studying How Best To Meet Their Learning Needs.


Andrew Atkins
Field: International Community Development

“My mind’s eye now has an adult education filter permanently imbedded.”

Andy works for poverty alleviation. He has extensive experience in executive leadership, adult education, community development, and relief work in Haiti, Africa, and Asia. Andy’s forte is training, coaching, and mentoring community leadership for transformation. He currently works with programs aimed at empowering community development from the ground up to break the cycle of poverty in Southern and Western Africa, as well as South East Asia. Andy oversees programs in these countries with the faith-based community development organization, the Navigators.
Research project: Adult Education for Poverty Alleviation in Rural Malawi and Uganda: Enquiring into Facilitators' Practices which Establish Well-being for Oral Learners.


Paul Boyd
Field: Community Development & Environmental Education

“I have been able to combine my work experiences and community interests with the Master of Adult Education program to develop the expertise necessary for the consulting industry.”

When starting the Master of Adult Education program at St. FX, Paul was in his last year of a long career with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO). Paul's experiences in coastal communities include being employed as a fish harvester, conservation officer, oceans biologist, and resource manager. He also developed, owned and operated a coastal tourism operation in Antigonish County. Paul has been able to use the knowledge gained from the Master of Adult Education program to begin his own consultation business, Boyd-Integrated Resource Planning, which specializes in facilitating programs on environmental education, climate change adaption, and marine and coastal resource planning and management.
Research Project: Mapping the pillars of sustainability: Building capacity for integrated coastal and marine planning on Cape Breton Island's gulf coast.


Anthony Campeau
Field: Health Research

“The Masters in Adult Education programme was a life changing experience for me. It provided an understanding of how to connect my professional interests with academia, and more importantly, how to do so in a way that fosters self-determination. The hallmark of St. FX’s programme is its focus on learning and the realization that all learning is in the end an individualized process. St. FX brings us into contact with this learning so we can be our own educators.”

Anthony, a graduate of the St. FX Master of Adult Education program, is a paramedic researcher. He previously worked in the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and was the manager of the Provincial Land Ambulance Program. Upon completion of his Master's from St. FX, he went on to complete a doctorate in Higher Education from the University of Toronto. Anthony has published the only formal paramedic theories-of-practice, and these are widely used in Emergency Medical Services training programs around the world. He was also the provincial operational coordinator for the widely recognized Ontario Pre-hospital Advanced Life Support Study (OPALS), the largest study of its kind ever implemented. Additionally, he has published articles in a variety of peer-reviewed journals, including two in the New England Journal of Medicine. Currently, he serves as an expert reviewer for several academic journals.
Thesis: Evaluation of a Provincial Training Program for Paramedics.


  Margaret Dumkee
Field: Community College

Margaret has 14 years of experience teaching in a multi-cultural environment at the post-secondary level. She is currently the Dean of Applied Science and Management Division at Yukon College.
Research project: Building a foundation, creating a practice: A self-study of an adult educator using autobiography, narrative, and personal life history techniques.


David Fletcher
Senior Program Staff

David joined the Coady Institute in March 2007 as a senior program staff member in the area of Transformative Education and Community Development. Since 1985 he has had the opportunity to work with groups on the African continent (Nigeria, Ghana, The Gambia, Ethiopia, South Africa, and Zambia) and in Canada to learn and share knowledge, skills, values and strategies for social and personal change. David has experience teaching at universities in Canada and in several African countries, as well as extensive program management experience with NGOs, universities, and as a consultant. David holds a Master in Adult Education from StFX, and a BArtSci in International Development Studies from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. He is currently engaged in research on community resilience in northern Ghana, drawing on community psychology and sustainable livelihoods as part of his PhD work. David was appointed Manager of Education Programs at the Coady Institute in January 2009.


Susan Hartwell
Field: Community College –Early Childhood Educators

“What I valued about the Master of Adult Education program at St. FX was the ability to delve deeply into the area and aspect of the adult education topic I wanted to investigate. I had the freedom to explore whatever adult education topic I wanted, and was able to discover answers to questions about young adult learners that I had had for a long time.”

Susan currently is a professor in the Early Childhood Education program at Durham College, which includes developing course outlines and facilitating learning in the program. In the upcoming academic year, Susan will co-lead the Teaching in Community program offered to faculty at Durham College where participants will explore the work of Parker Palmer and Stephen Brookfield. Susan's research paper, Discovering how college faculty help students to mature: An appreciative inquiry, was accepted for the 2015 Canadian Association for the Study of Adult Education conference.
Research Project: Discovering how college faculty help students to mature: An appreciative inquiry.


Beverly Hoffman, S.C.N.
Field: International Community Development & Health (Physical Therapy)

“Overall, my Master of Adult Education degree has opened the confidence and the credentials I need to work at a more global level in my networking, and more locally on the disability and social justice agendas in Belize. I see myself as an adult educator who is like a bridge. I try to create space, make connections, and create opportunities for change. Education and training are the tools I utilize to do this.”

Since 2003, Sr. Beverly has worked as an American Sister of Charity of Nazareth in Belize, Central America. After finishing the Master of Adult Education program at St. FX, she held an intern position at the United Nations in New York City with the congregations' Charity Federation non-government organization. After graduating from the Master program, Beverly worked as a consultant for the Wife of the Prime Minister of Belize and CARE Belize (a local NGO) to establish the first paediatric outpatient rehabilitation centre in Belize, The Inspiration Center, which is now in its first year of operation. Beverly currently works at the Inspiration Center as a physical therapist.
Research Project: Through the Lens of Transformative Learning: A Photovoice Pilot Project with Persons with Diverse Abilities in Belize.


Michele M. Leering
Field: Law, Legal Aid, & Reflective Practice

“The learning journey I began during the Master of Adult Education program has taken the most interesting twists and turns. I have encountered kindred spirits in the most unexpected places. I have come alive to the possibilities of qualitative research for creating change. Let us not underestimate the important role that the dedicated faculty of St. FX play in nurturing our professional growth providing the needed guidance and support at critical points. Their commitment to supporting my learning journey created a most powerful crucible for my maturation as an adult educator, a catalyst for change, and a revitalized legal professional.”

Michele is a lawyer and the Executive Director of the Community Advocacy & Legal Centre (CALC) in Belleville, Ontario. As well as graduating from the Master of Adult Education program at St. FX, Michele also has a law degree from the University of Western Ontario. She is starting a Doctorate in the Law Faculty at Queen’s University. Michele was selected as the 2009 Law Foundation of Ontario Community Leadership in Justice Fellow and sojourned at Osgoode Hall Law School at York University. For a short period in 2014, Michele continued her research as a Visiting Fellow at the Australian National University. She is also a member of the International Legal Aid Group. Michele’s research has been published in the Journal of Law and Social Policy. In addition to presenting her research in various Canadian forums, she has also participated in workshops in the United States, England, Ireland, Nepal, Australia, New Zealand, Netherlands, Spain, Ukraine, and Turkey.
Research project: Encouraging reflective practice in a professional school: Developing a conceptual model and sharing promising practices to support law student reflection.


Nicole MacKenzie
Field: Community College - Student Retention

“The degree gave me a firm background and knowledge of adult learning and educational principles which I can apply directly to my work...I was able to utilize my research directly with our students and help guide the future practises of the Student Services team at our campus.”

Nicole is the Coordinator of Student Retention and Employment at the Nova Scotia Community College-Strait Area Campus. She works with at-risk students, has a liaison role with funding agencies, and organizes campus events. Nicole has volunteered with community organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Antigonish and has chaired the Board of Directors for the Career Development Association of Inverness Richmond for over 10 years.
Thesis: Evaluating student services in a community college setting.



Paula Mannington
Field: Community Development - English as a Second Language

“Through the self-directed Master of Adult Education at St. FX, I developed visual, narrative and collaborative research skills to express insights from professional learning embedded in practice.”

For over 30 years, Paula has been working with learners from diverse backgrounds in both Canadian and international settings. She is currently the Program Manager of English Language Training at Abbotsford Community Services, where she leads a team working with newcomers to Canada. She has taught a variety of settlement language classes, including ESL literacy, English for the Canadian workplace, and English for Academic Purposes.
Thesis: Enhancing professional learning in the margins of adult education: An embodied, extrarational s/Self study.


Sandra Moore - Independent Consultant


Working in international development made it difficult for me to find time to complete a Master's Degree. However, after hearing about the M.Ad.Ed program at St. FXU from some colleagues I decided to learn more about the program. I was instantly attracted to the self-directed concept of learning that the program is centered around and decided to apply. Dr. Elizabeth Lange became my professor in January 2010 and introduced me to the qualitative form of research known as authoethnography. It was the perfect fit for me as my BA is in Cultural Anthropology and I was able to complete my Master's research project on my own learning and reflections on my work with the organization I was working with in Vanuatu. I loved the flexibility of the program that allowed me to focus on what I wanted and needed to learn. In May 2011 I graduated from the M.Ad.Ed. program and later presented my research at the St. Mary's University International Development Graduate Student's Conference in March 2012. Currently, I am working as an independent consultant ( specializing in organizational capacity building and evaluation for non-profit organizations in Canada and internationally.


Joseph Nyemah - President of STAGE

Born in Liberia, Joseph Nyemah works in Regional Planning and Development, Department of Economic and Rural Development, Government of Nova Scotia. He chairs a high level committee on social enterprise strategy and programming. While working in the Economic Strategies and Initiatives Division, he co-led implementation of the Government’s Community Development Policy.  He is the President of STAGE, a Canadian based agency that supports education in developing countries. Joseph is an international expert on food security and economic development and had worked with the Paris based Action Contre La Faim in West and East Africa, and South East Asia.  He is a doctoral student, Educational Studies, Mount St. Vincent University; a graduate of the Coady International Institute, Université Saint Anne, Saint Francis Xavier and Dalhousie universities. He holds graduate degrees in Adult education and International Development. His research interests include gender, migration and education.


Nancy Peters
Field: Community Development, Indigenous & Gender studies

“The Master of Adult Education program was certainly instrumental in shaping my thinking and practice as an educator, and in allowing me to engage in initiatives around equity and empowerment of diverse groups, in particular: women, LGBT, Indigenous Peoples.”

Nancy Peters is a community-based adult educator with a commitment to social justice and inclusion. She completed her Doctorate at the University of Saskatchewan in 2008. Her doctoral thesis is entitled: Learning for More Just Relationships: A narrative inquiry of transformation in white settlers. She has worked as a Program Associate with the Coady International Institute. She is a recipient of a Canadian International Development Association Award for Canadians, the John Dobson Award for Community-based Research, and a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRCC) fellowship recipient.
Thesis: Transformative Gender Education: Seeing the world through women’s eyes


Erin Stewart - Dean of Professional, Applied and Continuing Education

Erin Stewart, an avid lifelong learner, has worked in the field of adult and continuing education for more than 30 years. She is a graduate of the University of Winnipeg, the Sorbonne, and St. Francis Xavier University. She also completed a certificate in counseling at the University of Manitoba. Erin is a skilled facilitator and administrator with expertise in the areas of adult education, interpersonal communication, and human resiliency. Erin is Dean of Professional, Applied and Continuing Education at the University of Winnipeg.


Helen Symons
Field: Community College – Health Field

“As someone who is constantly striving to maintain balance in my life, the self-directed distance education program was a great fit, as it allowed the flexibility of tailoring course content to topics I was particularly interested in while satisfying my career demands.”

Helen has 31 years of experience as a dental hygienist, and for the past 16 years she has worked as a teacher in the Dental Hygiene Program at Fanshawe College in London, Ontario. This position has given her the opportunity to support students in becoming oral health care providers and advocates. She is responsible for curriculum development, course implementation and overseeing students in clinical activities. Helen's research paper, Critical thinking in dental hygiene education: Examining student perception was selected for the 2015 Canadian Association for the Study of Adult Education conference.
Research Project: Critical thinking in dental hygiene education: Examining student perception.


Joram Tarusarira
Field: Conflict, Peace and Reconciliation Studies

“The Master of Adult Education program is a holistic program driven by a knowledgeable team that takes its work as a vocation. If one is seeking an education program of study that is intellectually satisfying as well as personally transforming, then the Master of Adult Education is the program.”

Joram is currently a Volkswagen Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow awarded via the University of Frankfurt, Centre for Interdisciplinary African Studies. He completed his doctorate at the University of Leipzig in Germany. His dissertation is titled, Religio-political non-conformism, democratization and reconciliation in Zimbabwe. After completion of the Master of Adult Education program at St. FX, Joram became the Head of Department of Civic and Development Education at Silveira House in Zimbabwe. He worked as lead consultant for a project with the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace, to develop a National Peace, Healing and Reconciliation Policy Framework in Zimbabwe. Joram also worked as Project Coordinator at Jena Center for Reconciliation Studies, Friedrich-Schiller University Jena in Germany. He also completed a Master of Philosophy in Reconciliation Studies at Trinity College Dublin. Joram has been published in numerous academic journals and books. His own book titled 'Reconciliation and religio-political non-Conformism in Zimbabwe' will be published in 2016. He has presented his work in Germany, Northern Ireland, Sweden, Switzerland and Zimbabwe. Joram is now Assistant Professor - Religion, Conflict and Peacebuilding at Groningen University, The Netherlands.
Research project: After conflict in Zimbabwe: Determining reconciliation needs.


Sherry Thomson
Field: Management and Human Resources

“The Master of Adult Education program helped me to discover who I am as an adult educator and a leader...I integrate my adult education practice into my various leadership roles including the organization where I work as the executive member responsible for Human Resources, my volunteer activities and my role as a parent.”

Sherry is the Chief Human Resources Officer for New Brunswick Power. She is responsible for human resources, corporate health and safety, change leadership and First Nations Affairs. Sherry has held positions of increasing responsibility in operations and corporate departments at New Brunswick Power including Generation, Human Resources, Business Information Systems and Finance. Prior to her current role, she was Vice President Customer Service & Distribution with overall responsibility for the operation and maintenance of the distribution system, as well as provision of standard service to customers in New Brunswick, Canada
Research Project: Facilitating authentic leadership: Using action research to determine the effectiveness of a leadership development program in the growth and transformation of leaders in a small power utility.


Elizabeth Townsend - Director of the UPEI Centre for Education Research

The SFX M.Ad.Ed opened so many doors for me. When I enrolled I was working in a community mental health centre and living on a farm in PEI. Distance education was my only option to move forward, and Teresa MacNeil was a great supervisor to enable me to succeed. To start, with this degree I landed a faculty position at Dalhousie as a founder of the Atlantic School of Occupational Therapy. Not only was I able to use the M.Ad.Ed for admission to a Dalhousie PhD in Education but it gave me enough research background to successfully achieve tenure and promotion to Associate Professor, given that occupational therapy faculty at that time were still evolving with masters degrees. With the M.Ad.Ed. from SFX and a PhD in Education from Dalhousie, I finished a 28 year career at Dalhousie as Professor Emerita. I now offer my adult education background as Director of the UPEI Centre for Education Research, bringing perspectives that link health and education especially around issues of enabling equity and justice when people with mental health issues need support from integrated programs that cross the education, health and other 'silos' of today's institutions.


Charles Wright
Field: Community Development - Indigenous Rights

“Albeit rewarding, my learning through the 5 years in the program has also been unsettling as I dug deeper into the history of colonialism, engaged with the work of anti-colonial writers and activists, and reflected on the responsibilities I carry as a settler on Turtle Island.”

Charles graduated from the Master of Adult Education program in 2015. His studies focused on radical adult education and social movement learning. Charles sought to understand how a particular social movement organization, Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT), draws individuals into the work of decolonization and radical peacemaking. This involved participation in a delegation to Treaty #3 territory of Northwestern Ontario as well as interviews with ten individuals to explore the learning of participants about the struggles of the Anishnaabe people in Kenora and Grassy Narrows First Nation.
Thesis: Solidarity, allies, and social movement learning: Exploring the learning of delegates to northwestern Ontario.