Dr. Ethel Gardner, BEd ’84, MEd ’86

Key contributor to Aboriginal language revitalization and Aboriginal education, Ethel Gardner has made a significant impact over the last three decades.

A Stó:lō member of the Skwah First Nation in BC, Gardner has earned four degrees over the course of her academic career, including a Bachelor of Education from the University of British Columbia’s Indigenous Teacher Education Program (NITEP) in 1984 and a Master of Education from UBC’s Ts’‘kel program in 1986.

In her work revitalizing Indigenous languages, Gardner relied largely on technological innovation. She developed an electronic master-apprentice language-learning program that combined human knowledge and computer programming. With three Elders as the program’s first masters, the software helped train future educators to be fluent in Stó:lō Halq’eméylem. The strength of her academic work earned her substantial research grants in her field, including the E-Master-Apprentice Pedagogy for Critically Endangered Languages and the Language Planning for Anishinaabemowin Revitalization in Grand Council Treaty #3.

Gardner has been highly praised for designing innovative teacher education programs. Her training modules make use of computer-assisted instruction, web-based writing and teaching tools, and audiovisual web communication techniques. Educators who have mastered the electronic program are able to coach students remotely.

Gardner has held a number of leadership positions in academia, most recently at the University of Alberta in a lead role with the Canadian Indigenous Languages and Literacy Development Institute in the Faculty of Education. Although retired, Gardner continues to work as an Elder scholar at a number of post-secondary institutions in BC.