Colleen Kawalilak

Associate Dean International



Univeristy of Calgary


University of Calgary

Bachelor of General Studies

Athabasca University

Contact information


Office: 403.220.2570


Main Campus : EDT340

Research and Scholarly Activities

Research areas

  • Adult Education
  • Adult Learning
  • Internationalisation, Global Contexts, and Diversity
  • Relational Epistemology
  • Lifelong Learning and Professional Development
  • Dialogue and Organiational Well-being
  • Qualitative Research


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, cross/intercultural competencies and humility, knowledge acquisition, knowledge sharing, and transcending cultural differences to a place of common ground. Dr. Kawalilak's current research focuses on lifelong learning in professional contexts, reflexive practice, work and learning within and across spaces of cultural difference, comparative education, 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 .

Current Projects:

Chair: Internationalization Task Force on Cross-Cultural Competencies (University of Calgary)

Co-Chair: East Africa Regional Council (University of Calgary)

Reflective Practice and Pre-Service Teachers: Teaching Across Borders

Professional Development and Lifelong Learning in Professional Contexts

Comparative Education: Internationalization in Schools/Faculties of Education

Assessing the Effectiveness of Community Service Learning (Study Abroad Programs)


Dr. Kawalilak joined the Werklund School of Education in 2004 after completing her MEd/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)
  • Comparative and International Education Society of Canada (CIESC)
  • 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)
  • International Institute of Social and Economic Sciences (IISES)
  • Alliance for International Education (AIE)


Kawalilak, C., Groen, J., Poitras Pratt, Y., & Danyluk, P. (in press). Navigating a pathway for individual and collective well-being - Academics speak out. Journal of Educational Thought (JET), Special Issue.

Groen, J., & Kawalilak, C. (in press). Reflections on the adult education professoriate in Canada. Season of Change for Professors of Adult Learning. Information Age Publishing.

Kawalilak, C., & Groen, J. (2016). Restorying the present by revisiting the past: Unexpected moments of discovery and illumination through museum learning. Journal of Adult and Continuing Education (JACE), 0(0), 1-16. SAGE.

Kawalilak, C., & Groen, J. (2016). Building bridges not barriers: Adult education and pre-service teacher education. In G. Strohschen & Associates (Ed). The Metagogy Project A Theorem for a Contemporary Adult Education Praxis (pp. 135-153). Atlanta, GA: American Scholars Press.

Groen, J., & Kawalilak, C. (2016). Creating spaces for transformative learning in the workplace. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, 152, 61-71. Jossey-Bass.

Groen, J., & Kawalilak, C. (2014). Pathways and narratives of adult learning in personal, professional, and education contexts. Toronto: Canadian Scholars Press.

Kawalilak, C., & Groen, J. (Eds.). (2014). Adult education within faculty of education contexts [Special Issue]. Canadian Journal for the Study of Adult Education/CJSAE, 26(2). Retrieved from

Groen, J., & Kawalilak, C. (2014). Stepping in and stepping out: Adult educators teaching in a teacher preparation program. Canadian Journal for the Study of Adult Education/CJSAE. 26(2), 47-58. Retrieved from

Kawalilak, C., & Wihak, C. (2013). Adjusting the fulcrum: How prior learning is recognized and regarded in university adult education contexts. College Quarterly, Winter 2013, 16(1). Retrieved from

Kawalilak, C. (Fall, 2012). Navigating the neoliberal terrain: Elder faculty speak out. Workplace, 21, 2-12. Retrieved from

Kawalilak, C., & Paul, J. (Fall, 2011). The schools ain't what they used to be and never was. 21st century schools, learners, and teachers. Northwest Passage: Journal of Educational Practices, 9(2), 170-179. Available from

Kawalilak, C. (2011). An autoethnography of teaching and learning: Experiencing the 'unexpected' through dialogue with Elder colleagues. Proceedings from AERC and CASAE/ACÉÉA Joint Conference, June 10-12, 2011, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Kawalilak, C. (2011). Perspectives from the margins: The effects of neo-liberalism on elder faculty in higher education. Proceedings from the 2011 Seminar of the ESREA Research Network Conference: Between Global and Local/Adult Learning and Development, April 28-30, 2011, Boğaziçi University, İstanbul, Turkey.

Wihak, C., & Kawalilak, C. (April 2011). Honouring the learner? Honouring the curriculum? Proceedings in the 2011 Seminar of the ESREA Research Network Conference: Between Global and Local/Adult Learning and Development, April 28-30, 2011, Boğaziçi University, İstanbul, Turkey.

Kawalilak, C. and Groen, J. (2010). Illuminating the tenure track pathway – A 'new' faculty perspective. Journal of Educational Thought, 44(1) 131-146. University of Calgary Press.