The University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA) has named College of Education professor Lisa Kensler as one of its “Hidden Figures — behind-the-scenes giants in the field whose work cannot be ignored.” She was recently presented the award at the organization’s annual banquet at the Space Center in Houston.
The award was established to identify leaders like Kensler who are considered foundational scholars and trailblazers who have broken barriers, disrupted the status quo, and opened doors in educational leadership and policy.
In the words of the awards committee, Kensler is “viewed as one of our council of elders who provide wisdom, guiding strength, and love, and serve with joy, enthusiasm, and excellence expecting nothing in return. Your influence on today’s rising scholars is evident, and your research embraces key aspects of UCEA’s mission to promote rigorous research, improve professional development of educational leaders, and influence educational policy. Simply put, you are the embodiment of what it means to be revolutionary!”
Kensler, who is an Emily R. and Gerald S. Leischuck Endowed Professor in the college, serves in the Department of Educational Foundations, Leadership, and Technology. Her research explores the leadership and learning required for deep change across PK-12 schools. She is also an expert in the area of sustainable schools, and author of a book on the subject.
In her acceptance speech, Kensler thanks UCEA’s “vibrant learning community,” and specifically mentioned three mentors and collaborators, in addition to her Auburn colleagues: Diana Pounder, Megan Tschannen-Moran, and Cynthia Uline. “Together,” she said, “we work to disrupt the status quo!”
Kensler stated that industrial models of progress and consumption bring on planned obsolescence, such as phones that self-destruct just before our contracts end and other necessary items that end up being thrown away. Done in the name of progress, Kensler believes that these actions blind us to the mindless destruction of our natural world.
“Disrupting the status quo, for me, is all about restoring our capacity to connect more intentionally, more deeply, with our natural world and with each other. Through that connection we can reinvent our schools, learning, and ultimately how we live on this planet.”
Congratulations Dr. Kensler!