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Vern Barrett

Clarence Atchison Award for Excellence in Community Service


Vern Barrett

B.Sc. (Hons.), MSc, BEd, MEd

Vern Barrett is known as a respected teacher and consummate professional. He is also renowned as a pioneer, visionary, and internationally-recognized leader in the design and implementation of Service Learning Curriculum: an education program at UWinnipeg that integrates meaningful community service with teaching. For Barrett, Service Learning is both a personal and an educational philosophy.

As a mentor, he instils a passion for community service in students, while similarly inspiring his colleagues. Barrett’s vision of Service Learning is now entrenched in the Faculty of Education at UWinnipeg: a required course for first-year students reflects the importance and relevance of the concept, and an advanced-level option is available to students who want to extend their Service Learning experience.

Barrett believes that the less-advantaged deserve support. Through this program, over 1,400 education students have served more than 56,000 hours of community service in the Winnipeg area. The experience has impacted their own lives as well as the lives of those they served.

Barrett is acknowledged for his collaborative and supportive presence among the faculty and community agency partners. In fact, his mantra is “get it done together” and he ensures that each of his students is afforded the best educational experience possible.

Barrett also designed and implemented an international practicum in Germany which involves teaching English to Turkish immigrants who are marginalized in German society. He took a team of education students from The University of Winnipeg to work within this program in April 2011 and 2012.

Barrett volunteers extensively with the Huntington Society of Canada (HSC). His service spans four decades — on both a local and national level — and he has earned several awards for his commitment. These include the HSC’s Ralph and Ariel Walker Founders Award as well as the Milestone award for Communication, the Science Teachers’ Association of Manitoba Science Achievement Award, and the Sci-Trek’94 exposition Mission Control Award.