Debbie Schnitzer

Debbie Schnitzer Title: Professor Emerita


BA (Hons), MA, PhD

Dr. Deborah Schnitzer has served her discipline, her department, and The University of Winnipeg with great distinction and compassion for more than a quarter century. Her distinguished record of research and scholarship has focused on art-based modes of representation involving multi-and interdisciplinary work. She is a legendary professor among her students and colleagues for her enthusiasm, energy, writing and love of teaching.

Schnitzer’s interests in activism, scholarship, course design and community-based learning have led to her creating The Institute for Literacy & Transformative Learning. As founder and past director of the institute she was able to create an interdisciplinary program that integrates theory and practice, involving students in organizations and programs concerned with access, inclusivity, social justice, human rights, peacemaking and creative freedom.

In developing the institute, Schnitzer partnered with university and community members to explore collaborative and cooperative teaching, research and learning models. Drawing strength from diversity, the institute successfully integrated scholarship and activism with the help of participants’ varied experiences, learning styles and practices.

Schnitzer also co-founded UWinnipeg’s Experiential Learning Initiatives Network, which along with The Institute for Literacy & Transformative Learning, became core elements of UWinnipeg’s community engagement.

Schnitzer is a beloved teacher who has received several teaching awards on and off campus. She earned the prestigious 3M National Teaching Fellowship and UWinnipeg’s Clifford J. Robson Memorial Award for Excellence in Teaching. Schnitzer has also earned several writing accolades which include the 2010 Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction for her book An Unexpected Break in the Weather. She also received the 2011 Grand Remi Award for Best Experimental Film & Video with her colleague Shelagh Carter. She has collaborated on many other film projects that have been seen around the world.

Schnitzer’s innovative teaching methods — which reveal links between literature and other arts and between the academy and the community — have continued beyond her retirement; she continues to challenge boundaries and inspire those around her: both students and colleagues.

The University of Winnipeg honours Dr. Deborah Schnitzer as Professor Emerita.