“History has not been kind to our individuals and families living with and supporting disabilities such as Autism Spectrum Disorder,” reflects alumna Dr. Kimberly Maich, now serving as an associate professor in the faculty of education at Memorial University in St. John’s, Newfoundland. “The present is often unkind to those with disabilities as well, though we would like to think this is not so… By devoting myself to the study of disability and practice of inclusive education, I believe that I am honouring my brothers and sisters so easily thought of (with very little critical thought involved) as being ‘the least.’ By recognizing, supporting and celebrating the very real differences to learning and development present in all of humanity, I believe that I am helping to build a path that will allow all members to rejoice together.”
Early in her career, Maich had a specialized interest in special education but it wasn’t until her oldest son was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder that she changed her focus to autism and behavioural sciences. Following the diagnosis, Maich and her family moved from Newfoundland back to Ontario, seeking additional support for her son’s developmental disabilities and mental health.
“I believe that I am honouring my brothers and sisters so easily thought of as being ‘the least.’”
In Ontario, Maich took on teaching positions at a number of public schools and colleges and universities including Redeemer, Tyndale University College, Nipissing University, Fanshawe College and Brock University. She had also gotten her start in education in the province. Maich completed a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Guelph in 1991 and continued her studies with a Bachelor of Christian Education at Redeemer. Maich and her husband lived on campus with their first-born son, notably the first child born in the then-new married residence. The couple both graduated from Redeemer in 1993.
She has since earned an impressive array of graduate degrees including three master’s degrees: a master of education with a focus on teaching and learning for exceptionalities, a master of disability studies and a master of education in counselling psychology. Maich also holds a PhD in educational studies.
While studying, teaching and living in communities from Vancouver, BC to St. Anthony, Newfoundland, Maich has shared her expertise as a special education specialist, a certified teacher, a registered psychologist (provisional) and Newfoundland and Labrador’s first board-certified behaviour analyst.
Known to be a diligent mentor to her MA and PhD students and described by her peers as a servant leader, Dr. Kimberly Maich has built an expansive career speaking, researching and teaching both nationally and internationally. Dr. Maich’s prolific research career is making a deep impact in the world of education. She holds over $600,000 in competitive research funding for 2019. She also has 19 publications either already published, in press or submitted for publication this year alone. “These numbers represent a growing capacity to support research and training for our educators and clinicians,” said Maich, “which, in turn, supports our families and schools who have children and students with Autism Spectrum Disorder.”
For these reasons among many, Maich has been named Redeemer’s 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient. “The members of the Department of Education cannot think of any other Education student from Redeemer who has accomplished so much since graduation in the field of education,” summed Dr. Christina Belcher, who nominated Maich for the award and serves as chair of Redeemer’s Department of Education. “We feel she deserves this award and we applaud her work in her field of specialization as she serves the Lord and pioneers new processes to assist students with special needs.”
Dr. Maich loves the work she does, and her passion is evident in her accomplishments and her perspective on inclusive education. “I believe that all of humanity has been fearfully and wonderfully knit together by God in the image and likeness of our Creator. Therefore, all of humanity should be served by those committed to the interwoven callings of service, education and advocacy,” she says. “This is my calling.”
A reception on October 10, 2019 will celebrate Dr. Maich’s career and the contributions she is making at Memorial University and in the international education community.