This article appeared in its original form on the Education News Canada website.
The recipients of the 2022 Principal’s Teaching and Learning Awards have been announced, recognizing excellence demonstrated by educators at Queen’s.
Administered by the Centre for Teaching and Learning, the criteria include student support, curriculum development, promotion of inquiry, international innovation, and educational leadership.
“With our new strategy, we are actively engaging in ways Queen’s can maximize its impact in the world and teaching and learning is integral to this,” says Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane. “We are now emerging from a period in which teaching and learning has faced very serious challenges and this is all the more reason to look to the future with optimism. The Principal’s Teaching and Learning Awards honour our colleagues in a range of areas exemplifying a commitment to making an impact through the classroom and beyond.”
Promoting Student Inquiry Teaching Award
Lisa F. Carver
Dr. Carver is an assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences, where she promotes active learning through student-led group work. In her biohacking and gerontechnology course, Dr. Carver provides students with assignments that are varied and practical, taking on the formats of event proposals, infographics, public health advertisements, blog posts, and articles. The applicability of the course is taken a step further when students interview friends and family on topics discussed in class. A particularly noteworthy portion of the course is when students create an avatar of an older version of themselves, making the students understand the impacts of aging on a more personal level. Dr. Carver encourages a diverse and open environment, drawing students from different programs, nationalities, races, and cultures.
Educational Technology Award
As an assistant professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering, Dr. Hungler noticed that his students had a gap in knowledge when it came to the fundamentals of coding and electrical systems needed to succeed in an ever-evolving industry. In response, he designed the first course in the program’s new energy and conversion design spine which teaches students key aspects about electrical circuits, electronics, and analytical chemistry instrument design. By introducing concepts in a one-hour lecture then allowing students to work together in three-hour active learning sessions, the knowledge gap is closing. Dr. Hungler maintained the experiential learning aspect of the course through the pandemic and a shift to online learning. Exemplifying his innovative teaching style, Dr. Hungler provides a capstone project where students use virtual reality to work collaboratively in a chemical processing plant during a malfunction.
Educational Leadership Award
An associate professor in the Faculty of Education, Johnston is an agent of change in the Art-in-Education sector. She has provided guidance for the Artist-in-Community Education for nearly two decades, which prepares practicing artists in a multitude of disciplines to become educators. Johnston has brought in guest experts from art institutions around the world, allowing her students to gain international experience. Through the marriage of program objectives with local and international community art initiatives, she provides students with an understanding of community arts and education at all levels. Johnston emphasizes the importance of keeping learning fun and engaging and demonstrates this by donning a tiara for Zoom lectures or having students hurl Shakespearean insults at each other.
Curriculum Development Award
Online Learning Development Team: Heather Macfarlane, Anna Marie Sewell, Laura Shannon, Katie Hunt, Kathleen Waterston, and Fenton Isaacs
Dr. Macfarlane and team members Sewell, Shannon, Dr. Hunt, Waterson and Isaacs have created a course that elevates the perspectives and voices of Métis, Inuit, and First Nations authors. Introduction to Indigenous Literatures in Canada enables students to think critically about literacy from Indigenous perspectives through the study of novels, short stories, poetry, film, music, and fine arts. Dr. Macfarlane has created a safe, inclusive learning environment that fosters dialogue between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students. Through weekly book club chats, students interact with Indigenous authors, brainstorm ideas, and discuss concepts to further their understanding and overall educational experience.
International Education Innovation Award
Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program: Heather Aldersey and Solomon Mekonnen Abebe
Dr. Aldersey and Dr. Mekonnen co-lead the partnership between Queen’s and the University of Gondar in Ethiopia. Starting in 2017, this partnership aims to advance global understanding of disabilities and innovative community-based responses. Administered at Queen’s by the International Centre for the Advancement of Community-Based Education, the program embodies cultural humility, bi-directional learning and respectful relationships. The goal of the program is to provide a cohort of leaders with knowledge and skills related to disability to support social transformation and economic growth in East Africa. The program exemplifies Queen’s deep relational work, showing how expertise in educational leadership in a broad range of disciplines can improve both student learning and individual lives.
Indigenous Education Award
Dr. Pedri-Spade, an associate professor in Global Development Studies and Queen’s National Scholar in Indigenous Studies, is aware of students’ differences when it comes to learning styles. She creates a warm, inviting learning environment where students are asked for their input on evaluation methods and are empowered to become equal partners in the learning process. Dr. Pedri-Spade encourages students to submit assignments as creative pieces, through spoken word, poetry, or a collage. Students also benefit from Dr. Pedri-Spade inviting Indigenous scholars from across Canada to share their perspectives in the virtual classroom. This exemplifies her emphasis on presenting diverse Indigenous worldviews, helping students to see both commonalities and differences. Dr. Pedri-Spade’s assistance in the production of a film that brought together intergenerational survivors of Indian Residential schools provides a valuable learning tool that demonstrates their perseverance and determination.