June 10, 2020

Teaching Awards recipients invited to join Teaching Academy

2020 University of Calgary Teaching Awards recipients announced – Part 3

We are excited to announce the recipients of the 2020 University of Calgary Teaching Awards. This is the third of three stories honouring this year's recipients.

The University of Calgary Teaching Awards recognize outstanding contributions to teaching and learning by individuals and teams, in categories including educational leadership, curriculum development, teaching online, team teaching and graduate supervision. The 2020 awards program received 54 nominations and has 20 award recipients. 

As an initiative supported by Provost and Vice-President (Academic) Dru Marshall, the awards are as rigorous as they are prestigious. The Teaching Awards are determined by 10 adjudication committees comprised of 60 volunteers. Adjudicators are selected to balance academic discipline and gender on the committees. Volunteer adjudicators are asked to attend an orientation session to identify and address risk factors for implicit bias. 

With much consideration and to respect physical distancing requirements that are still in place, the 2020 Teaching Award recipients will be recognized through a social media celebration and a series of three articles published on June 8 to 10, 2020. Join the conversation on social media by tagging the Taylor Institute on Twitter (@UCalgary_TI) and using the hashtags #TeachingAwards2020 and #UCalgary. 

Please join us in congratulating all recipients of the 2020 University of Calgary Teaching Awards.

Award for Educational Leadership (Group) 
The Engineering Attributes Project Team (Dr. Kim Johnston, PhD, Robyn Paul, Destiny Dedemus, Dr. Melissa Boyce, PhD), Schulich School of Engineering/ Department of Psychology, Faculty of Arts  

The Engineering Attributes Project is an innovative approach for integrating educational support within the first-year undergraduate engineering program. One of the key elements of the project is the diversity of individuals involved, including an engineering faculty member (Kim Johnston), a psychology faculty member (Melissa Boyce), a graduate student (Robyn Paul) and a staff member (Destiny Dedemus). Together, they created an innovative approach that involved working with instructors to integrate the program into class time. Working across four different first-year engineering courses in fall 2019, they developed and led detailed modules that covered topics providing students with skills such as effective learning strategies, lifelong learning skills and mental wellness awareness. A key philosophy behind the project is the importance of creating a safe space in classrooms for students and to help normalize help-seeking behaviour so students can look for the academic and wellness supports they need early. The team strongly believes that a large part of developing the resilience needed to move through challenging moments in life is in developing a growth mindset. 

Award for Educational Leadership (Individual, Formal) 
Dr. Ebba Kurz, PhD, Cumming School of Medicine 

Ebba Kurz believes that leadership, at its core, is an opportunity to serve. She is the associate dean (undergraduate health and science education) in the Cumming School of Medicine and the director of the O’Brien Centre for the Bachelor of Health Sciences (BHSc) program. With over 15 years of teaching experience, Kurz takes a student-centred approach and sees great value in her mentorship practices with students and colleagues. Her colleagues agree that she has reignited a sense of community among the undergraduate programs in the Cumming School of Medicine. She recently led the BHSc through a realignment of the program’s core inquiry-based curriculum and worked collaboratively with her team to articulate clear and measurable program-level outcomes. Kurz is a champion for experiential learning in the classroom and research domains. She played a pivotal role in enhancing the summer studentship portal by consolidating application and review efforts to support as many students as possible. Kurz feels her capacity to succeed in teaching and leadership roles depends heavily on the strong partnerships she has formed by creating and fostering effective teams. In her own words, “Only with a chorus of voices will we continue to raise the profile and excellence of our academy for the benefit of our students and faculty alike. Leadership is, at its core, an opportunity to serve.” 

Award for Educational Leadership (Individual, Informal) 
Dr. Dora Tam, PhD, Faculty of Social Work  

Dora Tam’s educational leadership has made a significant and sustained impact on learning for students, faculty members and other stakeholders in the Faculty of Social Work. She describes herself as “a researcher with a focus on applying knowledge to our communities” and strives to nurture students to become “intellectual citizens with a global perspective.” Tam initiated and spearheaded the Canada-China Social Innovation Hub to capitalize on and expand the Faculty of Social Work’s capacities in international social work, education, practice and research in China. She has also been central in co-ordinating several academic exchanges and conferences, most notably facilitating the Social Policies and Services for Emerging Social Issues Symposium and the second International Conference on Outreach Work in Hong Kong. Tam is a dedicated teacher, a statement best reflected in the words of a former student, “I consider Dr. Tam to be more than a professor; she has easily become an irreplaceable mentor to me through her passion to inspire a classroom to be practice-prepared social workers.” 

Award for Teaching in Online Environments  
Dr. Gregory Tweedie, PhD, Werklund School of Education  

Gregory Tweedie has been creating rich multimedia learning environments for his students since 2016. He uses different technologies in his teaching practices to enhance his students’ sense of community in online learning. His teaching philosophy stems from his own experience as an online learner. He noticed an absence of interactivity in online learning in both teacher-student and student-student interactions. This experience later shaped his teaching philosophy, asynchronous technology-mediated communication (ATMC). Through ATMC, Tweedie strives “to be a present online instructor, fully maximizing the research-informed affordances of asynchronous video communication to enhance social, cognitive and teaching presence.” Tweedie has taught many online learners studying from diverse off-campus locations as far away as China, Japan and South Korea. These learners can expect personal weekly check-in videos from Tweedie where he records from a different location such as the Olympic Oval or the Taylor Family Digital Library with some interesting facts about the particular location to enhance social presence and to provide a more meaningful way of communication. 

Award for Team Teaching  
Sandra Abegglen, Hal Eagletail, Dr. Graham Livesey, PhD, Dr. Fabian Neuhaus, PhD, School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape 

The School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape (SAPL) fall 2019 term studio team consists of instructors Graham Livesey from the Master of Architecture program, Fabian Neuhaus from the Master of Planning program, Hal Eagletail, a Tsuut’ina Nation Knowledge Keeper, and Sandra Abegglen, an embedded researcher. The studio collaboration with the Tsuut’ina Nation focused on TAZA, a large-scale commercial development and one of the most significant First Nations developments on North American reserve land. The Design Studio allowed students to focus on the specific cross-cultural site with an emphasis on urban design. Students were immersed in assignments to develop new approaches and protocols in design practices with first-hand guidance from Eagletail and input from various Elders, enabling active engagement with First Nation culture. The cross-cultural, interdisciplinary teaching philosophy is a reflection of traditional First Nations knowledge, relational and collaborative practice drawing on complementary strengths and personal and team reflections. 

Award for Sessional Instructors 
Dr. Meredith Brockway, PhD, Faculty of Nursing 

Meredith Brockway’s teaching philosophy is centred around creating a safe and motivating environment for her students to learn. She learns her students’ names quickly, solicits their thoughts and feedback and strives to always maintain a respectful discourse in the classroom. Brockway uses gender-neutral language when addressing students to ensure inclusion, and formally included guidelines in her course outline to welcome student parents with nursing infants into the classroom. During her classes, she makes sure to include at least one learning activity around relatable and fun materials to engage students and to remove the stigma that statistics is hard. She fosters a sense of community in her classes and continues to mentor many of her students after they have completed her class. The depth of her dedication is best reflected in the comments of her students who struggle most with course content. As one former student says, “I achieved a final grade that would not have been possible if it weren’t for Dr. Brockway’s approachable, compassionate and enthusiastic teaching style. Moreover, statistics no longer causes me anxiety or makes me feel inadequate, thanks to a caring professor.”  

Award for Curriculum Development 
Dr. Melissa Boyce, PhD, and Dr. Andrew Szeto, PhD, (Embedded Certificate in Mental Well-being and Resilience), Department of Psychology, Faculty of Arts 

Launched in September 2019, the embedded Certificate in Mental Well-being and Resilience is the first of its kind among North American universities. When first developing the program, Melissa Boyce and Andrew Szeto embarked on an extensive consultation and data collection process from relevant stakeholders on campus to design the certificate curriculum. They engaged in a collaborative curriculum mapping exercise, developing program learning outcomes to align directly with the vision of the Campus Mental Health Strategy. Students enrolled in the program learn how to address and promote mental health and well-being in themselves, others and in the community using evidence-based strategies by immersing themselves in collaborative/team-based, inquiry-based and community-engaged learning experiences. Their nominators applaud Boyce and Szeto’s efforts to create a program that has a meaningful, positive impact on the well-being and resilience of undergraduates on campus saying “The myriad of consultations and sources of data that Melissa and Andrew used to inform the development of this certificate have enabled them to build a curriculum that is authentic, individualized, promotes collaborative learning and inspires student curiosity.”

For a full list of current and past Teaching Awards recipients, please visit our website.

University of Calgary Teaching Academy 

All award recipients are invited to join the University of Calgary Teaching Academy. The purpose of the Teaching Academy is to establish a network of colleagues who can collectively develop teaching and learning expertise at the University of Calgary. This purpose is driven by the following foundational beliefs about the scholarship and practice of teaching: 

  • knowledge and understanding of excellent teaching is informed by research, but driven by practice 
  • teaching expertise is shared across disciplines and across campus 
  • teaching is a developmental skill that can be deliberately strengthened 
  • opportunities for teaching feedback and development need to be offered in a low-risk and encouraging manner.