Celebrating outstanding teaching

At the Mount’s 2017 spring convocation, the Senate Committee on Teaching and Learning (SCOTL) announced the recipients of the first-ever Mount Saint Vincent University Teaching Excellence Awards.

Teaching award winners - May 2017
The President and Vice-Presidents’ Advanced Career Teaching Award, the Alumnae Early Career Teaching Award, and the Alumnae Part-Time Teaching Award were presented to Dr. Bohdan Luhovyy (far left), Dr. Danielle Cox (at right) and Prof. David Wilson (centre) respectively.

Dr. Donovan Plumb, the Director of the Teaching and Learning Centre at the Mount, talked about the importance of establishing these awards to recognize teaching excellence.

“The Mount, in particular, is a context that values student learning,” he said. “We’re a strong research university, but where I think we have the most promise in being a distinctive university is in our teaching.”

Dr. Plumb described how the Senate Committee on Teaching and Learning wanted to ensure that all faculty members had a chance to showcase their teaching excellence – including senior and junior full-time faculty as well as part-time faculty.

“Offering these awards not only enables us to celebrate teachers who exhibit these high-impact practices, but also enables us to highlight what those practices are and demonstrate their impact.”
– Donovan Plumb, Director of the Teaching and Learning Centre at the Mount

Thinking about good teaching practice

This year, Mount community members were eligible to nominate a Mount faculty member, librarian or laboratory instructor who they believe demonstrated teaching excellence. The nominations could be submitted by individuals or groups, and invited people to think about what are the best practices for teaching.

“They take a look at our criteria and they learn a bit about ‘Well what is it that makes a teacher a good teacher?’” Plumb pointed out.

Dr. Plumb hopes that these teaching excellence awards also invite students to think about their learning.

“From the perspective of the student, it opens up a conversation to learn more about their own experiences of learning… If they are in a class where they feel that they are engaged and that they are actually learning something, that shifts the purpose of why they’re pursuing an education: to grow and develop as a person.”

Dr. Plumb anticipates that there will be an increase in the nominations in the coming years, as there are many excellent Mount candidates for these awards.

“The people who didn’t win the awards are being encouraged to let their nominations stand for the following year,” he said.

The President and Vice-Presidents’ Advanced Career Teaching Award – Dr. Bohdan Luhovyy

Bohdan LuhovyyDr. Bohdan Luhovyy, a professor in the Applied Human Nutrition Department, was the recipient of the the President and Vice-Presidents’ Advanced Career Teaching Award.

With background in physiology and extensive experience in food research, Dr. Luhovyy adopts a hands-on approach in the classroom, inviting students to smell, taste and touch the ingredients and food they study.

“It’s not enough to go into his class and learn theory; he brings food in and makes you taste it, and cooks it in different ways to show you the impact on it,” Dr. Plumb remarked.

The Alumnae Early Career Teaching Award – Dr. Danielle Cox

Danielle Cox2Dr. Danielle Cox, who received her Bachelor of Science from the Mount in 2007, is striving for excellence early on in her teaching career in the Mathematics Department as the recipient of the Alumnae Early Career Teaching Award.

Dr. Cox is very familiar with the feeling among some that they can’t do math, having experienced math anxiety herself at one point. Her approach in the classroom is focused on engaging students by showing them the fun side of math. Dr. Plumb commented how Dr. Cox’s teaching is well-received by her students, “Her students just love her, she’s off the charts in terms of teaching evaluations.”

The Alumnae Part-Time Teaching Award – Prof. David Wilson

David WilsonDavid Wilson was the recipient of the Alumnae Part-Time Teaching Award this year for his teaching in the English Department.

Wilson recently gave a presentation at the Mount on “Teaching the Google Generation” demonstrating how he uses technology in the classroom. Through the use of smartphone apps and the internet, Wilson is able to connect with his students on a deeper level, and engage them in higher-level critical thinking and information processing.

Wilson describes his classes as interactive, “My approach in both the real and virtual classroom is to provide a positive and challenging learning environment for students.”

Congratulations to the recipients of these inaugural awards!