Awards highlight teaching achievements
By Wanda Praamsma, Communications Officer
Professor Anne Godlewska says her first glimpse into what it means to be a great teacher came when she was a little girl. Her grandmother, who was well educated and very well read, taught her history, geography, anthropology and many other subjects.
“It was such a one-on-one thing, and it was so powerful because I knew she cared about me,” says Dr. Godlewska, who teaches geography at Queen’s. “That is why I am interested in how students learn and strive to retain a personal relationship with them even as our class sizes grow.”
Concerned with turning students into active life-long learners, she has spent some time investigating what works in her teaching, what knowledge is important, how students create knowledge, and the changing role of universities.
This week, Dr. Godlewska was recognized for her outstanding achievements in teaching, winning the Chancellor A. Charles Baillie Teaching Award for her significant influence on the quality of student learning at Queen’s. She was one of many celebrated at a ceremony acknowledging the innovative efforts and contributions of Queen’s professors and instructors in the classroom.
“With these awards, we honour the amazing and forward-thinking teaching accomplishments across campus,” says Jill Scott, Vice-Provost, Teaching and Learning. “Queen’s strives to be a balanced academy, placing great importance on both teaching and research. This is a time to celebrate the teaching side, and the great impact it has on students’ education.”
Paul Treitz, Professor and Head of the Department of Geography, nominated Dr. Godlewska and noted particularly her dedication to revamping Geography 101 into a blended online/in-class learning experience, but also her commitment to enhancing engagement in any course she teaches.
“It’s an honour to win this award but in accepting it, I would really like to recognize all the incredible teachers there are at this university. There are so many professors and instructors who deserve recognition,” says Dr. Godlewska.
Cory Laverty, Head of the Education Library and a Teaching and Learning Specialist at Queen’s, also shares Dr. Godlewska’s passion about the one-on-one personal experience that so influences a student’s education. Dr. Laverty provided the opening address of teaching reflections at the Teaching Awards reception. She was honoured this year with the prestigious Academic Librarianship Award this fall from the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations for her outstanding contributions as an academic librarian, supporting graduate and undergraduate students, as well as faculty, and making the Education Library a hugely important, accessible and technologically up-to-date resource.
When she works one-on-one with students to further their research, Dr. Laverty always has several questions in mind, but two important ones centre on how to make the project personal for the student, allowing them to delve deeper, and how to inspire them both in their subject of interest but also in their approach to doing research.
“It’s very creative work. When doing research, you often don’t know what you don’t know until you start talking to someone. That’s the role of librarians, and when students get to know them, the learning experience becomes much more rich and rewarding,” says Dr. Laverty.
Every year, Dr. Laverty and Queen's librarians hold hundreds of workshops that focus on research, further developing information literacy skills, and the use of information tools and technologies. She is also a member of the Queen’s Library Teaching and Learning Working Group, investigating how librarians can better support the development of student research abilities.