From getting the principal to tweet to his students just before an examand broadcasting live webinars to help students prepare for tests, Department of Psychology instructor Steve Lamontagne does whatever it takes to inspire his students.
“I try to switch things up from the norm and find anything to get students excited,” says Mr. Lamontagne, Artsci’15, MSc’17, PhD’21. “If they are enthusiastic and engaged, they will ultimately do better.”
His unwavering dedication to his students is the reason Mr. Lamontagne is receiving the Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching, which is presented annually to a Queen’s instructor who shows outstanding knowledge, teaching ability, and accessibility to students. The honour is given annually by the Queen’s University Alumni Association (QUAA) and will be presented at the Awards Gala in Ban Righ Hall on April 6.
Mr. Lamontagne, who is currently completing his PhD at Queen’s, teaches both online and in the classroom. Rather than using a traditional lecture format to relay information to students, Mr. Lamontagne focuses on issues to create learning opportunities. For Bell Let’s Talk Day, for instance, he had students look up peer-reviewed research to create infographics about mental health stigma to be shared on their social media accounts.
Motivating his online students requires Mr. Lamontagne to use a teaching style that creates a sense of community. He frequently posts course-related articles and gives feedback in the online class forum. When students email him with a question, he replies within hours with detailed answers.
“It can be especially challenging for a student sitting behind a computer by themselves away from campus,” says Mr. Lamontagne. “If I join online discussions and reply quickly to questions, it helps them feel connected and less isolated.”
Many of Mr. Lamontagne’s students wrote letters in support of the nomination describing their teacher as exceptionally knowledgeable, dedicated to his students, and a devoted educator.
Student Luke Bertolucci, Artsci’20, felt overwhelmed when he started his PSYC235 class but soon started to excel thanks to Mr. Lamontagne’s interactive lessons and assignments.
“I never thought I’d have this much fun in a course, but through Mr. Lamontagne’s passion and encouragement my knowledge and desire to work in the field of psychology has increased immensely,” he says.
Mr. Lamontagne is humbled by the large number of his students who wrote letters in support of his nomination.
Learn how to nominate an outstanding instructor for this award.