Image of Megan Ingram

Megan Ingram

Professor, Teaching Assistant


School of Kinesiology and Health Studies

Megan went above and beyond in our classroom. She was very understanding of everyone and never judged someone based on their academic skills or potential late assignments. Megan personally scheduled a call with me to check up; followed by multiple emails making sure I was doing okay and helping me with term work.

Megan always includes a break within her classes, incorporates fun social activities, and always stays after tutorials to answer questions or even just to chat. She also always provides mental health resources in her slides, as well as her weekly emails that relate to the content we are learning about. She caters to her student's individual needs and leads by example allowing her students to make mistakes, and encouraging them to use the opportunity to learn.

Megan is more than just a TA, she's a mentor who motivates her students to accomplish great things. She is understanding of everyone's circumstances, ensures any disabilities are accurately accommodated, and always has a smile on her face. Her effort is shown in each of her classes!

Megan is one of the most supportive professors I have because she is understanding and accommodating. Megan never needs an explanation, just open communication so she can support you in your academics and mental health. Megan is always "just an email away" as she would say. Her teaching style sticks out to me because of her kindness and genuine attitude towards the care she has for her students. If anyone should receive an award as such, it's Megan.

Anonymous Students

Mental health is a dynamic and deeply social experience that is inherently tied up in systemic oppression and the use of ableism and sanism as tools of cisheteropatriarchy, white supremacy, and colonialism. Mental health to me then, is a system of community care and orientation towards collective liberation that emerges from these systemic struggles. It is support, care, empathy, and a desire to connect with others beyond the normative bounds of wellness culture. Therefore, while caring for one's mental health can look like individual care practices, it can also look like engaging in practices beyond neoliberalism and individualism and carving out space for ourselves and others to exist beyond normative expectations. Ultimately, mental health is not one static "thing" or state of being that one can achieve in a linear trajectory towards progress, but a dynamic, ever-relational action, orientation, and political stance.

While my pedagogical practice has always been oriented towards a holistic understanding of students that builds in considerations of disability, mental health, and neurodivergence from the ground up, I had the absolute pleasure of teaching a course this year that allowed these focuses to move from format into content. In teaching HLTH 404: Global Studies of Social Inclusion, Community Participation, and Mental Health, I had the incredible opportunity to teach my students about Critical Mental Health Studies and also demonstrate to them through praxis that the concepts they were learning were not abstract, but could apply directly to the way we related to each other in the classroom. For me, this includes recognizing my students as whole individuals with expansive lives, of which their academic work, and particularly my course, is just one small part. Decentering the course as the be-all-end-all, and instead recognizing it as just one puzzle piece of their experience, opens up space to reimagine the classroom as a touchpoint for curiosity, care, and safety.

To support this, accommodations, extensions, compassion, and understanding are offered freely, rather than these resources being scarce with a burden of proof that students must achieve. Further, I aim to meet students where they are at, encourage connections across classes, and invite students to "create the project/write the paper they feel they came to University to create." I believe that as educators, mental health and accessibility are imperative to ensuring that students can learn anything in the already deeply fraught, uncomfortable, and pressurized environment of the University. By modelling that other ways of being and thinking are possible, students learn not only content but, practices that will follow them into their future careers and lives.

It feels important to add that crucially, the work of holistic student mental health and safe classroom spaces is constrained not only by limitations on institutional funding and resourcing that undermine stated commitments to student care but also, by the notion that academic rigour is at odds with empathy. The work of 'Champions for Mental Health' can only go so far, without broader support and genuine commitment to shifting, unlearning, and reconstructing these processes.

--- Megan Ingram