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Blazing a trail in Aboriginal studies

When it comes to courses in Aboriginal studies at Queen’s University, many of the paths, both past and present, lead to Bob Lovelace (Global Development Studies).

The originator of on-campus, blended and online courses, as well as playing an advisory role in the creation of the new Indigenous Studies Minor, Mr. Lovelace is the founding manager for the Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre and, with others, an initiator of the Annual Aboriginal Studies Symposium at Queen’s.

[Bob Lovelace]
Bob Lovelace (Global Development Studies) is the 2016 recipient of the Educational Leadership Award, one of six Principal's Teaching and Learning Awards. (Supplied Photo) 

For playing a leading role in teaching, mentoring, and building the profile of Indigenous issues for more than 20 years, Mr. Lovelace received the 2016 Educational Leadership Award, one of the six Principal’s Teaching and Learning Awards.

In receiving feedback from students for the course he teaches, Mr. Lovelace finds it encouraging to hear that they have not only gained more knowledge about Aboriginal history and culture but about themselves as well.

“The best thing that I hear is that when students take an Aboriginal studies course they are really challenged because this is not like most courses,” he says. “With Aboriginal studies there are a lot of preconceived notions about Aboriginal people. There are a lot of stereotypes about Aboriginal people and their circumstances, and a lot of that is challenged for students. So the best thing that I hear when students take one of these courses is they say ‘You know, I learned a lot about Aboriginal people that I didn’t know, but I also learned a lot about myself and because of that I am actually a better Canadian.’”

During his time at Queen’s, Mr. Lovelace has developed two on-campus courses – Introduction to Aboriginal Studies (DEVS 220) and Topics in Aboriginal Studies (DEVS 221) –  as well as Re-Indigenization of People and Environments (DEVS 480), a highly-innovative experiential course that blends online learning, in-class preparation and land-based pedagogy, involving two weeks of living on the land.

DEVS 220 and DEVS 221 are also required elements for the Indigenous Studies Minor. The commitment and interest he has witnessed in the students taking the minor are encouraging, Mr. Lovelace adds.

“I work with a lot of the students involved in taking the minor and it is something that they really wanted, not just because it’s going to get them ahead in the world but because it says something about their character, says something about their ability to try to understand the world they live in better,” he says. “They’re really diligent and I guess that’s the thing that really impressed me, that the students who take the minor and the courses are really diligent about getting what they can out of it.”

The Principal’s Teaching and Learning Awards, created in 2015, recognize individuals and teams who have shown exceptional innovation and leadership in teaching and learning on campus. The awards are administered by the Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL).

The Educational Leadership Award acknowledges and celebrates exemplary educational leadership of a faculty member, staff member or student, demonstrated through initiatives that have a significant and positive impact on teaching and learning at a departmental, faculty, student and/or institutional level.

Nominations for the 2017 award are currently being accepted. All nominations should be sent electronically in PDF form to ctl@queensu.ca no later than Tuesday, Aug. 1, by 4 pm. For more information about the award and the nomination form and process, visit the CTL website.