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Excellence in teaching and learning

The recipients of the 2020 Principal’s Teaching and Learning Awards have been announced, recognizing excellence in the areas of Indigenous education, educational technology, student support, international innovation, and promoting student inquiry.

Administered by the Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL), the awards are presented to individuals and teams for their innovation and leadership in teaching and learning at Queen’s.

“Excellence in teaching and learning is of primary importance at Queen’s and there is a great deal of dedication and innovative work in support of this goal happening across the university,” says Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane. “I congratulate each of this year’s winners and thank them for their commitment to enhancing and improving the student experience.”

New to the awards list this year is the Principal’s Indigenous Education Award.

The recipients of the 2020 Principal’s Teaching and Learning Awards are:

Principal’s Indigenous Education Award

Lindsay Morcom

A professor in the Faculty of Education, Lindsay Morcom incorporates a teaching and learning approach that is reflective of traditional Indigenous knowledge systems. Throughout her teaching and mentoring of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous teacher candidates, graduate students, and doctoral candidates, she consistently models Indigenous pedagogy, while demonstrating Indigenous ways of knowing and worldview. Additionally, Dr. Morcom is currently the lead on a SSHRC grant using Virtual Reality technology to unite Indigenous children in four schools across Ontario with an artist and an elder to create 3D virtual art in shared virtual reality spaces. She has also participated in and helped to program summer experiences with the Matariki Network, bringing Indigenous students, elders, and instructors together from across Canada, as well Australia, New Zealand and other countries. In addition to her dedication to Indigenous education within a classroom environment, Dr. Morcom has built strong connections to the Indigenous community in the Kingston and surrounding area. With this, she is always looking for opportunities to get her students involved in language programming, community initiatives, ceremonies, and more.

Melanie Howard

As director of the Aboriginal Access to Engineering (AAE) program, Melanie Howard has had a transformational impact on Indigenous education within the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science and at Queen’s. Besides increasing the number of Indigenous students in engineering she has also created a supportive and inclusive environment, increased opportunities for students to learn about and collaborate with Indigenous peoples, and developed outreach activities to promote science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) for Indigenous youth, and educators. Howard also came up with the idea to write a series of ‘We Are Engineers’ comic books to be used in classrooms across Canada. These comics provide role models for Indigenous youth, but are also a means to provide Indigenous and non-Indigenous teachers and students examples of engineering that incorporates Indigenous culture into the learnings. One of the major challenges Howard has faced, and overcome, is how to teach Indigenous students about STEM topics. She has worked extensively to develop effective strategies that both reflect Indigenous worldviews and approaches to teaching and learning, while tying those approaches to STEM topics.

Principal’s Educational Technology Award

Ryan Martin

Ryan Martin, a professor in the Department of Physics, Engineering Physics and Astronomy, saw a need for in-class response systems, also known as clickers, that can be used in his teaching. This active learning technique enables students to actively think about the material being taught and to initiate group and class discussions during lectures. Dr. Martin decided to develop his own solution and enlisted the help of a group of students in the School of Computing to create a prototype. The result is Qlicker, a web-based application that is open source and free for anyone to use. The application is easy to use for both faculty and students, requiring only a device that can run a web browser. Qlicker was first used in 2017-2018 in the PHYS 104/106 class, and a few other smaller courses, and has continued to be developed. Qlicker also includes a searchable library of questions, and students can contribute questions for professors to use or for other students to use as practice. In 2019, Dr. Martin worked with Centre for Teaching and Learning and IT Services to deploy Qlicker on ITS servers, where it is now available to the entire Queen’s community.

Principal’s Promoting Student Inquiry Award

Una D’Elia

A professor in the Department of Art History and Art Conservation, Una D’Elia created ARTH 485: A Social and Material History of Italian Renaissance Sculpture/ARTH 840: Studies in Italian Renaissance Art: A Material History of Italian Renaissance Sculpture, an innovative and intensive seminar for advanced undergraduate and master’s students, which demands original research gleaned from diverse range of print, digital, and material sources. First, to enhance and deepen their understanding of the 16th century, students experimented with materials in the classroom, the Art Conservation lab, and a contemporary artist’s studio. They then debated their findings and, through a series of guided discussions, collaboratively determined how best to make their research accessible in an online exhibition. All of this intensive independent and collaborative research culminated in an online virtual exhibition, Locating the Materials of Italian Renaissance Sculpture. Written assignments, discussed beforehand and afterwards in class, allowed students to move from visual analysis of works to the final exhibition. Students wrote brief project proposals, which outlined the questions that were to guide their research, the methods and sources they would use to answer those questions, and obstacles to their work. At each stage, Dr. D’Elia offered written responses and suggestions to students individually, then raised the issues for class discussion.

Principal’s International Education Innovation Award

Jennifer Ruth Hosek

In support of Queen’s University’s vision of internationalization, Jennifer Ruth Hosek, a professor in the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, designed a student-to-student language exchange web platform called LinguaeLive.ca, which she has now managed and fostered for over a decade. Based on evidence from existing scholarship and on her experience using it in her own classroom, Dr. Hosek’s peer-to-peer telecollaboration tool has had a demonstrable impact on supporting students who are developing communicative competencies in learning languages. This one-of-a-kind tool is available for all to use to enhance international collaboration in fostering language, culture, and intercultural competency globally. LinguaeLive enables students around the world to safely collaborate with each other to learn their peers' language and to teach their peers their own language. LinguaeLive also allows equitable internationalization at a very low cost. Due to travel restrictions, as we see with the COVID-19 pandemic, students have fewer opportunities for studying abroad. By working with peers around the globe in an expanded classroom and under the supervision of professional instructors through LinguaeLive, students are developing themselves as global citizens, learning about the world, others, and themselves.

Mike Condra Outstanding Student Service Award

Joan Jones

During her 25-year career at Queen’s, Joan Jones has served in a unique capacity to support students living in the Kingston community. As Student Community Relations Coordinator,she has made a significant contribution to the campus community through assisting thousands of students in responding to a range of issues that can arise in what can be a very important element of their Queen’s experience – their living environment. Working with student input, Jones has developed housemate-selection and house-hunting resources, a housemate agreement template, and tip sheets for managing household conflict. She has also spent time every year giving talks to first-year students about the importance of carefully considering plans for second-year housing and understanding all of the factors that should be assessed before making decisions about housemates and where to live. She has an encyclopedic knowledge of provincial and municipal housing legislation, regulations and standards, and has developed and maintained several resources to help students advocate for themselves and protect themselves. Ms. Jones is matter-of-fact and a straightforward speaker, while still being compassionate and empathetic. It is clear that the one-on-one support she has provided to students throughout her time at Queen’s has made a significant difference in their lives and their overall success.