June 9, 2020

2020 Teaching Awards recognize excellence in teaching

UCalgary Teaching Awards recipients announced – Part 2

We are excited to announce the recipients of the 2020 University of Calgary Teaching Awards. This is the second of three stories honouring this year's recipients.

The University of Calgary Teaching Awards recognize outstanding contributions to teaching and learning by individuals and teams, in categories including educational leadership, curriculum development, teaching online, team teaching and graduate supervision. The 2020 awards program received 54 nominations and has 20 award recipients.

As an initiative supported by Provost and Vice-President (Academic) Dru Marshall, the awards are as rigorous as they are prestigious. The Teaching Awards are determined by 10 adjudication committees comprised of 60 volunteers. Adjudicators are selected to balance academic discipline and gender on the committees. Volunteer adjudicators are asked to attend an orientation session to identify and address risk factors for implicit bias.

With much consideration and to respect physical distancing requirements that are still in place, the 2020 Teaching Award recipients will be recognized through a social media celebration and a series of three articles published on June 8 to 10, 2020. Join the conversation on social media by tagging the Taylor Institute on Twitter (@UCalgary_TI) and using the hashtags #TeachingAwards2020 and #UCalgary.

Please join us in congratulating all recipients of the 2020 University of Calgary Teaching Awards.

A message from Leslie Reid and Natasha Kenny

Award for Non-Academic Staff (Individual) 
Daniel Forgrave, Learning Commons, University of Calgary in Qatar 

As a writing specialist within the University of Calgary in Qatar’s (UCQ) Learning Commons, Daniel Forgrave has played a pivotal role in the development and delivery of UCQ’s academic supports. He provides writing and academic literacy support to students through one-on-one appointments, virtual consultation, and classroom-based workshops and instruction. Both his colleagues and students applaud his commitment to nurturing student success and his ability to create safe learning environments for students from diverse cultural backgrounds. Forgrave led the development of the UCQ Community Poet Series, a program designed to engage students in creative writing as a means of developing academic writing. In addition to his formal role, he was also deeply involved in the creation of a video-based Master of Nursing Peer Mentorship program. However, his impact is most visible through his relationships with his students. As one person said, “His simple words of positive affirmation saying, ‘Yes, you can do it!’ increased my confidence in myself.”  

Award for Experiential Learning Initiatives 
Dr. Susan Bennett, PhD, and Dr. Stefania Forlini, PhD, Department of English, Faculty of Arts 

Susan Bennett and Stefania Forlini seek to create opportunities for English literature students to see that their undergraduate work is not limited to the walls of the classroom. They give students the chance to engage in learning that extends into their communities — specifically through the Calgary Public Library — to demonstrate the value of humanities education. Their course, ENGL 520: Community Engagement through Literature, is the first of the Department of English’s planned experiential, community-engaged learning and leadership courses. Bennett and Forlini have become leaders in experiential learning, modelling their experience in ENGL 520 for others at the University of Calgary and at universities across Canada and beyond. Their pedagogical approach highlights for their students (and all who interact with them) the value of their training, while cultivating civic and community engagement as a lifelong commitment. In the words of one of their students, “They go out of their way to craft intellectually stimulating learning, give feedback and promote growth. Their passionate commitment to building meaningful learning experiences changed my life and is worth celebrating.” 

Award for Continuing and Professional Education 
Raymond D. Roque, Continuing Education 

Raymond Roque is passionate about lifelong learning, and teaching and mentoring adults in a post-secondary environment. He believes in creating a welcoming, fun and flexible learning environment that allows students to take ownership of the class, and encourages laughter and positivity through humour, storytelling, sharing inspirational quotes, and using words of encouragement and motivation. Roque teaches courses through three different delivery methods: classroom, online synchronous, and dual (classroom and online synchronous). He believes different types of delivery formats do not have to be a barrier in respecting others and in cultivating an inclusive environment where students feel at ease to ask questions and share ideas. Having played an important role in the development of both the Certificate in Digital Media Design and the Certificate in Integrated Digital Media, Roque has taught more than 900 students in both programs and has successfully mentored eight students who are now working in creative fields in different business sectors.   

Award for Graduate Assistants (Teaching) 
Chelsea Klinke, Department of Anthropology and Archaeology, Faculty of Arts 

Chelsea Klinke’s passion for anthropology and education is rooted in her experience. Her participation in community-based sustainable development projects with Habitat for Humanity and Peace Corps now shapes her teaching philosophy. As a graduate student teaching assistant, she shares her international stories to inspire students in Anthropological Methods 203 and International Development 201. To develop her cross-disciplinary teaching and learning skills, Klinke works as a co-facilitator with the Arctic Institute of North America to teach local second-graders about life in the Arctic, and offers free weekly Spanish language classes to other graduate students. In Klinke’s own words, “My passion for cross-cultural understanding is illustrated in my beliefs and approaches to teaching, where diverse student needs are placed at the forefront of the learning process.” 

Award for Graduate Assistants (Teaching) 
Ganna (Anna) Pletnyova, School of Languages, Linguistics, Literatures and Cultures, Faculty of Arts 

A true polyglot, Anna Pletnyova proficiently speaks Russian, Ukrainian, French, German and English. She has been called upon as a teaching assistant for courses in Russian, French and German, and is the instructor of record for courses in Russian and French. As a speaker of a multitude of languages, she is aware of the various challenges related to language learning and language acquisition, and she understands these challenges not only in theory but also in practice. As a teacher, she highlights her experiences as a learner and demonstrates to her students that she empathizes with them as fellow second-language learners. She regularly serves as a mentor to incoming graduate students, and attaches particular importance to student-centred learning, empathy and inclusivity, and responsible teaching and learning. Pletnyova’s mentorship goes beyond her home discipline. From 2015-18, she served as a learning technology coach, providing support to faculty members who were struggling with educational technologies. Her supervisor notes, “She engages and motivates in a seemingly effortless fashion.” 

Award for Graduate Assistants (Teaching) 
Marissa L. Clapson, Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science 

Marissa Clapson’s students and peers describe her as dedicated, creative, welcoming and engaging. Clapson amplifies her students’ learning experience through gamification, using teaching tools like ChemEscape – Battle Boxes, where students use hands-on experimentation and course theory application to decipher codes corresponding to combination locks on a unit. She further adapted ChemEscape at the 2019 Beakerhead, where more than 6,000 external community members completed the activities. She has presented her work at the University of Calgary Conference on Post-secondary Learning and Teaching, the Canadian Society for Chemistry Conference, and participated in the SAGES Teaching Scholars Program from 2017-18. Clapson believes that as a learner herself, she is more readily able to relate to her students and can put herself in their shoes. Keeping the learner perspective at the core of her teaching philosophy has allowed Clapson to develop meaningful and effective teaching practices and strategies.

For a full list of current and past Teaching Awards recipients, please visit our website.