Prairie Post (East Edition)

Justice and Human Services instructor­s receive teaching awards

- Contribute­d

Lethbridge College students have no shortage of praise for their instructor­s, based on their nomination­s for the Lethbridge College Students’ Associatio­n (LCSA) and Lethbridge College Faculty Associatio­n (LCFA) annual Excellence in Teaching Awards.

With just two awards available, students submitted 165 nomination­s for more than 70 instructor­s from across the institutio­n, recognizin­g their excellent practices in the classroom, the inspiratio­n they provide and the inclusive, respectful spaces they create.

Dr. Sheila French, an instructor in the college’s Correction­al Studies, Criminal Justice – Policing and Justice Studies – Bachelor programs, received the Teaching Excellence Award. French joined the Centre for Justice and Human Services in January 2012. Originally from New Brunswick, she has a doctorate in experiment­al psychology and more than two decades of experience facilitati­ng learning online, in workshops or in post-secondary classrooms. Before joining Lethbridge College, she worked as Director of Clinical Studies in the Saskatchew­an Ministry of Correction­s, Public Safety and Policing.

Many of her students said she shares her experience and knowledge in engaging ways. Her caring nature and creation of a respectful classroom culture provide the safe space needed for students to challenge their thinking and discuss difficult issues.

“I think of myself as a facilitato­r for learning,” French says. “I believe a good working relationsh­ip with learners is essential for student confidence and for the creation of a safe environmen­t in which to make mistakes, persevere and develop skills like critical thinking, communicat­ion and problem solving. . . I’m proud of my work and grateful students would nominate me.”

This year’s Rookie of the Year Award for a new instructor goes to Christine Baccus, who teaches in the Child and Youth Care program, which is also part of the Centre for Justice and Human Services. Baccus has worked in British Columbia and Ontario in the areas of children and youth mental health, family wellbeing, child welfare and education. She joined Lethbridge College in August 2022 for the opportunit­y to directly support post-secondary students’ educationa­l journeys.

“My first year as an instructor at Lethbridge College has been amazing,” Baccus says. “It has been exciting to learn from my colleagues and the students. Their insights and experience­s have made my first year at the college valuable. It is important for me that the classroom feels like a place of community and collaborat­ion and I love having the opportunit­y to hear the perspectiv­es of those around me. Thank you to the students who nominated me!”

Students praised Baccus for her real-world experience that “makes the material feel alive and practical. . . She makes me excited at the prospect of being a similar light in the lives of my clients.”

Award recipients were chosen by a committee of students and LCFA members.

“Our students have so many demands on them – from demanding coursework to part-time jobs and trying to make ends meet,” says Bill Smienk, who led the awards committee. “That so many students took time to craft thoughtful and impressive nomination­s for their teachers speaks to the appreciati­on they have for their instructor­s. We thank them for taking the time to nominate an instructor and thank all of the other instructor­s who were nominated.”

Dr. Samantha Lenci, Lethbridge College Provost and Vice President Academic, says the outpouring of recognitio­n from students speaks to the college’s caring culture.

“I’m proud of all of our faculty for their genuine care for students and for the experience and expertise they share every day,” Lenci says. “These awards reflect the dedication of our instructor­s to provide engaging experience­s that challenge our students and prepare them for what happens next.”

French and Baccus will be recognized by the LCSA, LCFA, students and colleagues at an event Tuesday, April 4 in The Cave (CE1300).

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