U of G Prof Receives Canada’s Top Teaching Award
February 14, 2014 - News Release
A University of Guelph history professor and director of Guelph’s first-year seminars program has been awarded a 2014 3M National Teaching Fellowship, considered Canada’s top teaching honour.
Jacqueline Murray is U of G’s 15th 3M Fellow. Sponsored by 3M Canada and the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (STLHE), the awards recognize exceptional contributions to teaching and learning.
“Jacqueline is a supreme educator,” said president Alastair Summerlee, who led Murray’s 3M nomination.
Ten new 3M Fellows were named today; nearly 280 Canadian professors have received the awards since 1986. Winners receive a citation and participate in a three-day educational retreat.
“She understands the learning process and uses opportunities effectively to change hearts and minds. Jacqueline believes you must be willing to teach outside your comfort zone, and she serves as a model for interdisciplinary learning for students, faculty and staff. Her impact is remarkable among students and among her colleagues here at Guelph and beyond.”
In letters of support, Murray’s students and colleagues praised her creativity, innovation and use of technology in her classes, and applauded her for helping refine undergraduate learning objectives.
They noted her work with enquiry-based learning in first-year seminars and distance education courses.
Speaking of the award, Murray said: "It’s a tremendous honour to join those dynamic and inspiring teachers, from Guelph and from across Canada, who are part of the 3M Teaching Fellowship.
“The 3M is a symbol that reminds all of us of the primary responsibility of universities to teach the next generation of leaders. Teaching in a way that empowers students is a joyous experience. I am truly privileged to be a teacher at a university that values teaching."
Murray served as dean of the College of Arts from 2001 to 2006.
Appointed as inaugural director of first-year seminars at Guelph in 2011, she has worked to improve and expand the initiative. The seminars are designed to provide an interactive small-group learning experience for new university students. These multidisciplinary courses are based on provocative topics, and their instructors are among the University’s most innovative faculty and administrators.
Following one of Murray’s first-year seminar classes on “Politics, Science and the Environment,” she organized a field trip to Botswana. She and her students walked through the Kalahari Desert with the people of the San.
“I am a passionate believer in the transformative power of education,” Murray said, adding that she grew up in an isolated community on the west coast of British Columbia.
“University provided me quite literally with access to a new world. My experience as a student underlies my approach to teaching and learning: I want to provide students with opportunities to feel the exhilaration of new knowledge – a new historical time period, a new skill, the sheer delight of an unexpected discovery.”
In 2013, Murray was one of five Canadians to earn Innovation Awards for Teaching and Learning from Desire2Learn and STLHE. She won U of G’s John Bell Award for outstanding contributions to university education that same year.
She plans to work with an African colleague on cross-cultural technology and pedagogy.
Murray has made three volunteer trips to Ghana; raises money for education and rights of women and girls in Afghanistan; and supports gay and lesbian groups in Guelph.
As a historian, she studies theology and cultural ideas about gender, sexuality, marriage and family, especially in the Middle Ages. She holds a status appointment at the University of Toronto’s Centre for Medieval Studies.
Murray earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of British Columbia and an MA and PhD from the University of Toronto. Before coming to Guelph, she was a history professor at the University of Windsor.
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