Innovation Nets Guelph Profs National Awards

April 23, 2013 - News Release

Classroom innovations have earned national teaching awards today for two University of Guelph professors.

Profs. Jacqueline Murray, Department of History, and Trent Tucker, School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, are among only five Canadian academics to receive the 2013 Desire2Learn Innovation Awards for Teaching and Learning.

The awards are presented annually by Desire2Learn and the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (STLHE). Murray and Tucker will each receive a two-year membership in the STLHE and funding to attend the 2013 Desire2Learn annual conference.

Murray was recognized for her work with enquiry-based learning (EBL) in first-year seminars and for distance education (DE) courses.

“My research on learning outcomes demonstrates how powerful it is, even though it is not generally used outside of professional contexts,” Murray explained. “So I wondered about moving this online. Would it be possible to offer the enhanced learning of EBL online to students in the North or the global south who depend on DE but often miss dynamic interaction and collaborative learning?”

Murray now hopes to work with an African colleague on cross-cultural technology and pedagogy.

She said the award recognizes that “taking a chance with pedagogy and going beyond the familiar and comfortable can be rewarding in terms of student learning and experience. I hope this encourages others to experiment and take risks and be supported in the process.”

For Tucker, formerly a business analyst, supply chain manager and software developer, the award validated his decision to become a professor.

“I was excited to get the news — it’s not every day you win a national teaching award,” he said. “At the same time, I found it humbling to be honoured when I know there are many other excellent teachers.”

Tucker was recognized for making innovations in university education accessible to all of his students.

“I try to create a ‘real’ experience for the students. I take things that work well in small seminars and scale them up to my class of 800 students. I also take things that are usually associated with upper-year courses, such as business pitch competitions, and push them down to the first year.”

He added, “I enjoy the energy and ideas I get from people who are younger and smarter than me. It’s rewarding when a student gets it, or when I hear of their successes years later, and know I had some hand in helping them develop and grow.”

They will receive their awards June 21 in Sydney, N.S., at the STLHE annual conference.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338,; or Kevin Gonsalves, Ext. 56982,

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