Recognizing excellence in the classroom

A trio of faculty members from the Faculty of Health Sciences have been awarded Western’s highest honours for inspiring active and deep learning in their students.

Health Studies professors Tara Mantler and Dan Belliveau, along with Arthur Labatt Family School of Nursing Professor Richard Booth, were recognized among a group of colleagues from across campus with the 2019 awards for excellence in teaching.

Edward G. Pleva Award for Excellence in Teaching

Dan Belliveau, Associate Professor, School of Health Studies

Dan BelliveauDaniel Belliveau is described by his colleagues as an innovator in the classroom, an unwavering voice of support for students at the undergraduate and graduate levels and an engaging leader. He has served in numerous leadership positions, including as the undergraduate chair of the School of Health Studies and currently as Director. Additionally, Belliveau has taken a leadership role within the University of Western Ontario Faculty Association (UWOFA) as President.

Belliveau’s leadership, however, has not distracted from his teaching and has spent considerable time developing and delivering core courses within the curriculum and has spearheaded first-year tutorials and assisted with the planning of an international student engagement course. He has also brought a unique and engaging teaching methods to the classroom and is believed to be the first person at Western to investigate the use of the TopHat pooling device within the classroom and pioneered the use of online tournaments to increase student engagement.

Marilyn Robinson Award for Excellence in Teaching

Tara Mantler, Assistant Professor, School of Health Studies

Tara MantlerAn excerpt from Tara Mantler’s teaching philosophy illustrates her well:

“I strive to create an environment that fosters student growth through inspiring curiosity, promoting engagement, and encouraging critical scholarship. I achieve this by having students engage with course material using experiential learning, leveraging current events, and providing clear relevance of the learning to the students’ future. … I believe the best learning happens when it is co-created.”

Mantler has dedicated a considerable amount of her time and effort to pedagogy; this is reflected in the range of innovative methods she applies to motivate her students. This is complemented by her infectious enthusiasm and genuine care she has for her students and their education.

Not only is she interested in what her students learn, but how they learn; too often one assumes that teachers are born to teach and students are born to learn, but this is far from the case. Mantler understands this only too well, which is why she’s devoted equal time to learn how to teach and teach how to learn. Much of this has been done in the context of her work and research on health and aging, a topic that is challenging to convey to an undergraduate audience.

Yet, based on student responses, she has managed to exceed their expectations, not only by teaching them about their chosen field, but also how to be better persons by example and through her mentorship.

Western Award for Innovations in Technology-Enhanced Teaching

Richard Booth, Assistant Professor, Arthur Labatt Family School of Nursing

Richard BoothThough still a young faculty member, Richard Booth is already an internationally recognized leader in the development of technologies to enhance clinical health care. It’s no surprise, then, he is also blazing trails in the use of innovative technologies that help Nursing students learn and practice clinical skills.

In class, his students enjoy engaging with a range of social media technologies that promote collaborative and experiential learning. He has developed a learning tool, in the form of a serious video game, to give students practice in the safe administration of medication before they enter the clinical setting. The findings from this simulation in turn drive classroom discussions about the role of technology in healthcare.

Booth recently received an eCampus Ontario Digital Inclusion grant to support the development of a range of sophisticated simulated experiences for students from several disciplines learning to work with people suffering from dementia. With the support of an award from the Faculty of Health Sciences, an immersive simulation experience is being created in a room within the new Faculty of Information and Media Studies (FIMS) and Nursing Building. The first environmental simulation of its kind in a Canadian nursing school, this room will be retrofitted to replicate a homecare environment, and will feature a range of artificially intelligent and smart technology designed to support aging in place.

Booth also teaches the teachers. He has published widely in leading nursing education journals; he is an active mentor of nursing faculty nationwide, as they enhance their competency in health-care informatics; he has developed a program for the delivery of health informatics education in all Canadian nursing schools.