Academic Innovation Award Recipients
Congratulations to the 2022 recipients!
Biodiversity Working Group
- Lara Gibson (University Teaching Fellow) Department of Biology, Faculty of Science
- Dr. Susan Gass (University Teaching Fellow) Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science
- Dr. Amy Mui (Senior Instructor) Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science
- Dr. Heather Cray (Instructor) Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science
- Dr. Paul Manning (Assistant Professor) Department of Plant, Food, and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Agriculture
- Dr. Gabrielle Tompkins (Director, Integrated Science Office) Department of Biology, Faculty of Science
The Biodiversity Working Group are six passionate educators from the Dalhousie Faculties of Science, & Agriculture. Our goal is to use a biological survey completed every year in September, to connect our students with the Studley and Truro campuses, the broader natural history community, and help them discover the other organisms we share the spaces with.
Sue Gass is a University Teaching Fellow in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Dalhousie University. Her research works to decipher the complexities of human interactions within ecosystems with a focus on marine environments and in finding the most effective ways to communicate these with students. She teaches a range of Environmental Science courses where she takes a holistic teaching approach to helping students understand today’s environmental challenges. She has been teaching undergraduate science for more than a decade and teaches all levels of undergraduate students in both large and small classes including field courses. She employs a range of teaching methods and engages her students with the use of case studies. Before joining Dalhousie, she worked in the environmental NGO and local government sectors on biodiversity conservation planning, and as a post doctoral researcher and teaching fellow at the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland. She has a BSc in Biology and Environmental Science from McGill University (1998), an MES from Dalhousie University (2002) and PhD in Marine Environmental Science from the Open University/UHI Millennium Institute (2006)
Lara Gibson is a University Teaching Fellow in the Biology Department at Dalhousie University. She oversees the preparation and delivery of hands-on laboratory content for two large biodiversity-focussed classes; Animal Diversity and The Diversity of Plants and Microorganisms. She holds a B.Sc in Biology from the University of Victoria, and a M.Sc in Agriculture from Dalhousie University. She is an established natural historian, who likes to share her love of small things with those around her.
Amy Mui is currently a Senior Instructor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Canada. Her areas of interest in teaching and research include species at risk conservation through geospatial habitat and connectivity modelling in disturbed ecosystems. Current work is focused on determining lidar and optical remote sensing variables capable of identifying specialized breeding habitat of the endangered Bicknell’s Thrush (Catharus bicknelli) in high elevation forests of Cape Breton highlands. Ongoing work also includes modelling priority areas for conservation of Blanding’s turtle (Emydoidea blandingii) habitat in eastern Canada using object-oriented approaches to characterize wetlands at multiple spatial and temporal scales.
Heather Cray is an Instructor in the School for Resource and Environmental Studies in the Faculty of Management and the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences in the Faculty of Science at Dalhousie University. Her research interests focus on the interconnections between living things and their feedbacks, both large and small. How decisions are made, who makes them, and what factors influence these decisions as they pertain to biotic systems is a primary area of interest. Heather’s research also examines the current knowns and unknowns in ecosystem planning and restoration, and how these elements influence our ability to conserve and manage natural systems. How we can effectively communicate, learn, teach, and create science and environmental sustainability is also a key area of Heather’s ongoing research.
Paul Manning is an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Agriculture at Dalhousie University. He holds a BSc in Agriculture from the Nova Scotia Agricultural College, and a DPhil in Zoology from the University of Oxford. His research aims to understand how insect communities support ecosystem functioning in agroecosystems. Paul is interested in elevating public understanding and appreciation of insects through speaking to community groups, working with youth, and conducting research through community science.
Gabrielle Tompkins is a Senior Instructor in the Faculty of Science. She holds a B.Sc in Biology from St. Francis Xavier University, and PhD in Physiology, Cell Biology, and Developmental Biology from the University of Alberta and completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography. She is the current director of the Dalhousie Integrated Science Program (DISP) which emphasizesundergraduate research opportunities and integration across the sciences for first year science students.
Dr. Angela Crane, Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science
A native of St. John's, Newfoundland, Angela received her B.Sc.H. from Memorial University in Applied Mathematics/Chemistry in 2008 before completing her Ph.D. at the University of British Columbia in 2014. At UBC, Angela worked as synthetic chemist with Dr. Mark MacLachlan, making molecular frameworks for hydrogen fuel storage. Then, Angela took her passion for chemistry to the classroom as the First Year Chemistry Program Coordinator at UBC in 2014, then at Dalhousie in 2016. Angela strives to create an inclusive learning environment for all of her students, using accessible course design and Universal Design for Learning guiding principles. In addition, her goal in teaching chemistry is that students leave class with a strong appreciation of the chemistry that occurs around us every day, even if they do not pursue chemistry as a degree path.
Dr. Jennifer L. MacDonald, Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science
Jennifer received her B.Sc. (Chemistry) and B.Tech. (Chemical Science) degrees from Cape Breton University in 2006 before joining Dr. Josef Zwanziger’s group at Dalhousie University to study chemical interactions at the interface between polymeric powder/fibre and white cement. (Ph.D. 2010). Jennifer worked closely with the Centre for Learning and Teaching as a graduate teaching associate allowing her to blend her interests in teaching, learning and chemistry. As the first year chemistry lab coordinator, Jennifer is currently working to streamline administrative aspects of the lab program, improve inter-marker reliability, and teaching assistant supports while redesigning the first year chemistry lab experience, together with students and teaching assistants, using guiding principles of Universal Design for Learning.
Sarah Wells, Medical Sciences Program
Dr. Wells, associate professor in the Department of Physics and Atmospheric Science and the School of Biomedical Engineering, is being recognized for her unique case-based capstone course, SCIE 4005, in Medical Sciences. The course successfully extends, integrates and authenticates learning from the undergraduate program by bringing together divergent perspectives and broad areas of knowledge, with students analyzing topical medical issues from a variety of angles and directions through lectures and small group presentations. Students also gain exposure to real-world scenarios and clinical experts through collaboration with the Faculty of Medicine, affording them a unique and unprecedented experience in an undergraduate Science program.
Diane MacKenzie, School of Occupational Therapy, Faculty of Health
Diane MacKenzie, an assistant professor who has taught in the School of Occupational Therapy since 2000, led the development of a mandatory interprofessional health simulation used within the Faculty of Health Professions and the Faculty of Medicine. That simulation, which included video scenarios, questions, debriefing sessions and extensive evaluations, has won praise from faculty and students alike for its effectiveness in preparing future health professionals to face some of the challenges of collaborative clinical practice (conflict resolution, etc). Said one nominator of Dr. MacKenzie’s simulation: “It clearly demonstrates the art of what is possible and places Dalhousie as a national leader in interprofessional education.”
Brenda Sabo, School of Nursing
Brenda Sabo has been with the School of Nursing since 2006 and is the 2016 recipient of the Academic Innovation Award. Dr. Sabo’s innovative teaching approach focuses on using arts and performance to connect Nursing students to the actual community in which they will serve in the future. This approach provided a safe and experiential environment for students to foster a deeper understanding of the affective elements related to their coursework.
Portrait of the Artist as a Dalhousie Professor: Nursing's Brenda Sabo receives Dal teaching award for innovation
DalNews, Sallie Lau - December 1, 2016
Dr. Matthew Schnurr, Department of International Development Studies
A faculty member since 2008, Dr. Schnurr was recognized for the tremendous impact his teaching has had on students and colleagues in his department and Faculty and his commitment to innovation in teaching. Dr. Schnurr experiments with new and innovative approaches to university teaching that have proved enormously popular, including role-playing simulations and online technologies that enhance student learning. Through the support of CLTs Teaching with Technology grants, he has been able to implement a mixed methods research project evaluating the impact of these simulations on learning outcomes.
Getting Creative in the Classroom
Dal News, Matt Reeder - October 23, 2015