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Brightspace Innovation Award in Teaching and Learning

The Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education and Brightspace began offering an award that recognizes innovative approaches to post-secondary teaching in 2012. This award is open to post-secondary faculty and instructors of all disciplines at any level of appointement. Please visit the STLHE's awards page for more information.

Recipients from the University of Saskatchewan


Dr. Jay Wilson, Department of Curriculum Studies, College of Education

Professor Jay Wilson has developed and uses a theory of Open Authentic Learning as a model to educate future educators. His model offers a unique avenue for the smooth transition of new teachers into the work force. Wilson’s model challenges students to learn from their peers and promotes active learning while also challenging the professor to tailor teaching practices to the needs of the individuals in the class. Wilson encourages Open Authentic Learning through the use of innovative teaching techniques such as problem-based and situated learning. Professor Wilson’s teaching practices challenge students with many perspectives and effectively foster the development of group initiative, creative thinking, and practical teaching skills. In addition, Wilson attempts to create competent learners and educators by integrating real life priorities and assessments into the curriculum to ensure that students of the College of Education can grow into excellent and enthusiastic educators. Jay Wilson’s commitments to innovative learning are evident in his ability to successfully create student-centred learning environments and motivate future educators. (STLHE announcement)


Dr. Sandra Bassendowski, College of Nursing

Professor Sandra Bassendowski has been dedicated to improving the education of nurses both in Canada and in St. Lucia through her reflective, thoughtful and methodical integration of technology in her teaching and learning practices. Her key innovation, “Concept Capture,” consolidates pedagogical frameworks with web-based e-learning tools to maximize her students’ learning experience. This innovation encourages students to engage in new and meaningful approaches to advance their knowledge. With her own enthusiasm for learning, she conveys high expectations with a genuine belief in students’ abilities to succeed. Through Concept Capture’s virtual space, Prof. Bassendowski has brought together many highly successful communities of learners from across the globe. She contributes extensively to the scholarship of teaching and learning and to the development of her peers and colleagues. Her students move beyond just engagement in her classes; she moves them to action. 


Dr. Ken Van Rees, Department of Soil Science, College of Agriculture and Bioresources

Professor Ken Van Rees is a superb and recognized educator and researcher, who is not afraid of taking risks and reflecting on how to improve his students’ learning experiences. An important part of his teaching philosophy is the incorporation of experiential learning. Students learn by being in the field and observing the landscape, environment and interplay of the many different variables that enter into the science of soils. He believes that learning how to observe and think critically is crucial to becoming a scientist and lifelong learner. His innovation supports this philosophy, blending art and science to create a disruptive and powerful learning experience. After spending the day in the field, students reflect, interpret and paint the landscape. Student feedback and outcomes from Prof. Van Rees’ innovation have been both very positive and impactful.