August 10, 2012
A professor at the University of Northern British Columbia was recently honoured for teaching excellence by the Canadian Political Science Association (CPSA). UNBC International Studies professor Heather Smith is only the second Canadian academic to receive the CPSA Prize for Teaching Excellence, which was first presented in 2010 and is only bestowed once every two years. The prize, awarded to Dr. Smith this summer at the CPSA’s annual conference in Edmonton, recognizes outstanding contributions by political scientists to teaching and student learning.
In selecting Dr. Smith for the award, the CPSA adjudication committee noted her utilization of alternative methods of teaching in order to facilitate learning. “Heather Smith demonstrates a profound familiarity with research on pedagogy [the holistic science of education], and a real effort to integrate this into not only her teaching practices, but also into her teaching development activities.”
“Just because we’re academics doesn’t mean all we do is research. At UNBC, we also have an equally strong commitment to teaching; it’s the other side of the same coin,” says Dr. Smith, who is a founding UNBC faculty member and the acting director of UNBC’s Centre for Teaching and Learning. “In fact, a high percentage of our faculty members are working with their students on their own research projects both as a form of research and scholarship and a method of teaching, which is why UNBC students have such a high success rate and often move on to graduate studies.”
Dr. Smith also cites UNBC’s commitment to innovative teaching and student engagement as playing a large role in the success of her students. Her teaching methods range from traditional essays and test-writing, to holding student art galleries in her classrooms and designing courses that provide students with a wide variety of ways to express themselves. Dr. Smith also co-authored the first-ever book on Canadian foreign policy that included a component on methods of teaching.
More recently, Dr. Smith was lead author in an article published in a prestigious peer-reviewed journal on international studies. Six recent UNBC graduates—her former students—were listed as co-authors.
Media: please call 778.349.0784 to arrange an interview with Dr. Heather Smith or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Michael Kellett, Communications Officer, UNBC - 250.960.5621 | 778.349.0784
Heather Smith, Professor of International Studies, UNBC - 250.960.6655Tweet