Published on Brock University (http://www.brocku.ca)
Recreation and Leisure professor Tim O’Connell is set to receive the Brock University Award for Distinguished Teaching during the morning ceremony at fall convocation. (Ian Beddis Gym, 10 am ceremony)
The award recognizes O’Connell’s commitment to quality learning opportunities for students, and his genuine focus on experiential education.
“I follow the old adage of ‘See one, do one, teach one,’ and provide practical experiences and combine them with theory and reflection.” Says O’Connell.
With his teaching evaluations among the highest quantitative scores in the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, his dedication to the student experience is widely recognized, which is also reflected in the qualitative comments from both current and former students.
Addressing O’Connell’s teaching principles, a former student commented, “As an educator, he does not assume to be the holder of knowledge, but rather supports students in answering their own questions. Above all, Dr. O’Connell nurtures curiosity and helps to create a supportive and encouraging environment in which to learn.”
O’Connell is the co-founder of BaseCamp, an outdoor experiential orientation program that is leading the way in Canada. Prior to the start of term, incoming students take part in a variety of outdoor trips that are led by current Brock students. Through this experience the new students build community through the peer mentorship of current students, gain experience as outdoor leaders, and acquire information on healthy choices, understanding diversity and living away from home.
In 2011, O’Connell was named the recipient of the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences Award for Teaching Excellence. In April 2012, he was announced as a recipient of a prestigious Chancellor’s Chair in Teaching Excellence, which provides funding for research in the scholarship of teaching and learning over three years.
A colleague observes that O’Connell is also known for his research in reflective journaling and how he applies that research to his teaching: “While these areas of inquiry have certainly impacted the research and pedagogical literature around the world, I have been most impressed with how Tim applies the themes present in his research in his teaching practice. Tim’s courses often include the journaling components he writes about, and I have personally used Tim’s articles on journaling in my own courses with great success to inspire guided reflection during field and classroom experiences.”
Read more about award recipeints at fall convocation here.