October 17th, 2017

Longtime educator to receive Distinguished Teaching award

By Lethbridge Herald on May 30, 2017.

Dave Mabell
Lethbridge Herald

When she travels, Jennifer Mather takes time to study octopuses.

But back at the University of Lethbridge, the longtime educator has been learning about teaching. On Friday, Mather will be presented this year’s Distinguished Teaching Award for her leadership over the last 30 years.

As a student in the U.S., Mather studied biology and then psychology at Brandeis University in Massachusetts. That’s where she worked with a professor who studied octopus behaviour.

Before joining the U of L, Mather earned a doctorate in human sensory motor co-ordination, and obtained a research fellowship in human sensory perception.

But when she began teaching psychology here in 1985, Mather adopted a student-centred style focusing on inquiry. Her colleagues say she encourages them to think critically, apply their knowledge and “take ownership” of their learning.

In the process, Mather has partnered with a variety of organizations to give her students an opportunity to apply what they’ve learned in class to real-life issues. She’s also supervised more than 160 applied studies or independent studies programs, as well as 11 honours theses.

Mather has also been active in the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, and has been part of the university’s Teaching Centre for many years. After research into teaching methods and strategies, she has written articles for teaching-related publications and spoken at many conferences.

The university is praising Mather for “her commitment to students (which) has helped prepare them for lifelong learning, and sent them into the world to be responsible global citizens.”

The award will be presented during the first convocation ceremony, set for 9:30 a.m. Friday.

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