Lisa Hodgetts is the 2017 recipient of the Dean’s Award for Excellence in TeachingMay 15, 2017
Hodgetts incorporates innovative experiential learning into her courses, including working to bring ‘the field’ into the classroom. Hodgetts’ research takes place in the Arctic and as she cannot bringing undergraduates into the field, she involves students in her research through course assignments.
“My approach to teaching is to try to engage students in the practice of archaeology, because we all learn best not by listening or reading but by doing. That means involving them in everything from critically analyzing others’ arguments, hands-on labs to learn the basics of identifying artifacts and animal bones from archaeological sites, interpreting mock data sets, and presenting archaeological information to the public,” said Hodgetts. “While many of our undergraduate and graduate students will ultimately pursue careers outside of archaeology and anthropology, I try to equip them with a suite of transferrable skills that will be valuable whatever they go on to do.”
Hodgetts dedicates considerable time to educational outreach activities – both spearheading the creation of workshops to introduce high school students to anthropology, and through capacity-building among Inuvialuit youth.
“I’m very lucky to work in a department that prides itself on strong teaching at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and many of my colleagues are wonderful teachers and mentors,” said Hodgetts. “It makes for an environment where we all share ideas on teaching and learning, try new things in the classroom and generally encourage and support each other in doing the best we can for our students.”
In course evaluations, students often mention the experiential learning and teaching innovations Hodgetts brings to the classroom.
“It’s the students that keep me motivated and interested in teaching. They always surprise me with new ways of looking at things, so I’m learning all the time – and I love that,” Hodgetts said. “I find it incredibly rewarding to see students come to understand new perspectives, turn a critical eye on assumptions and preconceptions, formulate their own interpretations of archaeological evidence, and produce work that they are proud of. Our students continually impress me with their creativity, curiosity and enthusiasm, and that fuels my own.”
Established in 2016, the Dean's Award for Excellence in Teaching recognizes full-time faculty members who have demonstrated excellence in teaching.
Outstanding pedagogy is demonstrated through the active, critical role of the instructor who fosters critical thinking and inspires students to engage in the quest for knowledge as a value and a skill. By honouring such individuals, the Faculty of Social Science demonstrates its commitment to teaching as a scholarly endeavour, and highlights the importance of outstanding teaching to our Faculty.