`Amazing' faculty earn 3M awards

by Hilary Thomson
Staff writer

Amazing, ardent and approachable are words students use to describe two University of British Columbia faculty members recently named 3M Teaching Fellows.

Associate professors Carol-Ann Courneya, of the Faculty of Medicine and Barbara Paterson, of the School of Nursing, were among 10 Canadian university educators to receive the award.

"I get enormous satisfaction from the energy exchange with students," says Courneya. "It's not just stand up and tell -- the learning is reciprocal."

A member of the Physiology Dept. since 1990, Courneya says she always knew she wanted to teach.

Earlier this year she won the Killam University Teaching Prize, the university's highest award for teaching. Students and colleagues describe her as "infectiously ardent" with an "amazing presence."

Courneya helped develop and implement the new medical/dental undergraduate curriculum introduced last year.

The curriculum combines basic science and clinical studies and helps students explore the social, ethical and communications issues surrounding medical problems.

Courneya teaches the cardiovascular system to first-year medical and dental students and also teaches third- and fourth-year undergraduate science students. In addition, she developed and teaches an interdisciplinary graduate student course focused on the skills critical to the basic sciences.

Courneya also helps colleagues develop their teaching skills through UBC's Teaching Improvement Projects System.

Barbara Paterson, a member of the School of Nursing since 1993, has been described as the "ideal graduate supervisor." Students credit her with an extraordinary ability to motivate, support and set high standards.

"Teaching is my passion," she says. "It combines my two loves: making a difference in patients' lives and introducing students to the excitement and complexities of nursing."

Students selected her to receive the Nursing Undergraduate Prize for Teaching on two occasions. In 1996 she received a Killam University Teaching Prize.

Paterson has been actively involved in the design and implementation of a new undergraduate nursing curriculum. This year she will launch a fourth-year course that tailors information to students' needs in challenging clinical areas such as bone marrow transplantation.

The 3M Teaching Fellowship is awarded to individuals who not only excel in teaching but demonstrate leadership and commitment to the improvement of university teaching.

Nominations were received from 29 Canadian universities and awarded by 3M Canada and the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, a national association of academics interested in the improvement of teaching and learning in higher education.