Statement and Philosophy
My experiences at the University of Victoria and Mount Allison University have shown me that teaching is one of my greatest passions. I take immense pleasure from educating and guiding students during their undergraduate degrees by allowing them to pursue their personal interests using my courses/laboratories as an avenue for exploration and learning. I strive to create a respectful and inclusive environment where students can safely focus on their respective interests.
Bridge Glacier field camp in 2015 for GEOG 477 where we took 12 students to a remote location to conduct original research (Photo: Bryan Mood).
The best teachers I have had the pleasure to be associated with are Drs Dan Smith and Colin Laroque. Both are well known for their award-winning experiential learning methods with undergraduate students. The primary reason that I loved learning from both professors is that they provide opportunities to follow one’s passions. Dan and Colin both hold annual field schools at Glacier and Jasper national parks, respectively, where students are encouraged to ask questions about their interests. These questions often result in one-on-one, philosophical conversations leading to student research projects that they pursue with a deep enthusiasm. During my first field school at Jasper National Park, a classmate and I asked Colin “How much ice used to be in the Saskatchewan Glacier Valley?” while looking down at it atop Parker’s Ridge. His response was simple, “I don’t know, let’s find out.” He challenged and compelled me to discover the answer to my question. In the end, I answered the question and presented my findings at several academic conferences, and later submitted those results in a manuscript to a scientific journal.
Lunch and lecture in Revelstoke National Park, BC in 2016 (Photo: Bryan Mood).
Expectations from Dan and Colin are always high, which instills a sense of respect from students. Based in large part on my experiences, my teaching priorities are to: define challenging, yet appropriate, expectations for each unique student group (per course); give students a reason to want to meet those expectations; and, allow them to delve further into their passions. By challenging my students at an academic level, they have risen to the occasion and enjoyed their learning experience. I maintain realistic, but challenging, expectations for students while conveying confidence in their abilities to surpass expectations.
Jade Ryan (UVic's GEOG 477 2016) collecting a tree-ring core (Photo: Bryan Mood).