ECU faculty members Mimi Gellman and Jamie Hilder are ECU’s official nominees for 2023 West Coast Teaching Excellence Awards (WCTEA).
The prestigious award, which celebrates excellence in university teaching, was launched in 2021 by the BC Teaching and Learning Council with support from BCcampus. Each public post-secondary institution in BC and the Yukon can forward up to two nominees for consideration. Five awards are given each year. Mimi and Jamie were selected as ECU’s nominees after an open call for nominations from the ECU community.
“Like all of Mimi and Jamie’s colleagues, I couldn’t be happier to see them recognized for their work supporting and caring for ECU students,” says Trish Kelly, Vice-President Academic + Provost. “Both are singular, dedicated educators worthy of all the admiration and respect we have to give. I commend them both and wish them luck with this award process.”
Mimi, an Ashkenazi-Anishinaabe Métis visual artist and educator, is an associate professor at ECU. Her passion for the decolonization and Indigenization of art and design theory and practice is evident in a pair of innovative, hybrid studio courses she recently developed.
The first, Decolonial Aesthetics, challenges undergraduate students to reflect on aesthetics through a non-Western lens. In doing so, the dominant arts canon shifts to privilege global cultural practices.
The second, a foundation-level course called Indigenous Presence, introduces students to Indigenous ways of knowing, thinking and making. It emphasizes land-based pedagogies, the significance of place to art and design studies, and our responsibilities to the lands and peoples of our Indigenous Host Nations.
Mimi’s extensive teaching portfolio foregrounds the importance of allowing space for reflection and contemplation. She is a tireless champion for alternative assessment models that privilege care, reciprocity, group dialogue and collaborative effort over individual competition.
“Mimi’s innovative teaching continues to inspire us and provides an exemplary model for how Indigenous pedagogies can be woven into and beyond curricula,” says Diyan Achjadi, Interim Dean of the Faculty of Culture + Community. “She is a superlative educator whose work is thoroughly deserving of recognition outside the university.”
Jamie began his career at ECU in 2013 as a non-regular faculty member. He took a permanent position in 2019, the same year he was awarded the Ian Wallace Award for Teaching Excellence. His wide-ranging teaching portfolio includes a vital cornerstone for student education: the required first-year undergraduate humanities lecture course. Through this course, Jamie has taught nearly every student who has attended Emily Carr since 2017 and has done so with thoughtfulness, care and intentionality.
Jamie encourages all learners to consider relationships to place and context and to foster their agency in building an ethical, respectful and just world.
His commitment to a culture of reciprocity in his classrooms also informs the collaborative research project, Critical Literacies: Pedagogy as Gift. The project, undertaken with his colleague Jacqueline Turner, explores the nature of teaching as a form of freely given dialogic exchange.
“Jamie’s active and engaging pedagogy instills curiosity and criticality in students,” Diyan says. “He is an educator of the highest order whose depth of investment is illustrated by his students’ dedication to values-driven work, conscientious collaboration and careful self-reflection.”
The winners of the 2023 WCTEAs will be announced in late April 2023.